Using Social Media in the Job Search

Using Social in Your Job Search

Looking for a job is a project. Like any project, it is composed of discrete tasks that should complement each other and contribute to the whole. The project advances in stages, the goal is the right job and the job-seeking project manager needs to marshal all available resources in aid of that goal.

Self-knowledge

A job search begins with an honest look at yourself. To help focus the search, assess your skills and experience along with your wishes and hopes. An honest assessment makes for a more genuine and compelling candidate down the road.

Research

Job seekers need to know their options. Once you have a list of possible employers, that list can be narrowed by geography, type of company, reputation, size or any variable that matters to you. The more you know, the better you will be able to target your search and the more you will be able to present yourself as a thoughtful applicant who has taken the trouble to get to know the field and the specific employer.

The new job search is about relationships. Make the most of social media to enhance your digital presence.

Networking

Networking has always been a key to the job search. In the past, networking involved friends, family and colleagues, but today’s job search adds web-based social networks. Sites like LinkedIn and Facebook, some of which offer tools tailored to the job search, allow users to establish networks and to keep those networks alive and growing. An on-line contact may know of an opportunity that has not hit the open market, giving you a head start, or he may simply know the right person to approach at a given company.

Documentation: Resume, Cover Letter and More

For better or worse, the job search revolves around paperwork, with personal contact waiting until the applicant has already jumped over a few hurdles. Employers do their initial screening based solely on the papers in front of them. For that reason, your resume and cover letter must make your strongest possible case. In essence, these pieces of paper are marketing tools. They can persuade an employer that you deserve the job or, at their worst, they can sabotage an application. Regardless of any other tactics you employ, your paperwork deserves all the time and effort you can muster.

Job Search Activity

Hoping for the best is not a strategy. Waiting for the right opportunity to appear in the want ads is not a tactic. Since job openings exist before they are advertised, there are ways to take advantage of this hidden market. Grow your network and keep it active. Narrow the field of possible employers and consider “cold” contact with the company, with an emphasis on what’s in it for them and the benefits you bring to the table. Nothing is lost by being an active participant in your own project.

Using Social Media in the Job Search
Social media have arrived. Once seen as “the coming thing,” they are now ingrained in daily life as accepted ways to interact with other people. In the job search, they facilitate one key strategy that is universally lauded by career experts: the power of networking.

Until recently, networking meant enlisting friends and family, joining professional organizations, attending special networking events and keeping in touch with colleagues, fellow alumni and virtually anyone you knew in almost any capacity. In the real world, this can involve a great deal of time-consuming work and the process can be painful for those who are not born extroverts.

Networking is much easier on the web, where you can extend your reach with just a few clicks, but not all social media are created equal.

Facebook
Facebook is certainly a giant among its social peers, but it is not often thought of as a place to connect professionally, especially given the notoriety of the occasional user whose prospects were damaged by posting inappropriate material. Facebook can be useful, though, especially for those who take some care and who can accept some blurring of their personal and professional lives.

LinkedIn
LinkedIn has much more of a business orientation and has gone out of its way to make itself a resource for career development. In fact, the company recently disclosed that most of its revenue comes from hiring sources. Companies can post job openings directly to the site and users can take advantage of a number of job-specific tools, including JobsInsider. That tool collects company information from several employment sites and delivers the names of people at that company who are in your LinkedIn network.

Twitter
A hybrid social network and messaging service, Twitter is being used by companies for recruitment and job posting. Users can search job listings and a variety of services allow users to match their skills, interests and locations to specific offerings and to connect with Facebook and LinkedIn contacts.

Others
There are many more social sites worth investigating, including Ning, KOLA and MySpace, each of which brings a different approach to social job search.

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