5 Ways to Effectively use Social Media to Conduct Your Job Search

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In Using Social Media Tools for Recruiting Talent, I discussed how more and more businesses today are using social media tools for attracting and finding the right person to fill a position. This current post will focus on the job seeker. It’s no secret that the last few years has seen unemployment rates rise well above the norm. In fact, recent numbers show that—while things are slowly getting better—many in the market for a job are still struggling to find work. It’s also no longer a secret that in order to effectively market yourself, the use of social media technology is a must. In this blog post, I will discuss just a few of the ways that job seekers can use social media tools to their advantage.LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter are just a few of the main social media sites used by today’s organizations. Candidates that were once far beyond the recruiter’s reach are now right at their fingertips. Why? More and more people are tuning into the power of social media. Chances are, if you’ve been using social media for networking, you’ve already got a ton of contacts and groups. But is that enough? In order to boost your personal marketing power, it’s important to effectively market yourself using the proper tools. While there are plenty of ways to do this, here are five that I strongly recommend.

  • Research the company you want to work for: Researching companies where you might like to work is taking a step in the right direction. Find out as much as you can about the company and ask important questions like:

  • How many years has it been in business?

  • What are the possibilities of advancement within the company?

  • Does the company have a good employee retention record? What kind of benefits does the company offer to its employees?

  • Does the pay scale reflect industry standards?

While some of this information is available through the company’s Web site, much of this information can be found by browsing the various social media sites—LinkedIn in particular. Remember, job seekers who take the time to do a thorough background check on their potential places of employment are not only likely to be happy at their position, but are more likely to be hired as well—coming off in the interview as someone who has “done their homework”.

  • Conduct a people search: Don’t stop at the company itself; find people that currently work there (or have in the past) and reach out to those who you feel could help in your job search. You can also search through corporate groups, pages, and people on Facebook or Twitter. Of course, it can be difficult getting connected with people you don’t know but one simple way is to see what groups they are in and join them yourself. There are also plenty of “people search engines” out there, such as peek you, pipl, and zoominfo—to name a few. Once you find a contact name, try Googling it; you’ll be surprised at what kind of information you can find. Don’t forget to search your former places of employment and get connected to the people there too— the more you connect, the more people you’ll have on your team when you need a reference.

  • Create an online video resume: Do you want to stand out from the crowd? One of the best ways to do that is by creating a video resume. If you do a search for “video resume” on YouTube, it  will give you over 175,000 results. While many video resumes are quite good, there are plenty others that are poorly done—and certainly doesn’t give the individual the “personal marketing collateral” they need. The thing with video resumes is that not a lot of people have made one. This in itself, can work to your advantage and serve as a key differentiator between you and the next candidate.  A good video resume doesn’t have to be a long one—in fact; the shorter the better. Be sure that it explains why you’re the best person for the job and gives viewers a brief background history about you. What’s nice about creating a video resume is that you can do as many takes as you need to before posting it online.

  • Subscribe to blogs and really simple syndication (RSS) feeds: Today, most of us subscribe to blogs or RSS feeds to automatically receive information based on our interests; relying heavily on these sources of information to keep us up-to-date on what’s happening within various industries and companies, as well as what trends are emerging, etc. In the past few years, many of the more popular blogs have integrated job banks into their Web sites—often using free software or hosting services from companies like jobberBase or Job-a-matic. According to the State of the Blogosphere, Technorati alone has indexed over 130 million blogs since 2002—where one can search to find both an individual’s and company’s information. And while Twitter is probably one of the best networking tools in the world, if you use it for your job search, remember that you’ll need to add a blog or social media profile (e.g., LinkedIn) to your entry. No one will hire you based solely on your Twitter profile; they’ll need to have a link from that profile to another site that gives them more information about you.

  • Get recommendations from your (former or current) colleagues:  A good recommendation goes a long way. Contact your former managers and request one (that’s of course if you were in good standing with him/her). Attached to your online profile(s), a recommendation can highlight your strengths, emphasize your accomplishments, and show that you were a valued employee. If you were a manager yourself, getting recommendations from your former employees can also be valuable—highlighting your leadership qualities. Try to stay in touch with people from your past. You never know when you’ll need them.

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