Companies in 2017 run on a set of newer, productivity-focused applications that make collaboration, organization, data analysis, and content creation simpler—knowing how to use Powerpoint and Word doesn’t make you workplace ready anymore. These tools probably don’t cross your radar as a student, and most colleges do a terrible job of exposing you to them. But gaining a familiarity with the tools modern companies use every day will make you a prime candidate during the hiring process and a much more valuable team member from day one! It’ll even help boost your chances in the dreaded “we prefer someone with experience” (for an entry level job) situation. Most of these apps are free, fairly simple to learn, and can be utilized to make your everyday life easier. If you want to be able to rise above the resume pile, and be productive from Day One on your job, and simplify your life in the process, keep reading!
Internal Communications – Slack
Almost every company revolves around teamwork—which means communicating effectively with co-workers is essential. Slack was made to simplify that. What it does isn’t revolutionary–there have been messaging apps for awhile. It just does it really well, bringing all of your team’s communication to one organized place.
Slack is only about three years old, but became the fastest growing business app ever. Four out of five Fortune 100 companies use Slack, and it has 5 million daily active users. Chances are, you’ll be one of them when you get your first job.
Slack includes real-time messaging, archiving, and search, with separate and overlapping “channels” for different topics or subteams. Its computer interface seamlessly integrates with iOS and Android apps to make on-the-go communication easy. Slack even has its own application programming interface that allows you to create plugins, tools, and integrate external services.
The scoop: The basic version of Slack is free, and it really is great at organizing group communications all in one place–way better than a groupchat or Facebook group. Use it for your campus org, group project, rock band, or knitting club (we don’t know your life. It works for anything). You can even use it for personal notetaking, separating your thoughts and notes into various channels.
How it can help your life now: Your unicycling club always has about a million different conversations at once, all happening in the same group chat blowing up your phone. By making a team on Slack, you can separate all those different topics into channels, with only the relevant members on each one. You can easily start sidebars with individual or multiple clubmates to plan small group rides and ask about each others’ adventures.
Click here to create a free team.
Data Analytics – Domo
Domo is a cloud-based business management suite that you can upload to from almost any data source, including spreadsheets, databases, social media and any existing cloud-based or on-premise software. It works for all company sizes and operating systems, and companies use it for sweet visualizations of data from private information like cash balances to big data like marketing return on investment or social media interactions.
Domo has grown rapidly and is used by giant companies like DHL, eBay, MasterCard, and National Geographic and countless smaller companies. They also once showed up to a tech conference with Snoop Dogg and Flo Rida, which is awesome.
The scoop: Domo has a free “Starter” version, and although you have to submit for approval to use it, their sales team is super fast (we mean, like within seconds fast) in approving you via email to have a trial account. Practice making “cards” to present data and use it to visualize any excel projects you have, like revenue for your campus organization or click trends on an email campaign.
How it can help your life now: You have trouble budgeting and you always wonder where all your money is going. By hooking up your debit card expense data into the super business data-visualizer and analyzer Domo, you’re able to see that your avocado toast habit is keeping you from affording the things you need.
Submit your application to try it free here.
Project Management – Basecamp
Basecamp allows users to create checklists categorized by project and assigned to team members to ensure that no project falls through the cracks. Its centralized system eliminates spammy emails chains about projects, allowing users to comment and discuss each to-do.
There are definitely alternatives with more features or that specialize for certain types of work (eg Software Development), but Basecamp is still the most popular tool of its kind and is used by over 100,000 businesses.
The scoop: Basecamp is free to students and teachers (woohoo!), and you can use it just to organize your own life by creating clean checklists for each class you’re taking, for your extracurriculars, or a full strategy for that semester-long group project.
How it can help your life now: Your roommates are slobs, so you always end up doing the dishes and cleaning the bathroom because you can’t stand it anymore. Make a Basecamp to organize, assign, and track tasks and chores, so there’s no more fingerpointing about whose turn it was!
Follow this link to start your 30-day trial and then claim your free student pricing!
Social Media – Hootsuite
Hootsuite is a social media platform for organizations and businesses to collaboratively carry out campaigns across various social networks such as Google+, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. It lets users launch campaigns from a single, cloud-based dashboard. It captures data analytics, allows for multiple users to manage posts, and lets you schedule social media posts so you don’t even have to log on to tweet. From your dashboard, you can see your newsfeed and monitor activity from all networks at the same.
The scoop: While it’s marketed to businesses, whooo (sorry, we couldn’t resist a good pun) says Hootsuite can’t be used for your personal social media accounts? Their free version allows you to control three accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Insta, the necessities) and your practice on this platform will prepare you for managing a company’s socials AND could save you some serious time.
How it can help your life now: Rather than logging on or opening Twitter every single day to tweet your love to Ed Sheeran, you can write them all out in bulk and schedule them ahead of time. Think of all the time you’ll save! And instead of checking three different platforms to see who has liked your selfies, you can see everything at once in your Hootsuite dashboard!
Use this link to start your free account.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) – Salesforce
The Salesforce cloud makes sales and support simple. These applications help organizations manage customer accounts, track sales leads, conduct and monitor marketing campaigns and provide service post sale. Salesforce is the most popular CRM, with around 21% market share. Predictions say that the “salesforce economy” will create 1.9 million jobs in the next five years, so learning how this app works is so completely to your advantage.
The scoop: They’ve even created a training site to help you learn how to use it for free. While it may not be useful to you in your personal life, if you’re considering a career in marketing or sales, training yourself may be more useful than any class you take.
How it can help your life now: Your DJ game is straight fire, and you have trouble keeping track of all the people trying to book you for parties and events. You miss gigs, you lose people’s contact info, you forget to follow up, and you mix up who wants you for a kid’s birthday party vs a grimy dorm rager (don’t want to cross those up!)… Put all your clients into Salesforce!
Content Management System – WordPress
WordPress is currently the fastest growing CMS software—and it’s not just for blogs! WordPress powers over a quarter of the world’s top 10 million websites (and 59% of those using a CMS [including–just a random example–Vocatio.com])! Many consider WordPress the easiest to use CMS because you don’t have to know how to code or navigate backend systems without guidance. It also has endless plugins that allow creativity and variety.
The scoop: A WordPress site is completely free, and easy to get started. (You can pay separately to get a non-wordpress domain name.) Start your blog or portfolio website on WordPress, and get creative outside the templates, adding plugins and cool features.
How it can help your life now: You take amazing photos and write cool things, but no one ever gets to see them! (and your very-mediocre LinkedIn is all that comes up when someone Googles you) With your sick new personal portfolio site hosted by WordPress, you’re suddenly the cat’s meow and everyone is super impressed by you!
Click here to start making your free website!
Vocatio is a career discovery platform and media network aimed at helping people land in their most fulfilling, rewarding careers possible. Our free public beta is now live. Check it out!