I have realized that a number of you never got to read this article that i wrote for PC Tech Magazine last year. So i have decided to re-post it here;
The reach of social media is ever-expanding and there are many ways to use social media to research, network, and eventually find a job. Social networking allows job-seekers and employers to reach their target – matching the right person to the right job.
Whether you are just thinking about making a job change, looking for your first job after campus, or find yourself unexpectedly amongst the unemployed, you will find that having a social media job search strategy will greatly increase the number of opportunities that you will become aware of. However, for many job seekers using social media in their job search is uncharted territory and because your on-line presence is so public, it is critical that you make sure you are using it effectively and appropriately.
After some personal research on this topic through many articles published on the internet and my personal thoughts i have come up with ideas on how this can be done; how do you use social media to find a job…
1)You make a social media plan strategy which is right for your career; Think about the types of organizations you want to work at and research what networks the company and the people that work there are utilizing to make sure you are on those networks too. Use these same platforms to discover information that will be important to your interview preparations and help you stand out to your interviewers.
2)Have an online professional profile; Almost all employers will do a Google, Facebook or LinkedIn search on potential candidates. Make sure that when employers find you they are seeing information about your professional accomplishments and background that’s up to date. If there are too many videos, photos, and other references and links to your personal life on your Facebook, you should utilize privacy settings and consider disabling or removing some of these other links.
3)Use Facebook to let your friends and family know you’re job seeking: If you don’t mind your Facebook being a channel for people to find you on, here’s a tip, put your key words in your interests (as this is how the search works). So for me it would be sales and marketing, social media, PR, administration, advertising, writing, blogging and so on. If, however, you prefer a little privacy, you can still use your Facebook presence and your connections for job seeking purposes; your friends are your job seeking starting point, always. They know you best, love you and would hire you, if they could. So why not start with them?. Many of my friends have helped me with this a lot of times.
4)Establish yourself on LinkedIn: For people just graduating, LinkedIn is a pretty barren area. With little experience and no work contacts free graduates find it hard to use this platform. I think it’s easy for people who have been working for years to forget that. I joined Facebook when i was just out of A level that is like 3 years after its launch – yes I am that old – and I remember the buzz it had. I didn’t go onto LinkedIn until I was about to leave my first job because I didn’t see the relevancy. But now i recommend it, I know how it feels and I sympathize with those who feel they have nothing to add to their profile there. Of course what they need to do is get on and add their skills – and any experience they can come up with – and jump in.
When you have got the grip of it, please join LinkedIn groups related to your career interests and campus. Actively participate in discussions and identify individuals whom you can converse with online who may also be able to help you build a robust network and eventually lead you to getting the job you want.
5)Use platforms like twitter and expand your network; Build relationships with organizations and individuals of interest to you and don’t be afraid to reach out through several social media platforms. Here you have ease access, immediacy to help you communicate your knowledge of different industries to the right people. But Twitter can give a bad impression because in most cases common senses can sometimes go out the window while we tweet so you better be careful. Make it friendly to your may become employer.
With Twitter you can play the number games, tweeting hundreds of people, across a number of sectors and jobs might be easy to do, but for anyone looking back through your time line it will be obvious you are playing. That for me is the difference. The offline way is private, you write 1,000 letters and people won’t know. Use social media in the same way and you can see it won’t look great. It might even damage your prospects when you do come across that position that really is right for you.
Not to forget, Twitter facilitates face to face networking through tweetups, this is where you start, try to meet everyone face to face as well. It points you in the direction of opportunities to meet, such as mutual friends, networking events or just plain old asking to meet for a coffee.
There continue to be many success stories of individuals getting jobs or internships by actively participating in these chats and impressing hiring managers.
6) Start a blog related to your career interests; I don’t think those new to social media should be put off by the idea that they have to be on 24/7 and managing multiple accounts like a community pro, just have a personal account on each and update as necessary as you can. Please do not link up your accounts because you need different personalities to shine through on these platforms. In addition to your own posts you can comment on other material that is relevant to a topic. This will give you an opportunity to communicate with others who share similar interests as yourself and connect with them. Some of your readers may be in a position to hire and be impressed with your initiative and ingenuity.
On another note you can see yourself as an editor of your own suite of life magazines. You’ve got your personal magazine, Facebook, where you share all the latest gossip and pics – it’s like Red Pepper, but for you. Then you’ve got LinkedIn. This is your FT, where you are putting your best foot forward to show your professional side. Twitter can be as fun or professional as you like, but if you want to use it for business, make it like Weekly Observer: interesting, informative, and cool.
7) Engage with a prospective employers; There are two different routes, first – is using social media tools to identify and then communicate with prospective employers, then second is to use the tools and platforms to communicate your knowledge, suitability or passion for a position. I’d still use the likes of LinkedIn for identification and communication, as it allows for more private communication. However, by following a prospective employer and engaging with them rather than jumping straight in and asking for job opportunities is the best advice I can give. Those I’ve noticed most are the people that can demonstrate they understand social media, but can also add to the debate and flag up things I may not know or have seen online.
8) Be prepared to play the long game once you know where you want to be: Here you need to research the company that you want to apply for. Even if there are no vacancies, this works for some people on many occasions (but i have never done it before). Within that organisation track down the key people and offer an introduction to yourself, your future intentions and why you perceive yourself as a ‘good fit’. This means that with any future positions, they will think of you and be likely to get back to you. What social media gives you is leverage and visibility. When you have identified key others you do not need to harass them, but keep an eye on what they are doing and how they are doing it.
9)Raise your KLOUT score. KLOUT is a site that monitors and scores your on-line presence. Conventional wisdom is that the higher the score the larger you are known on various social media networks. This can be especially helpful in jobs that involve communications, marketing, technology, and the arts, but increasingly other industries are getting more active as well. However, since many organizations are also trying to build their on-line brand, having employees who operate in this space can also be appealing to a potential employer. In addition to your own tweets and updates, you can raise your score and profile by sharing articles, posts, and videos, and commenting on blogs and other interesting material that is relevant to the career area you are interested in.
These are some of the ways i would ramp up my social media presence if i was a job seeker. This space is expanding rapidly and it is critical that you are using this in your job search to greatly increase your professional networks and find the job you want.
Research information got from forbes