By Natasha Baker
TORONTO (Reuters) - Finding a job is not easy but a range of smartphone and web apps are designed to customize employment searches and even provide information on the competition.
Free apps such as SimplyHired, Indeed, and Monster, for iPhone and Android devices, provide job opportunities through a keyword search, and web-based apps, including TwitJobSearch and TweetMyJobs, will scour Twitter for opportunities and send job alerts through the social network.
A new free iPhone app called TheLadders takes a different approach and sends a list of job opportunities to users based on their employment profile and career goals.
"One of the big frustrations for job hunters is that they go online to apply for a job and they don't hear back. It's a black hole," said Alex Douzet, chief executive and co-founder of TheLadders, headquartered in New York.
TheLadders uses algorithms to pick out the 50 best jobs for a user based on location, current title, preferences, seniority, areas of expertise, industry and salary goals.
"By doing this what we're creating is a new job discovery mechanism that ... actually matches you to opportunities that are relevant to your profile," he explained.
Job seekers browse opportunities by tapping on a listing to reveal information about the position, company and requirements. Premium users, who pay $25, can also see how they compare to other unnamed applicants who use the app in terms of salary and education.
When a user deletes a job opening it helps the algorithm learn the user's preferences. By indicating they "like" a potential job, the user's profile is sent to the recruiter.
Last week Nokia released a new job app for Windows phones called JobLens. It uses augmented reality, which overlays information on the real world as viewed through the device's camera, to show users job openings in their neighborhoods.
"Knowing proximity to a job is critical in assessing whether it's the right opportunity," said Bryan Biniak, vice president and general manager of global partner and app development at Nokia.
"We're all trying to find the right work-life balance, and minimizing your commute is an important consideration. Augmented reality gives job seekers this insight," he added.
JobLens aggregates job postings from popular job search sites including LinkedIn and Indeed. It also connects with social networks to display any personal connections to the company.
TheLadders' Douzet advises job hunters to be focused, realistic and to apply early because after 72 hours of a job being posted on TheLadders, the chances of hearing back from a recruiter drop by 50 percent.
(Editing by Patricia Reaney and Mary Milliken)