A survey by Jobvite noted that more than 22 million Americans used social networks to find jobs in 2011. In fact, one in six people, more than 15%, say they found a job through social networking.
Its hard to deny a sign of the times: the days of printing out stacks of resumes and suiting up for an endless parade of job fairs are over. Social media is the new 24/7 job fair, giving you access to prospective employers and job listing as was never before available.
So, how do you set yourself apart and position yourself for a job in 2012? Combining traditional job searching techniques with a sharp social networking strategy is the answer.
Here we take on the Big 3: Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to reveal techniques for leveraging the uber-power of social media for finding a job. All are free, a breeze to set up, and easy to maintain with the right efforts. Let’s get started!:
Most of us think of Facebook as a network for connecting with family, friends, or past acquantainces. However, with all of Facebook’s recent changes, its a more valuable networking tool than ever.
• Post “Notes” – Leverage Facebook’s notes feature to explain your situation and explain the type of position you are looking for. Notes stay in people’s streams longer and allow you to write much more than in status updates. Tag your friends and remember to mention specific roles, companies, organizations, or projects you’d like to work on. The ideal connection might be in your own personal network!
• Make Status Updates – Make frequent status updates about your job search to ensure that others know you’re in the market. For example, if you say things like "I had a great interview this morning… keep your fingers crossed!" or "I have a networking meeting later today with an organization I'm really interested in”, friends may respond offering a contact they know, a suggestion for a similar role or organization, or to simply voice support and encouragement that will help sustain your eneergy and enthusiasm.
• Join Facebook “Groups” – Use Facebook’s search tool to find groups relevant to your professional interests and sector. Not only are groups a great entry point to find others with similar interests, you will open up new networking opportunities with likeminded people who will be more than happy to share resources. Some groups make it a point to share relevant job postings.
• “Like” Pages – Facebook Pages allows agencies and organizations to have a profile on Facebook. Make a list of the ideal organizations you’d love to work for and “like” their page on Facebook. Show you are a true fan by following their posts and commenting when appropriate. This will prove you are interested in their work and give your first access to their job postings – elements that will serve you well when you land the first interview.
If you're not already on LinkedIn, create your profile today. LinkedIn has been called “Facebook with a suit and tie” and is the prominent network for business connections. Expand your real-life network online by searching for or importing your email contacts. Connect with colleagues, friends, and schoolmates.
• Showcase your resume for free – LinkedIn allows you to post your resume and showcase your skills. Make sure to fill out your profile with current AND past experiences, volunteer work…and don’t forget a profile picture!
• Job Postings – LinkedIn allows employers to post jobs on the site. The jobs are usually high quality positions.
• Recommendations – Ask for recommendations on your profile. Recommendations are social proof of your past successes and aptitudes, which is appealing to prospective employers. Only ask for recommendations from people that can say good things about you.
• Linkedin Groups – Similar to Facebook groups, Linkedin’s groups features allows you to engage people with who have similar professional interests. Linkedin even offers a “groups your may like” feature which generates interesting groups based on your resume and experiences. Participate in groups to stay on top of trends in the field and the latest on job opportunities. Use the Groups platforms to pass along useful professional advice and information.
• Status Updates – Similar to Facebook, LinkedIn also has status updates. It's a good idea to update your status and keep your connections informed about what you have been up to.
Twitter opens you up to a world new contacts and real-time jobs postings from arround the web, all in 140 characters or less. Twitter moves fast, so use these tips to cut straight to the good stuff!:
• Prepare your Twitter for the job search – Make sure your Twitter account presents your professional face to the world. Create a Twitter handle using your first name and last name to make you easily findable in search engines. Include information about professional interests in your bio.
• Tweet up a storm- Be proactive when it comes to talking about your job search. Mention things like interviews you have had or people you have met with.
• Use WeFollow.com or Listorious.com to find people on Twitter who share professional interests. – Use keywords to find and follow experts, thought leaders, and potential mentors. Read their streams, retweet their posts, and respond to their questions. A few casual tweets can result in a strong business relationship. Once you have an established connection, it's OK to ask for advice, but don’t jump the gun. It's better to focus on giving good feedback and contributing value to that person first.
• Twitter search for jobs- Use Twitter’s search feature to keywords and phrases combining terms such as “non-profit marketing” and “Job”. This will bring up a feed of results with tweets that reference job opportunities that you may be interested in and qualified for. Simply visit http://search.twitter.com. This is a great way to expand your reach beyond just the Twitter accounts that you follow.
Amidst the buzz, keep in mind social media is not a cure-all. Social networks are a great initial point of contact for finding new connections and leads for jobs, but ultimately its up to you to do the heavy lifting and move the relationship forward offline. Offer to take people out to coffee, meet over lunch, or set up a brief informational interview. It’s worthwhile to invest time to build relationships with people who may someday become your boss.
What struggles or successes have you had with social media and your job search? I’d love to know! firstname.lastname@example.org.