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So where do you begin? How can you get in touch with your inner geek, and what if you can't find your inner geek?
Here's how to use technology to help you return to the work world.
1. Learn at your own pace
Think baby steps. While it's beneficial to integrate technology into your search strategy, you may feel initially unnerved or overwhelmed. There's no need to fear. Set a comfortable pace to learn what's available, decide what's going to serve you best, and then give yourself permission to learn the technology gradually.
2. Get help
Consider what "live" support you'll need to embrace the various technology options. You may want to turn to a tech-savvy friend, neighbour or family member who can lend a hand.
3. Practice setting up online accounts
Fake it until you can make it. If you're feeling a bit shaky about how some sites work, establish a temporary e-mail account with an anonymous name and practice setting up accounts, creating profiles and searching different websites. Once you're comfortable using the technology, deactivate your practice accounts and create real ones to help you network, search and triumphantly land a job.
4. Online job search
Practice searching online for jobs at sites like Workopolis and CareerAIM. It's a great way to see which jobs are in demand, discover what's required for the roles that interest you, and then determine which ones you want to pursue.
5. Look at networking sites
Create an account on a networking site like LinkedIn and start building your profile. You can include your work experience, education and more information to let people know what makes you a great candidate. Plus, you can use the site to identify and connect with friends and former colleagues to let them know that you're ready, willing and able to return to work.
6. Conduct some research
Visit different company sites and/or Facebook pages to help determine the organizations where you'd like to be employed. Then search Facebook or LinkedIn to find friends or contacts who work at those companies. They may know about current or upcoming opportunities or even help you score a job interview.
7. Brush up on your strengths and job skills
There are lots of free, online quizzes that can help provide you with general information on your personality and your skills. Just remember to view these results as a guideline, rather than the gospel, since they are designed for a broad audience and won't address your specific situation and needs.
8. Prepare two versions of your resume
Many companies are moving towards only accepting online applications and the requirements vary amongst organizations. Create a fully-formatted version that includes your choice of fonts, which can be uploaded as an attachment. In addition, produce a plain, text-only version for sites that want you to cut and paste specific parts, or your entire resume, into their online application form.
9. Create a professional e-mail
Set up a professional e-mail address to submit your cover letter and resume. While firstname.lastname@example.org demonstrates your passion for your family, an address with your first initial or first name and last name, such as email@example.com, is more appropriate when communicating with potential employers.
Finally, good luck and have fun with the technology. The possibilities for finding work are just a click away.
Crystal Campbell, PCC is a certified coach who specializes in career + leadership coaching and the founder of c2 coaching + consulting. You can e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.