by Meridith Levinson

8 Free Office Applications for Job Seekers Who Can’t Afford New Software

Feb 27, 20093 mins
Enterprise Applications

These user-friendly open source tools can help you step up your job search without spending any money

Everyone is trying to save money these days, whether they’re employed or unemployed. So what does the job seeker on a budget do when he or she needs new software? In addition to cruising Google’s free software catalog, job seekers can also look to open source tools.

The following eight open source software applications were referred to me by Palamida, a provider of software that helps companies track and monitor the open source applications they use. Palamida selected the eight tools below because “they’re well-supported, well-regarded and consumer-friendly” and because the communities that develop them “provide timely patches, updates and security fixes,” according to a spokesperson for the company.

Depending on your familiarity with open source software, you may or may not already be aware of these applications. They are free, open source alternatives to many commercially available software products, such as Microsoft Office and Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. Without further ado, here are eight free productivity, publishing and communication applications:

1. Opengoo is a web-based suite of office applications.

2. Scribus is a desktop publishing system, similar to Adobe Illustrator, that’s designed for laying out pages and typesetting.

3. TextPattern is a content management system for creating blogs and websites.

4. Gimp is an alternative to Adobe Photoshop photo editing software.

5. Kino is an alternative to Final Cut video editing software.

6. Pidgin is an instant messaging application.

7. Mozilla Thunderbird is an e-mail client.

8. KPresenter is the presentation software that’s part of the open source KOffice suite.  

Some of these open source applications may be particularly useful to job seekers who want to differentiate themselves with blogs and eye-catching text- and video résumés, but who can’t afford the expensive publishing, photo- and video editing applications necessary to execute such projects in a high-quality way, says Erica Zeidenberg, the spokesperson for Palamida.

“Lots of people at home don’t have Illustrator or Photoshop because they’re very expensive,” she says. “By contrast, these open source tools are easily available. Because you can download them for free, they open up whole new approaches to differentiating yourself that you may not have otherwise pursued. These tools can help you step up your job search without spending any money.”

Obviously, the above list is not the end-all, be-all of open source applications, so if you know of other free software tools job seekers can use, share them here.