The first tool you need for your job search (spoiler alert – it’s not your CV)

Job searchers are always busy at the New Year, so we have planned a series of articles on the basic tools you need for finding your next job. Some of these may surprise you and some you are perhaps already using, but they are all important.

This week’s advice is to get an internet password management system and start using it for everything you do online.

All jobs at larger universities, with competent jobs or career pages, will be listed on their websites. Reputable jobs boards will provide a direct link to the university website. Some smaller universities rely on other systems, but you can also expect most of your job applications to be submitted online. The online application system will ask you to create an account and then login using a password. This may mean you can also save a draft application and return to finish it later, so you need to remember that password. More importantly, you will be sharing a lot of detailed personal information in your job applications so you must not re-use passwords. 

Services like Dashlane and Lastpass, which we use in our own office, create a new secure password for every website, save it for you using encryption, and then help you log in through a web browser wherever you are. There are lots of password manager services available and most have a free option. Using one for the first time can truly be life-changing. A quick online search for ‘Password Managers’ will suggest lots of options with all the information you need.

Password managers from left to right: Dashlane, RoboForm, LastPass, 1Password, and NordPass

Once you have found your password manager you will need one ‘master password’ to access the service. Choose this one careful. You must never reuse it and you want it to be memorable. I use the first lines of poems, songs, childrens’ books, and other things I have inadvertently committed to memory, for the very few passwords I still need to type. Other people find disguised names, numbers or a combination works best for them.  Choose carefully as this is the one password you will still need to remember and type.

While job searching you may also want to set up accounts with some jobs boards (like Global Academy Jobs!) and perhaps LinkedIn, Research Gate and other online publication routes. Enable your password manager in your browser and it will suggest a new password for each new site you use, and then save your password and login for next time you return. This saves time as well as keeping your information more secure.

We have more job search tools for you, so be sure to register with us to receive practical academic job search tips each week.

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