Social Media and Job Search: Pay It Forward
At its core, social media is about connections, who you know and who the people you know know, making it a prime platform for job search, where applicants are looking for job openings. The great benefit of using social media for job search is that you can expand your network quickly through friends, colleagues and their contacts. Further, for the quiet and shy, social media outreach helps overcome the dreaded “dialing for dollars” that many outplacement organizations preach, the “please keep me in mind if you hear of anything” emails, and the faceless resume submissions on job boards and company websites.
Before you rush off to complete your LinkedIn profile and/or connect with your college pals on Facebook, take a deep breath and consider what you want to do, not the job title that you had in your last position. If you’re not sure, take some time to assess what you would like to do and what makes you want to go to work everyday. (If you need some help, check some of the references listed below.) As with any good marketing plan, set goals for type of job you want and related strategies and tactics to achieve those objectives. Then position your social media engagement around these goals
7 Ways to use social media to help your job search
To use social media effectively for your job search, understand that social media isn’t about you. It’s about the community and what you can do to add value to the collective whole. Here are seven tips to help you use social media for your job search.
- Become part of a community on Twitter or another more targeted social media platform. Engage with people and companies that you’re interested in. Follow their employees. Retweet and respond to their tweets. Show that you’re interested. This doesn’t mean constantly tweeting “Can I have a job?” or stalking them. Rather, tweet their content and show that you’re interested.
- Connect on LinkedIn. Often considered a job hunter’s ghetto, LinkedIn is useful for meeting like-minded individuals. Don’t just focus on building your posse. Actively engage by sharing links, joining groups and answering questions.
- Learn who your friends are. Become more active on Facebook. Re-connect with people from your past. Of course, this is helpful to do before you need this safety net. Remember people use Facebook in different ways—for some it’s about being social and for others it’s about business, often mixed with social.
- Find out about your target audience. Want to connect with me? Spend some time on my blog and learn about me. Leave a comment to start a dialog. Bear in mind that very few readers take the effort to comment. Therefore, you’ll stand out. Isn’t that what you want to accomplish? Before you scoff at the idea, realize that this would be part of your research if you got that golden opportunity for an interview. Therefore, why not put yourself in a special category to start?
- Join the conversation. Participate in one or more Twitter chats. This is a good way to make contacts with other people. Understand that like other forms of social media, you have to build your relationships over time. Therefore, you may not leave every chat with new leads but you’ll be able to start building new relationships that can help you longer term.
- Get out and meet people. Depending on your area of expertise, find offline meetings where you can get out and connect with people in real life. Meetups are great for this. Also, use real life events to connect with others in your industry such as conferences and other local events.
- Share your knowledge. Start your own blog to support the community around your area of expertise. The benefit is that your content is a strong example of your ability to build a community around your work. (Need help starting a blog? Check the blog-related columns below to get started.)
As with any effective marketing strategy, use a variety of tactics to ensure optimal results because your audience needs to see your message multiple times before it has an impact. The same holds for your job search. Therefore, diversify the channels you use. Remember you still need to show prospective employers that you can do the job. Often, this process starts after you make the initial contact via social media. Further, job search is a journey that moves one step at a time. For many of us, the challenge is that we’re not in control. Remember, for most job seekers, you need to get out from behind your computer screen and engage with real people.
Do you have any other suggestions for job seekers using social media? If so, please add them in the comment section below.
Tip of my hat to #UsGuys member, Ric Dragon, for inspiring this post.
How to start a blog:
- Why About pages matter
- 13 Ways a blog buddy can help your blog
- 7 Points to Create Your Blog’s Personality
- 21 Design Elements Your Blog Needs
- 12 Suggestions to Overcome Blank Blog Post Syndrome
- 12 Ways to Grow Your Blog Audience
Here are some recommended job search blogs:
Photo credit: PeterCastleton vie Flickr