CRM for Job Hunting


Every now and then I come across some software or web application that I would love to blog about. A few weeks ago that was CodeSchool. Today I’m raving about JibberJobber.

I’m not a fan of job hunting. It is time consuming and tedious work. More often than not it becomes a shopping list of skills that I lack and suddenly in desperate need to get them under my belt as quickly as humanly possible.

A large part of job searching is trying to keep track of which jobs you’ve looked at and remembering which jobs you would like to give further consideration. After that it becomes a painful administrative assignment. Keeping track of which job you have applied for, which cover letter you used, who you contacted, and who emailed, and what was the response. It is a nightmare to perform this task in a spreadsheet, imagine all that copying and pasting. Did I mentioned it was time consuming?

It dawned on me that there must be an app or some open-source software that I can use to keep track of all this. Something that will allow me to record jobs, specs, details, contacts, and it must also be free.

I was surprised at the number of resources and customer relationship management (CRM) systems there were for small businesses that could be re-purposed for recording job prospects and employer contact details. The most interesting was JibberJobber, an online job hunting organizer. Somebody else clearly had the same idea that I did (although 6 years before myself) and created a CRM-based tool for job seekers trying to make the job seeking process less painful.

It is largely free, although it does have premium features available if you are prepared to pay a few extra dollars (an extra $5 a month if you buy anually). I’m still working my way through the tutorials and trying to see how much this can help me with my job searching. But so far I’m sold by the problem that this piece of software is trying to solve. It is a great example of how a web application can solve a real-life problem.

Another interest of mine is how they are trying to organize and present user data. Clearly this is a database driven application, but most of the value comes from how they have organized the data to try to suit the job-seeking workflow as well as managing relationships with employers and recruiters. They have tried to eliminate inefficiencies in the process of recording these interaction by trying to automate, integrate, and streamline a lot of the work. What they have tried to achieve is to make the data entry as fast and efficient as possible and keeping all the information easily accessible.

I love trying to figure out how they have designed their platform so that someday I can reuse ideas. Sometimes its just nice to see another piece of software vindicate some of my own past design decisions.

However, for what I am using it for, I find that there are some improvements to be had. First of all, it doesn’t feel intuitive. In some aspects, it feels as though it is over complicating the process. It has too many features, and not much instruction. There are menus of options that I simply don’t know what they were designed for, let alone how to use. You have to sit through a half dozen webinars to figure it out. It clearly violates the rule of not making the user think (too hard).

It makes me wonder if I could create a more suitable web application for a more intuitive job searching work flow… but anyway, I have high hopes for this web application, and even if it does fail to meets my needs, then it will have at least inspired me and led me to another potential project.

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