6 Ways to Use Technology to Upgrade Your Career

By Greg Go on 10 December 2009 (Updated 1 March 2010) 9 comments

This article is Wise Bread's contribution to Life Scoop, where ordinary people learn how to make surprising things happen with technology.

The Internet is a boon for doing all kinds of things -- including getting a better job and/or getting paid more at your current job. Technology helps us stay connected, learn something new, and make new connections quickly and efficiently. Here are 6 ways to use technology to upgrade your career.

1. See what's out there.

Indeed.com is your friend. It's an aggregator of nearly all job listings posted on the Web. You can create a search for a job or position, and subscribe to email updates when new search results show up.

Instead of doing your daily round of visiting a dozen different job boards, you can now have Indeed find them all, filter out only what you're interested in, and deliver those results to your inbox.

2. Listen to the pulse of the job market.

Some twitter related sites and tools to help your job search:

  1. TweetDeck - the premier desktop Twitter application that helps you derive the signal from the noise. It lets you segregate Twitter users you follow into different columns. You can also create Twitter search streams to follow in one of your columns.
     
  2. WeFollow - a site that organizes Twitter users into up to 5 categories (called "tags"), and sorts them by popularity. Use it to find thought leaders in your industry or specialty to follow and connect with.
     
  3. TweetBeep - get email notifications of when someone replies to you, retweets one of your tweets, or mentions you. Use it to stay on top of who's talking to or about you on Twitter.
     
  4. TweetMyJob - get tweets about specific job types (skills, position) and/or job located in a particular city. TweetMyJob is like Indeed, but for tweets about job openings.

3. Maintain your real-time resume.

LinkedIn is a combination of your virtual resume and a Facebook for professionals. You can post your work history, make connections (like Facebook friends), and receive recommendations from colleagues.

Tips for getting the most out of LinkedIn:

  1. Keep your work history, profile blurb, picture, and active associations up-to-date. You never know when potential employers or recruiters will run into your LinkedIn profile (ie., you virtual resume).
     
  2. Make connections with every professional you know. You never know when they'll help you open doors to new opportunities.
     
  3. Give (and receive) recommendations. When you post a recommendation for a colleague (old or current), contractor, vendor, or other business associate, there's a good chance they'll return the favor and say some nice things about you. Instead of burying your glowing references at the end of a paper resume, your LinkedIn profile can have the social proof of your excellence front and center.
     
  4. Join groups related to your specialty or industry. Talk to those people in the private discussion threads, and make new business friends.

4. Network and make new connections.

Job hunting and career upgrading is like most other life activities -- knowing the right people can open doors otherwise unavailable to you. So it behooves you to build a great professional network. And better to build that network now when you don't need something from them.

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW

LinkedIn is a great start to your networking, but there are additional networking avenues that are worth exploring.

Organize real life meetups with people with similar interests at Meetup.com. Networking online is well and good, but nothing beats the deep connections made from face to face meetings. It doesn't have to be fancy -- try planning a simple meetup at a bar for your peers.

Find niche forums and social networks just for people like you. Try googling for your specialty plus the word "community" to find them.

And I'll bet there are blogs written by people like you (your peers), thought leaders in your specialty, and/or employers you'd like to work for. Follow these blogs, comment regularly, and become friends with influencers in your niche. Start a search for these blogs at Technorati, then just click on the blogrolls you run into.

5. See how you stack up against the industry.

Salary calculators like Salary.com and PayScale.com take into account your education, work experience, benefits and current salary with others in the same position.

You can get a report of where you are on the spectrum of lowest to highest paid. These calculators also provide additional comparison data like salary versus cost of living, salary range at different sized companies, and salary range in different industries.

6. Keep learning.

The Internet is a boon for information seekers. And nothing gives you a leg up on the competition -- whether they're your colleague going after the same raise or another job hunter going for the same job -- like having more knowledge than them.

So take advantage of online courses from major universities.

This list at Lifehacker is a good place to start exploring free online offerings by major colleges. Here are a few of the best:

  • iTunes U - courses available for download from many sources including NPR, Standford, and MIT. And all free.
  • MIT OpenCourseware - online version of nearly all MIT courses available.
  • UC Berkeley Webcasts - lots of Berkeley lectures have been recorded and are available for viewing.

 

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Guest's picture
Guest

this is actually pretty obious to anyone who has been on the net, especially with the social networks.

and i would not suggest online universities, they are not credible no matter what they claim.

Guest's picture
DJ

The author was referencing free course downloads from MIT, Stanford, and Berkley, not online universities.

Guest's picture
Guest

Some online universities are credible. For instance Northwestern University has online programs. I personally know someone who was given a $20K increase because of the graduate degree he received. Do your homework, everyone and do not generalize! :)

Guest's picture

That was a very useful article, I wish both of my sons had done all those things a few years ago, they would have gotten better job offers, and been more qualified.

John DeFlumeri Jr

Guest's picture
Torrey

I would not only remain on Indeed. There are also so many industry specific sites that indeed does not pull from. But in general, indeed.com is a great source.

Guest's picture
Arohan

Of course, many of the best jobs are never advertised on the job boards so networking is all the more important. Besides, internet job boards have very low success rates in landing an offer.

Guest's picture

I'd agree most with the keep learning piece. The internet is a tool that can be used to improve your skill set in a variety of ways.

I try to limit my "time-wasting" stuff on the internet and focus more on learning. There are endless tutorials you can take on software applications, and you can also just pick stuff up by surfing.

Use it to your advantage, in on your own timeframe and in the privacy of your own home. It couldn't be easier.

Guest's picture

Gary Veynerchuk comes to mind immediately, because he shuns the idea of a traditional resume. In this day and age, it's really all about building relationships with the web tools at our disposal, and keeping a live resume, as the post suggests.

Awesome and timely post for the many job-seekers out there right now.

Guest's picture

These are all excellent suggestions that may not be obvious to everyone. Kudos for compiling such a great list. Another excellent way for job seekers to move ahead of the competition is to create a professional blog. Rather than a resume that just "tells" a potential employer that you're qualified, a blog can *show* them. You can share your insight, expertise, opinions and knowledge. You can comment on industry news and show your personality as well. It takes work, but hiring managers will see that you've made that effort and have a brain behind that resume!