Organizing Tool Helps Manage Your Job Search

Website keeps job seekers on track

4 November 2011

Looking for a job can be hard work. You have to keep track of details such as the names and locations of the companies you’ve contacted, the positions for which you’ve applied, and the dates of your applications. Then once you snag an interview, you need to remember the name of person you’ll be meeting with, his or her contact information, and when the meeting is to take place.


Keeping all that information organized is not easy. Some job seekers jot down the details in a notepad or, worse, on scraps of paper, or try to squeeze it in an online calendar. Others create custom electronic spreadsheets. But none of those quite does the trick. That’s where JobCannon comes in. The free website, developed with the help of IEEE Member Matt Genovese, lets people search for jobs, keep track of the positions they’ve applied for, and set reminders to follow up on the status of applications.


Genovese is CEO of CareerCannon LLC, the company that designed and built the JobCannon site.


“Job seekers are using online tools to search for jobs, but when they need to track the information about each one, they try to use existing software applications they’re already familiar with, most of which aren’t meant for that purpose,” he says.


“When you’re working, your employer provides the tools you need to do your job, but when you get laid off you aren’t provided the tools you need to find a job,” he continues. “The fact is most people don’t know how to conduct a successful job search. They didn’t go to school to learn how to be a job seeker, so they don’t necessarily know how to do it.”


“It sounds trivial—you just have to write stuff down. But without the right tools, it’s not that simple. Those who are successful are highly organized, which helps them become very tenacious in their job search.”


ORGANIZATION IS EVERYTHING

To begin your hunt at JobCannon, you first have to create an account, which contains your name and e-mail address. Next, in the Job Title field, type in keywords about the job you are seeking and enter your city and state, or postal code (or the place you want to move to) in the Location field. The site searches through top job search engines and job boards such as Indeed, SimplyHired, and Craigslist. You’re presented with a list of results with a brief description, the hiring company’s name and location, and the date of the listing. Next to each job is a View link and a Save the Opportunity link. Click on View to get more details and Save to save the job posting for tracking.


Once you open a saved job posting in the Opportunities area, you can begin organizing various activities by clicking on the Track Progress for This Job button. Should someone call you for an interview, use the Contact tab to enter his or her information and the Interview tab to enter the date of any meeting you’ve arranged. If you receive a job offer, enter the salary information and other details in the Offer area. There are additional tabs for notes and other information you might want to track.


A PAGE FROM SALES

The site is modeled after tools for managing the details of customer relationships used by many salespeople. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems track everything connected with a possible sale, including the prospect’s name and contact information and details such as which salespeople spoke to the customer, the dates of the conversations, and notes about what was said.


“We realized this type of tool would work well for conducting a job search,” Genovese says. “Instead of managing a sales process for a product, job seekers are managing the process of selling themselves, i.e. finding a job.”


Based on user feedback, the original version of JobCannon was overhauled, and the current version was released in July. “The original CRM environment had a lot of features, but only a subset were used. More was not better; they just got in the way,” Genovese says. “We’ve automated what we could and focused on making it easy to use. We give job seekers a list of things to do. Once they’ve learned how to use JobCannon, many wish they had it early on.”


“At the end of the day, what we’re really battling is the bigger beast of job seekers feeling stuck and overwhelmed by the job search process, which stems from not having the right tools. This is a huge problem for many unemployed professionals, and we are trying to fix it.”


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