Finding a Job Through Social Media

by Sandra Fathi on April 13, 2009

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Hot JobsEveryone knows that job candidates are flooding the market right now. There are jobs out there, but standing out in a sea of experienced, qualified applicants can be difficult, but not impossible. Social media offers a plethora of opportunities for marketers to reach consumers and businesses, but it also offers job candidates a direct line of communication to corporations and hiring managers. Here are some tips for would-be new hires – both to stand out in the crowd and find the job opportunities leveraging social media:

1. Clean Up Your Online Image – First and foremost, make sure that your online image is Google-ready. Most hiring managers will Google a job candidate at some point in the hiring process – sometimes before an interview. Google yourself and find out what happens. Is your LinkedIn profile up to date? Has your personal blog been dormant for months? Do photos from a night of over indulging in Cancun come up in search results? Take a good inventory of how you appear online and prepare the groundwork. Make sure that content that a potential employer can access is appropriate. Use privacy settings whenever possible. Untag yourself in photos if you can’t remove them from the public eye. Ask people to recommend you on sites that allow reviews such as LinkedIn and Guru.com. Create new ‘favorable’ content to hit the top of the search results (see next tip).

2. Make Yourself ‘Findable’ – If you don’t have an online presence, you need one. Social media is a great way to quickly create an online reputation for yourself and build out your resume and profile. Most of the tools are free. Create a LinkedIn profile, a Facebook page, join Twitter and any relevant professional networks or communities in your field. Even adding your name to a directory or commenting on a high profile blog can create new content for a prospect employer to find when searching for information on you. You can create a YouTube video of yourself (but make sure it’s industry/job appropriate) or a a full website resume.

3. Be an Expert – In addition to looking for job opportunities, you should be looking for opportunities to put your skills into action. Consider starting a blog, or at least, a guest blog to highlight your field of knowledge. Create an online portfolio of your work with a Flickr account. If you are a marketer, answer questions on LinkedIn pertaining to marketing (this also puts your nameĀ  and business smarts in front of all of your connections.) Participate in message boards and forums that are frequented by prospective employers and be a helpful presence – answer questions, post articles, start discussions, etc. Focus your ‘tweets’ on Twitter to build a following in your field. Share your ideas, best practices, relevant articles and other information that ‘prove’ you are in the know and have up to date skills to share. Post PowerPoint presentations on SlideShare to show off your handiwork.

4. Join the Group – Groups on LinkedIn, Facebook and other platforms offer more opportunities to connect with potential employers and colleagues. When you join a group on LinkedIn, you are often able to direct message members. This can be a direct line of communication to a hiring manager or executive at the firm of your desire.When appropriate, you can also post message to the entire group to help in your job search. In addition to groups, a single connection may be your gateway to the right job opportunity. Leverage individual connections to facilitate introductions to hiring managers.

5. Actively Listen – Don’t just rely on the traditional job boards to find your next position. Set up RSS feeds and Google Alerts to notify you when new jobs have been posted in your field. Check out non-traditional job boards. For example, LinkedIn also has job boards inside group settings where only group members can post job opportunities. If you ‘fan’ a company on Facebook, you might be the first to find out about job openings. Seek out and follow recruiters (professional recruiters and internal hiring managers) on Twitter. Many often post job opportunities on Twitter first before sending out mass communications to their network. In addition, responding via Twitter may separate you from the ‘death by inbox’ syndrome that plunges many resumes into the email abyss.

6. Turn Online Connections Into Offline Connections – Social media offers us opportunities to expand our Dunbar Number (theoretical number of sustainable social relationships that one person can maintain) from 150 to hundreds of thousands. However, when it comes to getting a job, candidates are usually only hired after they’ve met the hiring manager in person. And, influencers still tend to recommend candidates that they know and have met directly. So, take your online relationships offline. Participate in networking events, organize a MeetUp, take a connection out to lunch and ask for informational interviews to get some face-time with potential employers.

Additional Resources:

7 Secrets to Getting Your Next Job Using Social Media (Mashable)

How to Find a Job on Twitter (Mashable)

Finding a Job Using Social Media (SlideShare)

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Dorothy 04.14.09 at 3:48 pm

The 3 websites where job seekers got the best results (from about.com)-

http://www.linkedin.com (networking for professionals)
http://www.indeed.com (aggregated listings)
http://www.realmatch.com (matches you to the perfect jobs)

For those looking for work, good luck!

cwcomment 04.14.09 at 4:08 pm

These are great suggestions. Use the power of small in your job search- every detail in the way that you are represented online really counts. And social media is a great way to build your network- one person at a time. A friend of a friend will always know someone who is hiring.

Marge Fisher 04.16.09 at 9:07 am

These are suggestions that can benefit everyone – not only those looking for a job but also those looking for “passionate” candidates. Finding the right match when there are thousands of candidates for every opening is an enormous challenge. Fortunately social networks provide another tool to demonstrate differentiation and creative approaches to problem solving.

Jody Gavin 04.18.09 at 9:09 pm

This is a great list. To add to point 5: During my most recent job search I started following/friending recruiters, hiring managers and industry experts on sites like Twitter/Facebook. It really helped give me an early edge over the competition. I even got an interview for a job that hadn’t yet been made public due to my twitter conversations.

Rebecca 07.06.09 at 5:24 pm

Hi there. Thanks for a great post. Social media really is playing an ever-increasing role in the job search world. I thought I might also suggest oDesk as an additional resource for those who want to incorporate social media into their job search activities. There are some new features available, including the ability to share your profile and other activities (such as passing tests or taking certifcations) directly with your Facebook contacts. It’s just another way to bring both worlds together and be more successful.

Thanks!

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