Gathering information/research is a critical component of a successful job search. Yes, it can be time consuming. Setting up Google Alerts can speed up the process. Here are the steps:
First of all, be clear about your career and employer targets: what do you want to do, in what industry, and who are the employers?
Next, research and identify 15-20 employers that match your criteria (size, location, culture, product/service, etc.), along with key decision makers within each one. They are the people you will want to connect with as you implement your search.
Then, set up an account at Google Alerts with Alerts for the following:
- Your name
- Your blog and website names, if you have them
- Names of your target employers and/or those you want to be informed about
- Names of key decision makers in your target employers
- Job title(s) you’re seeking, i.e., “CEO, Sales VP, Director of Information Systems, etc.”
- Keyword phrases relevant to your niche
- Names of your target employers’ relevant products or services Names of subject matter experts in your niche
- Names of any people whose radar you want to get on.
After you set up your account, you’ll receive an email with links to the highest-ranked latest news and information published on the Web relevant to your chosen Alerts.
Not all of the Alerts you receive will be helpful. However, some of them will lead you to information and resources you never would have found otherwise. For example, Google Alerts can help you:
- Track market trends and opportunities.
- Provide targeted industry and employer research for due diligence and market intelligence that will position you as an informed, engaged candidate in interviews.
- Learn what your target key decision makers are talking about, what they’re working on and other activities that could be helpful for you to know.
- Uncover challenges facing your target industries and employers that will help you to communicate your value proposition to help them overcome those issues.
Another important point about Alerts is to use the information for blogging or tweeting (if you do blog or tweet). Act quickly on an Alert for a relevant blog post and try to be the first one who comments on it.
First-responders’ comments stay ahead of the queue, and the link you provide is much more likely to be clicked on, leading people to whatever information you need them to know about you. If it’s a blog with good link weight, your comment will land high in search results when people Google “your name,” positioning yourself as social media-savvy and a subject matter expert (if you’ve written a compelling comment).
Alerts can help you to generate ideas for your own blog posts and tweets. Alerts send you relevant tweets which you can re-tweet and help build your career brand. If you receive an Alert connected to a blog post you’ve written within an hour or two of publishing it, you’ll know Google considers it highly relevant and will be sending other searchers to the post when they Google matching keywords. Alerts can also help you to identify relevant sites where you may be able to publish an article or guest blog, building online brand visibility.
Bottom line is that Google Alerts are an essential resource in your career brand toolkit. They keep you apprised of what people are saying about you online, what others in your organization and industry are up to, and the latest trends within your niche and areas of interest.