The other day I was browsing through Twitter when I came across a Tweet (of course now I can’t remember who Tweeted it) asking “Have you gotten a job through social media? If so, share your success story.” Sounds a little unlikely right? With unemployment still lingering at 9% jobs are either extremely difficult to come across OR you’re competing against 2000 other applicants for the position. Thousands of companies are utilizing social media and tools can be useful in scoping out these job opportunities, connecting to companies/recruiters, and branding yourself.
THE Professional Network: Linkedln
Linkedln is, by far, the best professional social network out there. From it’s easy to navigate interface, to its networking capabilities, Linkedln is a wonderful source for any job seeker to take advantage of. Users are able to create a profile highlighting current and past job experiences, educational background, interests, skills, personal and professional achievements, link to their websites, blogs, or other social media profiles through the home page, and upload a resume. There’s even a place for recommendations from past or current employers and I highly recommend asking for at least one recommendation. Users can also search companies and people to follow. By following a company, you can network with current employees, which can be a great resource for finding, for example, the HR hiring manager, or someone currently holding the position you are interested in. Start a conversation with him/her without initially asking for a job. Do your research and talk about the company, then after a few back and forth messages you can ask if they know of any opportunities or contacts to direct you to. Company pages often have job postings and useful company news and background info. I also suggest joining groups that you’re interested in. I’m a part of the MSU Alumni Association Linkedln Group where I can partake in discussions between other Alum, reach out for job inquiries, talk about potential opportunities with Alumni in my field, etc. There’s also a box on your profile that says “Jobs you May Be Interested In.” Linkedln is constantly targeting you for jobs based on the info you’ve included in your profile and past searches. Don’t be afraid to reach out and connect with these people. It’s all about networking and putting yourself out there.
*Something Extra: When writing up your profile, make sure to optimize it with key words related to your job experience, for example “Media Buyer/Planner.” It might even be a good idea to add your location as well: “Detroit Area Media Buyer/Planner.”
Linkedln also has a service specifically for the hardcore job seekers. Now, of course you have to pay a price to utilize it, but you’ll benefit by being able to directly connect and interact with recruiters.
Tweet, Tweet, Tweet, TWITTER
Twitter, with its enormous, worldwide network of users is a very simple way to network and stumble across job postings and opportunities. Establishing a professional network and finding job leads is easy on Twitter, not only because of its keyword search tool (try typing in a job title and see what pops up!), but also because of your ability to make connections with professionals. First things first! Create a profile by including a picture, short bio and a link to your Linkedln, personal website or blog. Now it’s time to start connecting with all the other Tweeters out there! Follow companies you are interested in, Tweet about relevant topics pertaining to the industry you want to pursue. Run keyword searches that pertain to a job position you might be interested in…this is a great way to find job postings for a specific job title or company and connect with recruiters. Also, if you create #hashtags about your job hunt, you will begin to pop up in other people’s keyword searches and they may be able to offer a hand in your hunt. It’s all about making connections, starting a conversation, and building relationships. I’ve heard about people who had hundreds of connections, Tweeted “Laid off today” and within hours received direct messages from offering new opportunities, all because they took the time to utilize Twitter to it’s fullest potential and establish relationships. Taking the initiative can open doors for you!
* Something Extra: If you’re going to follow all of these companies and industry professionals then keep it clean. Using Twitter to aid in your job search doesn’t mean you can only tweet job-related content all day, but if you are going to occasionally Tweet something personal, keep it clean. Anyone can see your tweets at any time…even a recruiter, and trust me, a recruiter will take the time to read a day’s worth of tweets if he/she is really interested in you.
THE Social Network: Facebook
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Facebook is the largest social networking site in the world, and with that user base comes many opportunities you can take advantage of. Many major companies have a Facebook presence now and even small and local business’s are beginning to tap into this social networking giant. With that said, it’s easy to simply search for your dream company and “like” or “become a fan” of their company page. From there you can find company info, job postings, and even start a conversation by posting or commenting.
Another useful job search feature is the ability to search for keywords. For example, say you are a graphic designer, try typing “graphic design” into the search box. Groups you can join and network in will pop up. I suggest joining these groups or at least poking around their pages because there could be some good networking opportunities or additional job opportunities there you may not have come across otherwise.
*Something Extra: I wouldn’t suggest friend requesting current employees or hiring manager of a company you’ve “liked” or “become a fan of” directly because they receive enough emails and applications at work that they don’t want to be bothered by random job seekers on Facebook.
*Something Extra: If you are going to follow a company’s Facebook page make sure your Facebook is clean and professional. If you have pictures you don’t want a recruiter to stumble across take them down, or make them private. Also clean up your wall and info, free from anything inappropriate. Remember, anything and everything on the internet is accessible so be careful of what you post.
The Blog World
Whether you have a personal blog, or just enjoy reading other people’s blogs, they are a wonderful resource for company news and networking opportunities. If you have your own blog, I suggest following company blogs of the companies you’re interested in. Most company blogs have job banks built right in. Subscribe to their blog, then read it and comment. Comment on company blog posts with relevant, thought provoking content. This will show them you are interested in their company and that you are knowledgeable about the work they do and the industry. Make sure your username on your comments links back to your own blog. Someone at the company may just happen to link your comments together with the resume you sent the week before and there you go…a foot in the door!
*Something Extra: I suggest putting links on your personal blog back to your Twitter, Linkedln, personal website, and resume. That way if your blog sparks interest in a company blogger all your info is right there. Also, put the URL of your blog along the top or bottom of your resume.
Technorati has over 130 million blogs. Use that as a resource to search for blogs relevant to your personal and job-related interests and start following those as well…the blogger could be someone at one of the companies you are pursuing.
A blog is a great way to brand yourself and show recruiters what you are interested and knowledgeable in. If you want to use a blog as a job search tool then blog about what you know and what you love! Start your own today through WordPress!
Successful job searches come from people who are consistant with their social media use and those who take the time to build strong networks. Social media is a great way to make connections, start conversations, and show recruiters you are knowledgeable about the industry.
*1 More Thing: I highly suggest linking all of your social media profiles together. If a recruiter only happens to come across one of your profiles you won’t be selling yourself short because links to all the others will be there right in front of them.