Even with the tremendous growth and use of web applications, people remain the center of a connected job search. To effectively manage your job search you cannot lose sight of the fact that your relationships, while many have moved online, still need the human touch. I would maintain the primary issue with the way many connected users are approaching their job search is they are not effectively managing the Cloud. Cloud Computing has changed the way companies interact online but have you kept pace?

In defining cloud computing I’ve gone to the Cloud Computing Journal, “Cloud computing really is accessing resources and services needed to perform functions with dynamically changing needs. An application or service developer requests access from the cloud rather than a specific endpoint or named resource.“

And Wikipedia, “Cloud computing is a style of computing in which dynamically scalable and often virtualized resources are provided as a service over the Internet. Users need not have knowledge of, expertise in, or control over the technology infrastructure in the cloud that supports them. The concept incorporates infrastructure as a service (IaaS), platform as a service (PaaS) and software as a service (SaaS) as well as Web 2.0 and other recent (ca. 2007–2009) technology trends that have the common theme of reliance on the Internet for satisfying the computing needs of the users. Examples of SaaS vendors include SAP Business ByDesign, Salesforce.com and Google Apps which provide common business applications online that are accessed from a web browser, while the software and data are stored on the servers. The term cloud is used as a metaphor for the Internet, based on how the Internet is depicted in computer network diagrams, and is an abstraction for the complex infrastructure it conceals.”

Taking these into consideration, the critical issue becomes leveraging your use of the Cloud and internet technologies to enhance and grow your contacts while keeping your sanity. Think of all of the different identities you have:

Social Media:
Twitter
LinkedIn
FaceBook
12Seconds.tv
Myspace
Ryze
Blogs

Job Search Related:
StandoutJobs
SimplyHired
Indeed.com
Monster
Dice
CareerBuilder

How do you manage all of this? It is a job in and of itself to manage these different accounts but to throw on top of that leveraging these in a way that leads to a job and you can see the problem (i.e. information overload).

What we need to do is adopt a less is more attitude. Set up systems that make this easier to manage.

1. Pull all of your social contacts under one roof. Manage by a single user id or at most a couple of applications. Think one update to many of your social outlets - Friendfeed for example.

2. You need the ability to have RSS feeds specific to your job search and background. Market intelligence that is pertinent to what is going on in your industry and target companies so when you show up for an interview or send in your resume, you can make reference to this info. I personally use Google Alerts to track what is being said about my company and have set up RSS feeds of news services to keep informed and up to date.

3. Update your resume. Not just the verbiage but the look. Make it web friendly. A couple of new tools like BrightFuse and Nethooks might fit this bill. I remember a couple years back, we use to suggest folks utilize free web pages offered by cable providers to set up resumes. If you are looking, you want to be able to be found.

As a job seeker you want to control the information that is being disseminated about you (or at the very least be sure the image that is being passed about you is the image you want an employer to see). Since more and more of you us is online, and not tied to a particular device, platform or operating system, run Google searches on yourself to see what is actually turning up. To the human touch I referenced above, once you find an area that needs to be corrected or updated, take the time to make sure the information is correct. Contact organizations or websites that are putting out information on you if it is incorrect. Be sure you’ve updated your profiles and then use the above mentioned systems to keep them current. Combine the manual with the automated to leverage your time and make certain that the Cloud is presenting you in the best light. An excellent resource on this is Michael Marlatt. I would encourage all to read his blog and insight on these topics. While his approach is that of a recruiter he has a wealth of info that can only benefit you as a job seeker to leverage these tools.

The one constant we know about technology is that it will continue to change. As we have seen with the challenges in finding a job, if you stay stagnant you will be passed over. Find out how to leverage these new technologies and get out in front of the cloud. Who knows it may lift you to your next job.

By the way, I do not have a financial stake in any of the companies I talk about here. In doing my research, they looked to be in line with my thoughts and were cool enough for me to mention. I may at some point pursue a partnership with them but as of the writing of this blog none exist.

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