Mainstream media, some of your peers and social media itself may have you believe that anyone can find a job through social networking, just by embracing the medium wholeheartedly. Whilst enthusiasm is a benefit, it needs to be combined with a degree of wisdom if social media is to work as a useful job searching tool for you. Getting a job through social media is not as easy as it may seem, but if you use this phenomenon wisely, it is possible to enhance your job search with it. Here are five ways for the online job seeker to be wise:
1) Clean up your online reputation
Carefully crafting specific tweets, Facebook updates and LinkedIn discussions targeted at potential employers is great, but keep in mind that employers can see all your status updates, photos, videos and groups, not just the ones you particularly want them to see.
Unless you lock your social networking profiles, potential employers can view them even if you don’t initially contact them through one of these sites. They can just Google your name and some of the first results shown will be for your social networking profiles. So if you want a new job, it’s time to anything inappropriate from your profiles and to make all your online contributions professional.
That said, it’s just as possible to make a positive impression on a social network as it is to leave a negative one. If you’re looking for a new job in publishing because you’re interested in books and printing, be sure to actually list these as your interests so potential employers can see how you’d fit into the industry.
2) Look in the right places
As open and accessible as social media is, possible new bosses aren’t going to come running to you as soon as you announce you’re looking for a job. You’ll have to seek them out, because it’s unlikely that they’ll actively seek you out. Twitter has an array of applications that can help you find potential employers and useful contacts. Directories like Twellow aid users in seeking out people in particular fields; keyword trackers such as Monitter highlight who’s using terms specific to your industry; and you can use apps like Twitscoop to track trends and events related to the type of work you’re interested in.
On both Facebook and LinkedIn you can join groups discussing your targeted career areas, with the latter additionally possessing a Q&A function where you ask and answer the questions that will draw you into a network of potentially useful contacts. For a more comprehensive set of tips on how to harness LinkedIn for your job search read this eBook: 125 LinkedIn Job Search Tips.
3) Communicate with the right people
Communicating with potentially useful contacts is about more than just asking them if know of any job vacancies. It’s vital to spend time building up an online relationship with the relevant players so that even if they can’t immediately think of anything that would suit you, they’ll remember you if something comes up further along the line. By all means speak with people about your job hunt, skills set and ideal industry; just be sure not to make it all about you.
What defines a relationship, both offline and online, is that it works both ways. Respond to your contacts’ online requests for help and contribute to the discussions started by them. Not only does it show that you’re willing to give as well as take, but it also demonstrates your expert knowledge of their particular industry or field.
4) Be open to learning
As important as it is to showcase both interest in and knowledge of your chosen industry, it’s just as important to show that you’re eager to learn and to build up your skills. Ask industry players for advice on your job search, use group discussions to get clear on things you’re unsure of, and read others’ conversations and discussions. You can also use social media to build up your experience and skill set offline.
Even if a contact doesn’t know of any paid positions for you, you can press them for information on volunteering or work experience opportunities. If you’re actually aiming to gain some voluntary work experience before finding a paid job, connect with the voluntary sector experts who can sort you out with opportunities suited to your desired career path.
5) Don’t limit yourself
Social media is a useful job search tool, but it shouldn’t be your only job search tool. Combine it with both offline and other online strategies like looking at relevant organisations’ websites, going to industry events and making use of your existing contacts.
About the Author:
Nisa Chitakasem, is the co-founder of Position Ignition – a career consultancy dedicated to helping professionals with their career change, job search, career choices and career direction.