If you can’t afford to hire a professional career consultant, consider using the many free or low-cost tech tools that can boost job-search success.
If you can’t afford to hire a professional career consultant, consider using the many free or low-cost tech tools that can boost job-search success. Online and software-based services can be accessed right from home or your local library.
As with all online services, read reviews before handing over your credit card, and be
cautious with personal details. You might even want to create a dedicated job-search email account to reduce potential spam. Here’s a rundown of services.
King County WorkSource offers free online tools to area job seekers, says Marléna Sessions, CEO of the Workforce Development Council of Seattle-King County. The web-based tool Career Coach can help you explore career options, including wages, education requirements, employment projections and transferable skills. Or visit Career Bridge to take a quiz based on interests and personality to identify possible career matches.
WorkSource’s online job postings and training opportunity notifications can help job seekers find a suitable match. Some WorkSource locations offer special extras on in-office computers; job seekers at the Renton WorkSource, for example, can use WinWay Resume, a resume wizard.
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Bookmark the library
A Seattle Public Library card and PIN gives job seekers the ability to prepare for tests in a variety of fields with e-books and online tests, including nursing, air traffic control, firefighting and postal service exams. To find the online test portal, type “LearningExpress Library” into the spl.org search bar.
The library’s Resume Builder portal offers mock-interview videos, a resume wizard and a cover-letter builder. King County Library System cardholders can also access résumé and career-test services through its website.
Crunch the numbers
Salary.com presents a few fun diversions, along with research that could boost your pay during the interview’s salary-negotiation phase. The Cost of Living Wizard helps determine whether a move to, say, Spokane might require less pay; the Salary Wizard calculates the city-specific average pay for your job title.
Considering a career switch, but not sure which field would suit you best? Play around with the Archetype Test to discover your “employee archetype,” including your strengths, weaknesses, values and ideal careers.
Take a personality quiz
Get to know yourself a little better and find out why you might prefer working in a store’s accounting office rather than in customer service. Truity offers free and fee-based tests and quizzes that assess your personality traits for career fit.
Truity’s tests — including the Holland Code Career Test (Are you investigative? Artistic?) — are fun, and might provide some interesting answers and insights to use on your next job interview.
Along the same lines, you can seek out free Keirsey or Myers-Briggs personality tests via your favorite search engine.
Organize your job search
If you want more flexibility than an Excel spreadsheet can provide, ApplyMate is a free online job-application tool that keeps track of where and when you applied and interviewed for jobs, right down to a thank-you note checkbox. Or try JibberJobber, another job-search organization and tracking tool suggested by Matt Youngquist, a Bellevue-based career consultant.
Youngquist says some clients also enjoy RezScore, a web application that reads, analyzes and grades your résumé based upon internal algorithms. The site also offers fee-based résumé services after the review is completed.
Job Interview Training with Molly Porter is a Web-based application that presents a realistic back-and-forth virtual simulation of an entry-level job interview. The interviewer poses inquiries such as “How do you handle stress?” and “What have you learned from your mistakes?”
The program emphasizes training, response feedback and improving confidence. The only downside: a price tag of $89.95. A free version allows for a 10-question test drive.
Put it in (nice) writing
In the digital age, many of us have poor handwriting (let’s face it, my second-grader’s handwriting is better than mine). The Handwritten Card will beautifully handwrite your words on fine stationery and pop them in the mail for you for $5-$6. Another option: Postable, where for $2.49 you can have a thank-you card sent in handwriting that’s similar to yours, but legible.