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Open Source Toolkit for Job Hunters

Eight open source projects for highly effective job hunting

Unemployment is rising and competition for the few jobs that are available is becoming tougher than ever. With each open job requisition, hiring managers are receiving hundreds of résumés. How do you stand out of the crowd? What can you do to get noticed? How can you start an interesting conversation?

The key to successfully securing a job is to prove your expertise, while differentiating yourself from the crowd. It takes creativity and ingenuity - which are both possible using open source software. Open source can help you distinguish yourself without pulling on your purse strings, and, more important, it can help show how tech-savvy and creative you are.

Build Your Credibility
The most important task of job hunting is building an impressive résumé that clearly defines who you are, the expertise you bring to the table, your past successes, and the drive for a successful future.

Opengoo is an open source project that can help you write a top-notch résumé and get it reviewed by friends and colleagues. Opengoo 1.2 beta is now available and provides you with an easy way to create and collaborate on your résumé, allowing you to leverage the opinions of those you value. Opengoo not only allows you to share text documents, but also contacts and web links, which can help expand your job search.

Once your résumé has been written, you can then use Scribus - a desktop publishing application - for flexible typesetting and layout. Using Scribus will allow you to deliver professional quality résumés and make a great first impression. If you want to call attention to your design skills, you can use Scribus to create animated and interactive PDF presentations and forms and attach them to your résumé.

Another way to prove your expertise to potential employers is to start a blog that showcases your proficiency in a given area. Including a link to the blog in your résumé will give potential employers insight into your knowledge, and how well you express yourself. Textpattern is a free, flexible, elegant, easy-to-use content management system for all kinds of websites and blogs. It is a lightweight, easy application for both beginners and advanced users - it's not too much to use for a tiny one-page blog, while at the same time, a multidimensional content portal would run flawlessly in it.

Stand Out of the Crowd
With the technological advances of talent management within organizations across the country, often times job seekers feel like they are just a number in the system once they send their résumé to a company. One way to make sure you don't become just another name on a list is to attach a photo with your résumé. By submitting a photo, you have now become a person, who a hiring manager can picture on her team.

Gimp 2.6.4 is the perfect open source project to touch up that photo of yourself that you just love, but hate the color of your shirt or you decide you want to brighten your smile a bit.

If you really want to stand out of the crowd, you can attach a mini-video of yourself on your blog or even your online résumé using Avidemux. Avidemux is a free video editor designed for simple cutting, filtering, and encoding tasks, supporting MPEGs and AVI files. With it, you can capture and edit clips from your video camera, add titles, insert still images, create transitions between scenes, and output the result in a number of formats. Imagine being able to give potential hiring managers that great eleveator pitch about yourself. By going that extra mile, how can you not prove yourself to be the right choice?

Looking for Available Jobs
One of the most important aspects to job hunting is taking advantage of your network. Instant Messenger technology is the perfect tool for keeping in touch with your contacts and getting information in real-time from them. Pidgin 2.4.1 is an instant messenger (IM) application that covers multiple protocols. These protocols can be used simultaneously to provide communication across the different networks. Pidgin also had features such as file transfer, away messages, and typing notification. Pidgin will help you keep your finger on the pulse of hiring within your network.

Because you're not only working your channels, but have gone the extra mile in developing a top-notch résumé, you should expect to receive plenty of emails from potential employers.

In order to manage those interview requests, you can use open source projects such as Mozilla Thunderbird 2.0. Mozilla Thunderbird (with support for POP and IMAP) is an email client much like Outlook. In addition, this project has a spam filter, protection from phishing, and you can also add extensions, such as Mozilla Lightning, which is a calendar. The built-in RSS reader allows you to sign up for feeds from job sites and current news of your target industry. Finally, the user interface is completely customizable. Mozilla Thunderbird will help you manage all aspects of job hunting from finding open positions to managing your interviews.

Closing the Deal
Once you are in the interview process with an organization, you may be asked to do a presentation to prove your knowledge and skills. (Even if you're not, you might want to think about doing one.) KPresenter 1.6.1 is the open source presentations part of the KOffice suite. This project is excellent for combining text and graphics into slides either for on-screen presentation or handouts. If your potential employer has you interviewing with a globally dispersed team, you can use KPresenter to put your presentation online using the HTML slideshow functionality, allowing everyone to see your presentation easily.

Don't Forget to Relax
At the end of the day, after much hard work looking for and preparing for interviews, you might want to sit back and listen to the radio using Amarok. With Amarok, you can easily find new music, while enjoying the music you already love.

Using open source software, you can expand your software library to include a myriad of fun and alternative means to successful job hunting. The most important thing to keep in mind when installing open source software on your desktop is to balance functionality, cost, and security.

For more information and to view a chart of the open source software tools and download the software, visit www.palamida/blog

More Stories By Theresa Bui-Friday

As VP of Product Marketing, Theresa Bui-Friday is responsible for Palamida's positioning, core communications content, go-to-market initiatives, and press and analyst relations team. She has over 12 years' of expertise in the software industry with a focus on emerging technology. Prior to Palamida, Theresa was Director of Strategic Marketing at Cacheon. She was also Director of Enterprise Marketing for Embark.com, which is now Princeton Review, where she held global responsibility for product marketing of the enterprise product lines, including competitive and market evaluation, strategic planning and outbound marketing programs.

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Most Recent Comments
sdavies2720 03/26/09 12:42:00 PM EDT

In addition to the 'transactional' tools to update a resume, send out notifications, and retain conversations, there's also a need to track progress across job searches and techniques. Almost every job seeker hits a slow period at some point. It's important at that point for them to review objectively everything thay've done and correct course as necessary.

Steve Davies
President
PerfectJob Software Inc.

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