You may have heard people use terms like web 2.0, tweets, blog and social networking but have no idea what they mean or how to incorporate them into your job search strategy. They are words loosely used to describe a variety of activities that integrate technology and social interaction.
Social media is an umbrella term that defines many activities and allows people to utilize technology to connect online, form relationships and share information.
It is becoming increasingly more important to incorporate social media into your job search strategy. Many recruiters utilize a variety of social media technologies to find top candidates, so as a job seeker, you need to insert yourself into those arenas so that recruiters can find you more easily.
How can you utilize social media for your job search?
With so many social media platforms out there, you might be wondering which one is right for you. Here are some of the most popular social media outlets and how you can utilize them for your job search:
Twitter is one of the easiest to participate in and, in some ways it opens doors to industry leaders in a way unlike most other social networking tools. Did you know that CEO's of major corporations use Twitter? Last fall, BusinessWeek ran an article about Tweets from Chiefs. You can have open conversations with the experts and build your network and personal brand with ease.
First, you have to sign up for a Twitter account and create your micro-bio (140 word profile). Next, import and search all of your professional friends, acquaintances and family and start to “follow” them on Twitter. When you follow someone on Twitter, you are able to see all of their “tweets”, also known as posts. Pay attention as you are reading your Google alerts and industry blogs to figure out which experts in your industry are using Twitter and follow them as well. When you follow people many times they follow you back.
Pay attention to the conversations that are happening around you on Twitter and start to get involved. "Tweet" (reply to) posts when you have something interesting to contribute to the conversation. Add your own insightful observations, links and content about your area of interest or focus. Do this every day and watch how your network will grow and you will begin to have real dialogue with industry experts that you would have never had access to before.
LinkedIn is the best known and most utilized professional networking site. You can develop an online profile of your professional experience and connect with people in your network. The networking aspect is vital to success on LinkedIn. Make sure you connect with as many people that are in your network as possible. You will then have a visual representation of your network and their network. You can also join professional and industry groups to expand your networking capabilities. Utilize the LinkedIn search functions and check job postings as well.
If you want to create a personal résumé online, VisualCV is the site to visit. It provides you with a virtual résumé, networking opportunities and a database of available job openings. VisualCV offers you the ability to integrate your résumés with social media sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. Your virtual résumé can include multimedia elements such as images, video and audio.
Another service that enables you to post a résumé quickly online is ResumeBucket. You can create virtual résumés and are provided with unique URLs to promote your résumés. ResumeBucket offers you the ease of editing, the power of sharing, and convenient access to your résumé from anywhere on the planet.
Facebook is a great tool to network and reconnect with old friends, family and co-workers. There are two main ways of acquiring a job through Facebook. First, you can use your network. You can join groups of interest and participate in their online conversations or participate in any events they may have. You can find groups on most any company, industry or topic. You can also network directly with your Facebook friends. Let them know you are job hunting and what you are looking to do.
You can also look for a new job through Facebook Marketplace, which lists job openings or other opportunities in your network. When searching for jobs, you'll be able to see who listed the posting and then message them to learn more about the opportunity.
InsideJob is a tool that says it replicates the best features of sites such as LinkedIn for use on Facebook. It allows you to search for and contact other Facebook users based on where they interviewed, worked, or are currently working. You can get the inside scoop on your prospective employer before you interview with them. Hiring managers can use InsideJob to find the right people to hire.
InsideJob users can:
• Get the inside scoop on their prospective employer before the interview
• Search for and post jobs
• Network with people in similar fields
• Find the right people to hire as service providers.
If you are looking for a job with a smaller company in your local market, Craigslist is a perfect place to look. Many small and medium sized companies who can not afford the cost of posting on the large job sites such as Monster or Career Builder will utilize Craigslist for job postings. Just go to the jobs section and type in the appropriate keyword(s). You can also post your resume under their resume section.
Indeed and SimplyHired are job search aggregators. They search the web and collect job postings from a wide variety of other sites (including corporations and job boards) and then aggregate them into one database so that job seekers can search them. You will only find job postings in their database which will save you time when looking for work. Many times you will find jobs from the major career sites (i.e. Monster, CareerBuilder, etc.) are listed in your search results.
JibberJobber is complementary to social networks and is a personal relationship manager for your career. Just as a salesperson would use a technology to keep track of their customers, like Salesforce.com or Goldmine, JibberJobber helps keep track of your job search, networking contacts and other career management information.
JibberJobber is not a social network, but it can help manage and organize the information you collect from the social networks. In LinkedIn you can connect with others but you can't rank the relationship, log notes about your relationship, create action items or tie them to companies. JibberJobber allows you to do this privately. And it allows you to import contacts from other places, like CardScan, Outlook, Gmail, etc.
No matter what social media outlets you decide to utilize, you need to have a thought out, consistent presence across all platforms. It is important to be aware of your personal brand and how you develop it online. Things you post on one social media site may not be appropriate for another. Be mindful of what you say and who your audience is while using social media. Next month I will elaborate more on social media etiquette and will discuss more specific 'dos and don'ts' of how to properly use social media to aid in your job search strategies.
I encourage you to send me any questions you have regarding social media or specific topics you'd like me to address and I will cover them in next month's column. Also, if you'd like to share personal experiences you've had using social media to network and search for jobs, please send them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org, as well.