Social Media has permeated just about every facet of our lives these days so it’s no surprise that its entered the workplace in many forms. Over the next few weeks or so I’ll be examining a few angles of how social media has changed not only how we do our work but how it can be used to help us find work when we are looking for it. Job searching is tough at the best of times. Sometimes it’s downright maddening. Applying for positions, interviewing, making contacts. It’s not easy nor is it fun. Often job seekers are looking for any bit of edge to get ahead and land the golden prize, a great job. Social media now offers job seekers another means by which to do so.
The internet as a whole is a great resource really for anyone looking for a job. At your fingertips and just a few clicks away is a tonne of resources. You may be using the internet job boards to help you find work and apply for positions you are interested. You may also have a job interview coming up so you’ve made your way over to the company’s website to find out more about what they do and how they do it. Or if you are really resourceful, you’ve started researching companies you may want to work for but don’t have a job posted.
A January 2009 article I pulled off Mashable by Dan Schawbel offers a number of great tips on how to maximize and use social media to enhance your job search. He is the author of Me 2.0: Build a Powerful Brand to Achieve Career Success, and owner of the award winning Personal Branding Blog. He notes you should conduct something called a 3 step people search. “Social media has broken down barriers, to a point where you can message someone you aren’t friends with and don’t have contact information for, without any hassles.”
A key part of any use of social media then is that it offers you the chance to build or at least start to build relationships with people who work for or might work for a company you want to work for. Be careful how you do it and be sure that you have researched the company. Tailor your message to that person and their company specifically. Don’t just spam them with general messages.
Some people may find it hard to cold call people directly or approach them at an event or in their place of work. Social media now gives them another route to go. Twitter and LinkedIn are two social media apps that are particularly effective in building relationships and networking with other professionals.
Schawbel notes that “by conducting Twitter searches, following recruiters on your account and using the “@” sign to communicate with them on occasion, you will start to learn a lot about them and their companies.” This is a great point since Twitter is all the rage these days, it’s free to sign up and a great way to keep with the latest news and gossip about a company. Since companies are using their twitter feed as an important way to launch tips and tricks about themselves, you’ll be right up to date with what they are up to. Many companies also ask that employees use social media as part of their daily jobs and its often a requirement now on job applications and you are quizzed on it when you go for an interview.
Learning to use Twitter for this purpose means that you’ll be one step ahead of the game when you land that job. You could also be asked to manage a company’s Twitter account or build an online profile and relationships with its customers.
LinkedIn is another social media application that can be used for networking purposes. Linked In is more of a professional network used by job searchers and really anyone who wants to connect with anyone online be it employers or contacts.
Recruiters are often using LinkedIn as a primary means to source candidates for roles they may be looking to fill. Schawbel notes that “many people don’t use LinkedIn to the best of their ability and fail to complete their entire profile, such that it says “100% complete.”
I don’t agree with this as there are certain aspects of my profile that I won’t complete online. I haven’t put birthday, marital status or address on such a site. This is a professional site for me and I don’t want to divulge such information. I have left my cell phone as a means by which to contact me for professional purposes or people can send me a message.
I’ve used the site to add past colleagues, friend and family as well people I’ve met via networking events. This isn’t to say you shouldn’t use LinkedIn for this, quite the contrary. It just means you may have to work a little harder to get to that point.
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