More Ways To Economize in the Job Search

Whew … this almost didn't make it up tonight! A combination of Gordon getting it to me a couple of days early (and thereby rolling a couple of pages back in my Gmail listings - “out of sight, out of mind”) and my being AFK for most of the evening (at that PRSA resume workshop I mentioned a while back) almost conspired to my not remembering this needed to get posted.

Gordon's back with a follow-up to his earlier post about saving money while looking for work, and takes a look at a few key elements. I'll have to ask him why he's suggesting LibreOffice instead of OpenOffice … I use the latter all the time.

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One of the things I am learning as part of being a “job stalker” (although right now, I’m going at a good clip with some paying clients) is to be aware of free (or close to free) resources. I have posted before about how to save money and live cheaply without sacrificing quality (which came in useful when my Windows laptop crashed due to a virus, and I had to install LibreOffice when my Microsoft Office refused to install. Works beautifully, by the way).

So this week’s post is simply about three free (or close to free) resources to make your job search slightly easier...in fact, much of this also ties into another past post about search optimization for job seeking.

For many of us who are seeking employment (and also those who are currently employed), we tend to use our Linked In profile as our main networking tool. Although there are many ways to make this our primarily “engine” for search optimization, there is a free service that allows for someone to create a unique landing page. About.me is a service that is provided by the same people who bring you Klout - quite simply, you just upload a photo, format some text, create links to your social media profile, and voila! You have your own landing page. (Please feel free to check out mine at http://about.me/gordondym). Granted, it is an offshoot of a slightly controversial way of measuring “influence” (especially since about.me uses many of the metrics that Klout uses), but is also a great way to establish a “landing page” for you online. Other benefits include a single page for you to submit the URL to various search engines, send to your social networks, and an e-mail address powered by AOL Mail.

One not-quite-free benefit - but worth utilizing - is that one of the initial “benefits” is a selection of free Moo cards with your graphic and some identifying information. For the cost of shipping (usually five to six dollars), you can receive about 50 business cards that you can use in your networking efforts. I have written about Moo cards in a previous post, so I am more than happy to encourage you to take advantage - at the very least, you have business cards you can use in your networking efforts.

But let’s say you want more than just a landing page - you want a full-blooded web site, but have little (if any) experience in HTML or web design. Thanks to a consulting client, I was introduced to Weebly, a free service that allows you to build web sites with a minimum of effort. From some unique designs (which look much more distinctive than Google Sites) to the ability to drag and drop a variety of media (including photos and video), Weebly provides a great way to build a site from scratch. (Thankfully, it also allows for optimizing the site for search, has some cool ecommerce options, and also will allow you to move to a separately purchased domain). If you’re looking to set up a site to highlight your past work, Weebly may be a good option, especially for those of you who are technologically challenged.

Finally (and I mentioned this in a previous blog post), there are times when we want to catch up on our ebook listening, but aren’t quite sure we can make it to the library. (We also don’t want to have to worry about returning books on time or overdue fees). Let me suggest Librivox, an “open source” approach to literature where volunteer-read audiobooks are recorded and uploaded, and are considered “public domain”. (Or “the 20th century version of Creative Commons”.) There is a huge variety of public domain books, both “classics” and hidden gems, available for download and listening - think of it as Project Gutenberg on steroids. So for every classic like  Huckleberry Finn, there’s a lesser-known but great book like A Princess of Mars; for every Tarzan or Sherlock Holmes, there’s a book that may not be as known but just as good, like the debut of Zorro or a 1930’s-era space opera. Librivox volunteers also assemble digital “anthologies” of many kinds, and you can easily download numerous zip files for later listening. (My personal favorite Librivox audiobook involves a master thief and is written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s brother-in-law. No, really.)

Hopefully, this week’s guest post has helped you consider how to save a few pennies in job seeking, but more importantly - has provided you with some tools that you can use. In these tough times, it is easy to focus on doing without - hopefully, I have been able to provide you with some no- (and low-)cost options that can make job seeking easier. Please feel free to leave a comment below if you have questions, or would like to share your low cost tools. Please feel free to connect with me via Linked In, or follow any of my professional endeavors via gordondymowski.com (I will be switching over to Weebly in a few weeks, so don’t worry if the site looks different). Thanks for reading, and see you next week!

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