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Monday, June 14, 2010

How to stalk employers

This was supposed to have been a more comprehensive guide to getting some extra help with a job search, but it was rushed into production too quickly. Sorry. Good luck.

Some could call this time "The Great Recession." Too many people we know probably have other words, such as "The Giant Ball of Suck."

Here's a random collection of ideas that may help you find employment:

Have your computer do the work for you

OK, pick your favorite Web browser. No, not that one. I mean Firefox. Look, it's not a religious experience. It's a Web browser. It'll help you find a job. You can go back to using your 10-year-old version of Internet Explorer or the special browser made by Viking hermits in ice caves after you get the job. So if you don't have Firefox, get it. That'll help you in the next two steps:

Install the SiteDelta plugin for Firefox from

When you get to the page, you'll see a long green button, "Add to Firefox". Click this and a new window pops up, with a countdown over the word "Install" -- they really want to make sure that you're installing legitimate stuff and have a few minutes to think it over. Don't trust us? Well, you're pretty smart, then. But you still need the job.

Then install Feed Sidebar for Firefox from

This is it. If you're new to Firefox, you may want to take a look at just two other things: IE Tab Plus and Adblock Plus. The first lets you view Web pages in Internet Explorer from within Firefox; read that a few times and it'll make more sense. It comes in handy mostly for older Web sites with lots of bad coding, like the places with weird custom job application programs that run within the browser. Adblock Plus, er, blocks ads. You need to get a list of ads, called a subscription; try EasyList, which may be the default.

OK, now you've installed 2, 3 or 4 plugins. You'll have to restart Firefox for them to take effect. Restart Firefox.

Near the address bar at the top of the screen is a mostly orange box with little white waves emanating from a star; that's Feed Sidebar. This handles what's called RSS feeds -- mostly used in blogs, but used in some job sites and such. You can click it to peek inside, then click again.

In the bottom right corner of your browser is a little triangle, just hanging out. That's SiteDelta. It won't do much right now. We're going to use these to stalk jobs online. First we have to get some ideas.

Coming up with the first slice of jobs

If you're reading this, chances are you're not so much looking to drive a forklift, though you may be willing. Chances are you've got education and a career. So let's move ahead on that premise.

Are you a reporter? You probably know about A teacher in Georgia? TeachGeorgia. There may be other job sites oriented toward your specialty; take a look.

Because we've got to start somewhere, let's point your browser toward Use this as a learning tool, alright? If you go there and click on the Alert button, you see you can set alerts for new jobs -- show me only part-time jobs in Wisconsin, or full-time jobs in Arizona, or whatever. This is good to know.

But try clicking the "search jobs" link. Up pops a new screen (here). Toward the top is a new orange button with white radio waves coming out -- just like your Feed Sidebar button. Click that button. A new screen comes up with a list of jobs. At the top is a "Subscribe Now" button. Click that. A small window pops up asking if you want to bookmark it. Hit Subscribe. Close the windows. Your computer will now automatically check for new jobs posted here.

Once you learn to pay attention to that little orange icon, you'll see it in more places. To see what's new, click the Feed Sidebar button near the link bar in Firefox, near the top of your screen and the navigation commands. You can tell to check the sites you subscribe to regularly -- say, every 20 minutes.

But most employers still have just a list of jobs. This is OK; this is where SiteDelta comes in handy.

Now, let's say you're living near Macon, Ga., and thinking there might be a job at Wesleyan College in Macon. Can you find the employment page? First you have to find the right Wesleyan College, then hunt down the employment link on the main page. Eventually, you should get to There's separate links to open faculty positions and open staff positions. But if you scroll down, you'll see it's the same page.

Remember that SiteDelta icon near the bottom-right corner of your browser? Click that. Once. A new bar appears at the top of your browser: "Page scanned. Click SiteDelta icon on next visit." SiteDelta will now be stalking this on its own schedule. (You can force the schedule by right-clicking the SiteDelta triangle icon, opening the sidebar, clicking Pages at the top, selecting SiteDelta Settings, then the Scan Schedule tab, then explicitly setting the frequency -- hourly, every 20 minutes, whatever.)

So now you're wondering -- what have you done?

Well, you'll want to open Feed Sidebar every day or two to see what new jobs are posted through your RSS feeds. And you'll check SiteDelta when the triangle turns red -- that's the only real notification you get. When SiteDelta shows up, you can right-click on it and select Open Changed Pages. If SiteDelta isn't checking as much as you want, you can tell it to scan your pages.

Now, on to other specialized job sites

Think for a moment about your industry and where you'd be willing to work. Think about how those skills may translate into other kinds of employers, if at all. Say you've got a background in marketing. Well, lots of businesses -- and even charitities -- need help with sales, marketing, public relations and the like.

Think about the steadiest employers in your area, if you're not willing to move. City government? County government? State government? They've all got Web pages, and they've all got listings of jobs (when they have spare jobs). The little communities within a 30-minute drive have the same thing. And then there's the weird quasi-government jobs, such as the local water authority or the regional planning agency. Make a list. Brainstorm. Think some more. Then find the jobs pages; hit 'em with SiteDelta or get the RSS feed or the subscription.

Other steady employers? Well, healthcare's big. You may not have training in nursing, but your skills may cross over there. Check the local hospitals. Arguably check nursing homes. SiteDelta and RSS feeds. Get your computer working.

Well, what about big employers? Most of American employees are with small businesses, but it's tough to find those jobs one-by-one. So let's keep stalking major employers. Your local Chamber of Commerce should have a list -- it may be online, it may not -- of the area's largest employers. Find the Web sites. Sign up, SiteDelta, RSS. Then find the Chamber of Commerce for your county, and the next few counties around, and the cities in those counties. SiteDelta. RSS. Whatever. Get it done. Check on it once or twice to make sure it really is working. And keep looking.

There are other ways to find jobs -- including those that are traditional, such as networking through friends and colleagues, or maybe standing on the corner in a business and/or chicken suit trying to get attention. There are plenty of books in your library and probably some resources online. But this is a great reason to check out the library, where odd-looking people are welcomed during the middle of a business day. And you can check out the Sharpe's novels on audiobook.

And we're outta time. Good luck!


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  • Send ur resume to Atlanta Press Club & the Georgia Press Association. Lo tech, but it's worked for me.

    By Anonymous greencracker, at 24/5/11 10:05  

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