Mobile apps like Anthology, Caliber, Jobr and Switch can help job-seekers quickly match their skills with available job openings and introduce them to recruiters — all without alerting their employers or competitors that they are considering a career move.

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For most of the nearly seven years I’ve been writing this column, I’ve been a reluctant proponent of social media as a tool to land a new job. One of the main beefs I’ve had with social media is the lack of control — the moment you advertise that you’re looking, the whole world, including your boss and your competitors, will find out about it pretty soon. For that reason, I’ve always preferred the old-fashioned ways of meeting people face-to-face and maintaining close contacts via a professional network.

But as we roll on to 2016 this week, it appears the technology behind social media is finally catching up to the problem of information control. A few web-based apps have sprouted in the last year that allow job seekers to advertise their qualifications and alert potential hiring managers of their availability “under the radar,” compared to the relatively blunt-edged giants, like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.

The apps come in various names, with Anthology, Caliber, Jobr and Switch being some of the largest currently operating. But most of them operate on a similar business model and are designed mostly for “passive” or “neutral” job seekers – those who already have a job but are interested in finding out what’s available in their field.

These apps take the candidate’s online profile (i.e., from LinkedIn, Facebook or a personal website) and seek out job descriptions placed by recruiters and hiring managers that most closely match the job seeker’s qualifications and salary requirements. These jobs appear in text alerts on mobile devices as they become available. Like the dating app Tinder, job seekers can “swipe right” for the jobs they want, or “swipe left” for those they don’t. If the recruiter or hiring manager does the same for the interested candidate, another alert is sent with information about a possible screening interview.  The sites also enable job candidates to track their progress by showing how many companies and recruiters have shown interest.

Other career apps are specialized in some ways. Savvy, for instance, which is an offshoot of Switch, is an app that is designed specifically for professional women, and provides practical career advice for that demographic. One called Weave is similar to the LinkedIn networking site, but has been made more active by presenting potential professional matches in a more convenient Tinder-like format. Another app called Reach is even more socially oriented and helps professionals network by finding matches based on proximity, common interests and recently visited places.

One final note of caution, however: These apps are only tools – nothing more. If you spend half of your days in your job search just cruising through these apps without attempting to set up face-to-face interviews or attending networking events, you have only yourself to blame if your email in-box remains empty of job offers and your phone stops ringing.

Happy New Year, everyone. Good luck, and good hunting for 2016!

Randy Woods is a writer and editor in the Puget Sound business publishing arena and a veteran of the local job-search scene. Email him at randywoods67@gmail.com.