Today and through the rest of this week, we'll be taking a look at tips for finding, interviewing for, negotiating over, and succeeding in a new gig. First off is making inconvenient, low-tech job listing sites—the kind without RSS feeds, email alerts, or any other technologies beyond 2001—much more manageable through a combination of a "page scraper," or RSS generator, and automatic RSS-to-email services to make sure you're never near the bottom of the resume stack. Photo by shadytrees.
Lots of state and government agencies list their jobs on static HTML pages that are updated manually, with no syndication feed or user tools like email alerts to help out eager job-seekers. We've covered a number of tools that "scrape" web pages that change regularly and turn them into RSS content, but many of those early-Web-2.0 tools, such as rssfwd, are either regularly down or have instituted limited free trials.
One good solution is the free Page2RSS site. Enter in the page you want to watch—if it's just a re-directing URL, Page2RSS automatically grabs the correct page—and then right-click on the "RSS 2.0" link on the right and choose "Copy Link Location" or a similar option. If you're going to be watching multiple sites, paste that long RSS address in a text document, separating the feeds on separate lines.
PageTiki is a similar service with a nicer, more user-friendly interface, but limits your overall watching time by making each site scan cost "TikiBucks." You'll likely have gotten your new job by the time you run out, but anyone watching a lot of sites might run out before they're ready.
If you're a Firefox user who isn't so hot on the whole feeds thing, the free Firefox extension Update Scanner, which we've previously written about, provides instant in-browser updates for quick response times.
If you're not already using an RSS reader—a web site or software tool that monitors and delivers feed updates—now's the time to get started. Free accounts are offered at the web-based Google Reader and Bloglines, and free software tools like the Newsgator RSS Suite are there for the taking. What's the difference? Well, our own Adam Pash has laid out the pros and cons of each.
Once you've set up your custom-rolled update feeds and loaded them into your reader, you might want to hedge your bets against a day where you're too busy to check it—or the new results come so fast and frequent that they don't show up on your start page. There are lots of defunct and not-free RSS-to-email converters out there—I can tentatively recommend FeedMailer as one that seems to work as advertised, and doesn't appear to be going dead any time soon. FeedMailer lets you set the frequency of your email updates, from as-it-happens to daily digests, and choose whether they arrive as HTML or plain-text mail.
Now you've got pretty universal coverage of low- and high-tech job sites, with a feed reader keeping track of everything that's new and email alerts arriving as a second-chance reminder.
What rss creation tools and email converters can our experienced feed-watchers recommend? What non-RSS page-monitoring tools have worked for you? Let's hear your recommendations in the comments.