Monday, November 7, 2011

Social Media and Job Search for Beginners

You’ve started your job search, your resume has been updated and you’re applying to jobs in person or through job boards. However everyone keeps telling you about this thing called social media and how it can help you in your job search; so you decide to give it a try but where do you start? The following points are from a workshop I created to introduce individuals to Social Media and how it can be utilized as a part of their job search strategy.

How does social media impact job search?

A recent survey by stated that:
• 79% of hiring managers / recruiters review online information about applicants
• 70% said they rejected people based on the information they found
• 89% of companies will use Social Media Networks for recruiting in 2011
• This is an increase of 6% from 2010

What are your options?

There are a number of different social media sites that individuals can use, the three most popular which are connected to job search are Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter

• Has over 800 million active users
• It utilizes personal connections and the average user has 130 friends
• Businesses now use Facebook for advertising and to connect with customers
• Still seen by many as personal and unprofessional but these opinions are changing

Using Facebook to Job Search
• Make use of applications (apps) such as Branch Out or BeKnown that are sponsored by job boards to track vacancies, companies and your network
• Clean up your profile, remove any negative content such as embarrassing photos
• Check your privacy settings, can employers see you
• Follow or ‘Like’ company pages so you can see what they are doing

• Is business focused; seen as the professional version of Facebook
• #1 Social Media tool used by employers - 80% of employers use LinkedIn to find talent
• In essence it is an online resume that potential employers can view
• Incorporates company pages, a built-in job board and groups which consist of industry specialists or individuals with a common interest

Using LinkedIn to Job Search
• Make sure you have a complete profile so that employers can see what you have / can do
• Like any other part of your job search you want to target your audience
• Use groups to connect with your industry and the people within it
• Take the time to share relevant content and opinions

• 140 characters or less
• Twitter has real time relevance, the past stays there
• People are constantly talking about trends, companies, general advice

Using Twitter to Job Search
• Learn the language – ‘hash tag’ ‘retweet’ ‘DM’
• Start slowly and with purpose
• Active participation is essential and add value to the conversation
• While there is some value in retweeting, let people hear what you have to say
• General rule 80% professional 20% personal

Other Sites of Interest
• Google - #1 Search engine in the world
• You Tube - #2 Search engine (owned by Google)
• Quora – Questions, Answers and Advice from industry professionals
• Blogger / Wordpress – Personal websites for individuals that want to share more of their expertise with the world
• – A customized profile / launch site

What Next???

So now that we’ve had a look at what options are available to you, now is the time to pick a site to get started with and set up your profile. We generally recommend the one site to start with, so that you can get comfortable with using the site, seeing how others use the site and so that you are not overwhelmed.

Here are 3 things to keep in mind when using Social Media for job search.

1 – Don’t hide behind the computer – Anonymity is an easy trap to fall into, because no one knows who you are, you can say whatever you want. The problem is, you have to come out from the computer at some point and how you act online will be how employers perceive you.
• Social media will never fully replace face to face meetings such as in person networking and Interviews
• Having a professional looking profile picture shows the employer you are a real person (Simple headshot recommended)
• Your online actions affect how employers perceive you

2 – Present yourself in good light – This involves taking a look at what is currently online about you and taking steps to correct any negatives; for example pictures from parties where you were drunk are not going to impress any employers. It also involves taking the time to check any posts that you make for spelling mistakes, clarity and most importantly the content, updates about your lunch are not going to interest people; however comments related to the work you are interested in will.
• Take steps to correct any negatives such as drunken pictures from parties
• Check updates for spelling mistakes
• Clarity and content are important – updates about your lunch are not going to interest people

3 – Reputations take time – Building an online reputation / brand is going to take time for most people, rushing it can lead to mistakes and a negative reputation, so start out slowly.
• Rushing can lead to mistakes and a negative reputation
• Start out slowly
• Seek advice from experts
• Be part of the conversation

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