The Jobseeker's Secret Weapon: If This, Then That

The Jobseeker's Secret Weapon: If This, Then That

Kevin Whipps
Jan 10, 2012

If you haven't used IFTTT, we think you should check out one of the greatest free web services around. IFTTT stands for If This, Then That, and the name is practically self-explanatory. If one of the several triggers you setup happens, then the service activates whatever multiple commands you designate. But how does all this help you find a job?

Turns out that many job sites have RSS feeds, and that happens to be one of the triggers on IFTTT. That's the start of the process — the end result is all up to you.

How to Get Jobs Sent to You Via IFTT:

1. Once you've created a free account over at IFTTT, sign in and click on the large "Create Task" button.

2. The text will pop up, "Ifthisthenthat" and click on the word this. You've got tons of different triggers here, but for a job hunt, you want to find and select the RSS symbol.

3. Here, you can either choose "New Feed Item" or "New feed item matches." I usually choose the former, because that way I get hit with every job listing in my category, just in case.

4. Now visit your favorite job search site, and enter in the parameters you want to use for your particular hunt. For example: I use Craigslist, which is a great place to find local stuff if that's what you want. Tap the RSS button in the corner and then highlight the link in the address bar that pops up. That's the address for the RSS feed, and that's crucial. Enter the link in the box on IFTTT and move to the next step.

5. Here's where you can have some fun. If you want those messages right away and have an Internet-connected phone, then you can have the service send the links via text message (to do that, just click on the SMS link and follow the steps). In this case, we're going to do email, so select the Email box in the top corner.

6. After you've selected the only option for emails ("send me an email," naturally), the screen shown above pops up. If you're good with it as is, then just hit "Create Action" and the next time your feed updates, you'll get an email with the name of the entry in the subject field, and the body of the email containing the links and info from the RSS Feed. Now you'll always be the first to know about a new job, and sometimes, that's all you need.

Bonus OmniFocus tip: If you use OmniFocus for the Mac, try this out for size. In the "Subject" field in Step 6 on IFTTT, type in the following phrase: "--{{EntryTitle}} >job apps @online #today $5" What's all that mean?

OmniFocus allows you to sync with Apple Mail, that way you can send yourself an email and it will automatically put up a task for you in the system. The trigger for this can be anything you want, but in my case, I use two hyphens in the first part of the subject to start the process. Then, anything after the ">" refers to the "Project" field in OmniFocus, "@" refers to the "Context," "#" is for what day you want it to appear in the task manager (with today being the best way to pop it to the top of your to-do list), and "$" is for the amount of time it will take to get it done.

Now not only do you get your job searches emailed to you right away, but they're added into OmniFocus automatically so you don't forget to tackle them. Now that's some organized job hunting.

(Images: Kevin Whipps)

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