Searching for a new job? Consider a web or mobile app to simplify the ordeal. Many are free to use via your mobile phone and leave few excuses for not conducting your search.The apps do everything from quickly creating a resume from scratch to providing hard-to-spot job leads via Twitter.
They are especially helpful on the go -- during a job fair, an out-of-town interview or any other time when you may not have computer access. We tried the latest to see how they measure up. Here are eight that left us impressed:
If you're not at your computer, creating a resume can be a pain. Pocket Resume helps users make a resume with a professional format and send it out on the go – perfect for a last-minute networking event. You can either upload an existing resume or create one from scratch.
Pros: It's a quick way to create a PDF format of your resume or update an existing resume. There's no need to tinker with spacing or format – you simply put your info into pre-existing spaces. There are about a dozen different formats, so your PDF can include hints of color or other accents. The app integrates with your email and allows you to send immediately.
Cons: There's no way to customize the standard chronological format, so if at one point you worked on a project basis, your resume will still be chronological. (Though there is a designated area for 'other' info.)
Available for iPhone, iPad and Blackberry for $2.99 from Mani Ghasemlou, a Washington D.C.-based software developer.
If you're not sure about what you'd like to do in your next job, browsing Career Search can give you a quick overview. The app lets job seekers explore careers, find salary information, search openings and see which geographic locations have the most job openings.
Pros: The app lists different job titles and industries and provides basic information like a job outlook rating. The most useful part was easy access to salary information, which could be searched by the job seeker's location.
Cons: Even though the function was available, we couldn't search job information by keyword. Ads flashing across the top of the app were distracting. The descriptions for various roles were vague and only included the most basic information.
Available for iPhone for $0.99 from A2APP.com, an Ann Arbor, Michigan-based app developer.
Think you're sending your resume to a black hole? Use Resume Bear to email your resume and find out if anyone actually opened your document.
Pros: It's simple to use. Once you've emailed your resume through Resume Bear, the tracking tool alerts you when someone has opened your resume by sending you an email or text. It can be especially convenient when applying to a generic HR email address.
Cons: While Resume Bear tracks how many times a resume was opened, users can't see which recipient actually looked at the email. Not everything can be done using the mobile version: to find more stats on how many times a resume was viewed and to update resume versions users need to log onto the website.
Available free online, for iPhone or Android from ResumeBear Inc., a Solana Beach, Calif.-based online resume and job search firm.
Pegged as the "job interview survival kit," InterviewWow allows users to practice interview questions and de-stress before an interview by providing written questions and tips ahead of time.
Pros: For panicked job seekers the app provides a pre-interview checklist starting three days before. Surprising tips include anything from 'don't brush your teeth in your interview outfit' to making sure your portfolio or briefcase is polished. There are also videos of different types of interview mistakes, which can be a helpful refresher.
Cons: Tips are generic but good for rusty interviewees. InterviewWow's blog hasn't been updated in months.
Available for iPhone for $0.99 from Object Enterprises Inc., a San Fransisco-based app developer.
When a position needs to be filled, company websites, not job boards, are often the first to carry a specific listing. LinkUp says it works with more than 22,000 companies to mine these positions before they appear elsewhere.
Pros: It's easy to use, lets you search by geographic area and keywords. If you're not ready to apply the moment you see a listing, you can add the job to a favorites list and apply later. The app sends you directly to the job posting link and it's much easier than trolling company sites directly. Since listings are posted on company sites, they can be more current than some out-of-date job boards. The database has plenty of offerings.
Cons: You still need to visit the company sites to apply. The app doesn't offer shortcuts when it comes to actually filling out an application or learning more about the company.
Available free for iPhone from Job Dig Inc., a job search engine based in Saint Louis Park, Minn.
Not sure if your resume will make it past the electronic filters of human resources? Resunate helps applicants beat resume-tracking systems by assessing how the keywords in their resume stack up against the job description. It also helps to automatically edit the document.
Pros: The online app can serve as an extra pair of eyes by comparing the keywords listed in a user's resume and providing a score of the document's effectiveness. The Focus Resume function allows users to create a better-organized document. Resunate also allows users to try out different resume templates.
Cons: The app doesn't always parse out the most pertinent information, which can make it difficult to use. And, it's only available as a web app for desktops.
Available at resunate.com; free basic version, $14.95 for one month from Careerimp Inc., a Pittsburgh-based developer of web-based software for job seekers.
Twitter can be a treasure trove of job tips – if you know how to mine it. TwitJobSearch does it for you by keeping track of Twitter statuses that mention job openings or job tips and allows users to scan those statuses in one feed. Job seekers search the site by typing in key search terms.
Pros: Twitter has real-time results, which can be more current than job boards or other search methods, making it easier to find a job tip that hasn't been circulating around the Internet. Many smaller businesses or start-ups simply use Twitter to advertise positions, so the site has plenty of tips.
Cons: Many results were not applicable, so it took some sifting to get valuable leads. The app is only available for iPhone in the U.K.; American users must download to their desktop.
Available free at twitjobsearch.com from WorkDigital Ltd., Britain's largest job search engine.
Job Search by Indeed.com
The job board's app helps users cut down the time spent on their job search by allowing quick browsing on the go.
Pros: While some job boards can be confusing, the app is simple to use, allowing users to quickly sift through hundreds of listings by keyword and location. Job seekers can see how many days ago the jobs were listed and skip over any listings that seem old. Several searches yielded applicable results.
Cons: Users still need to go online to research the company or apply for the job, so it's tricky to actually apply for a job while away from the computer.
Available for iPhone and Android for free from Indeed Inc., a Stamford, Conn.-based job listings search engine.
Write to Alina Dizik at firstname.lastname@example.org