What’s new on the Internet job hunting and networking scene?  The short answer, you might be surprised to learn, is “not much.”

Interestingly, it wasn’t all that long ago that I’d stumble across and review dozens of new job sites, networking tools, and Internet career resources on a monthly basis.  Over the past five years, however, things  have really stabilized and the pace of innovation seems to have slowed down heavily, at least in terms of the career sector.  It’s pretty rare, in fact, that I come across a new cyber-tool out there that I can’t wait to write and tell you all about.  Or that adds much to the equation beyond what traditional time-tested sites already provide.

In fact, about a year ago I ran a contest asking anybody to submit a useful website or online career tool that I hadn’t already reviewed in the past — and if memory serves, I didn’t receive a single submission!  So just for kicks, I’ll re-extend this challenge.  If anybody out there has come across a new tool that is even remotely useful in a job search capacity, let me know, and I’ll be happy to send the first person who does so a nice prize.  The only catch, again, is that it has to be a site or app I haven’t previously written about, so make sure to run a keyword search on my blog to verify that you’ve truly got a “new” offering to suggest.  We’ll see if we have any more luck on this front, heading into 2014…

All of this being said, I DID recently discover a new site called www.newsle.com that I have found to be pretty useful from a networking standpoint.  Heard of this site yet?  It’s been around since 2011, so perhaps I’m late to the party, but what this simple tool does is notify you if any of your contacts (i.e. people you’re connected to on LinkedIn or Facebook) appear in the media in some capacity.  Simply visit the site, give it permission to access your social media contacts (I trusted it), and you’ll get a periodic alert citing any new articles on the web in which your friends appear.  It’s a great way to “passively” keep tabs on what your networking acquaintances are doing and to circle back around them, with congratulations or condolences, depending on the events they’re involved with.  You also get notified when you, yourself, get mentioned on the web in some capacity — for better or worse!

The only downside?  As sophisticated as the “name matching” algorithm is supposed to be, cross-referencing names with other contextual data to ensure accuracy, I still receive a healthy number of alerts that aren’t correct, especially when it comes to people who have fairly common names.  So always take the updates you receive with a grain of salt.  Your mother might not have been involved with that meth lab and your former co-worker might not be the one who just published that book on racial supremacy. In fact, I have a friend with the same name as a member of the Seattle Seahawks and the system recently informed me that he had a great game against the New Orleans Saints the other night.  I could be wrong, but I’m pretty sure this was a severe case of mistaken identity.

Regardless, Newsle is a neat site and a worthy addition to anyone’s networking arsenal in a day and age where it pays to keep close tabs on your social capital.  Check it out!