When was the last time you looked at your local newspaper’s classified ads section for a job? The actual newspaper, not those same listings on the paper’s Web site. The way people search for jobs has changed tremendously over the last decade. It’s even gone beyond job search sites such as Monster and Career Builder. Many people are using online networking tools to find jobs. If you’re stumped about how to go about this, here are a some tips for using a few of the major social networking sites for your job hunt.
Although it may be difficult to tell, you can do a lot more with Facebook than build a virtual farm or exert peer pressure through copied and pasted status updates in support of troops, fighting cancer, and numerous other causes. A lot of people decry friend lists that include acquaintances, friends of friends, or people you haven’t seen since high school, and didn’t even like back then. But when you’re looking for a job, the more connections you have, the better.
A simple Facebook status update that says you’re looking for a job can put you in touch with people looking to hire, or people who know people looking to hire. Follow the Facebook Pages of businesses in your field on the chance they put out a message about job openings. And if you really want to get fancy, put up a Facebook ad targeted at members related to your career field. When it comes to looking for a job, don’t be shy about using every method available to you. In fact, that’s a good way to demonstrate your ingenuity and go-getter attitude, qualities many companies look for in potential employees.
LinkedIn is probably the next best thing to professional resume writing. It makes it easy for you to display all your skills and experience, and then to connect with other people across all career fields. If you’re looking for a job, let your connections know, either through messages, or via a status update, a feature the site only recently added. You can also follow companies you’d like to work for to receive notifications when they publish job openings. Another great feature on LinkedIn is recommendations, surpassed only by the job listings on the site.
Many companies advertise jobs exclusively on LinkedIn, and even make some of the site’s features requirements for consideration, such as having a complete profile, or having a certain number of recommendations. It behooves you to fill out as much of your profile as possible. And as nice as it is to get unsolicited recommendations from former coworkers or managers, if they’re not pouring in on their own, don’t hesitate to ask for them.
If you haven’t seen the benefit of Twitter yet, and you still think it’s just a way for Ashton Kutcher to feed his attention habit, you’re missing out. A lot of members, both companies and individuals, are finding excellent ways to use the microblogging service, to the point where that description isn’t that apt anymore.
Businesses use Twitter to provide customer service, people use Twitter to market their products, and the really smart ones use it to market themselves. Make full use of your bio. It’s great that you like cupcakes and The Office, but those blurbs aren’t going to help you get a job. Follow companies in your industry, and follow industry leaders. But don’t just walk in and start asking people for jobs. Think of Twitter as a big business event where you’re mingling. Sure, everyone’s there with an ulterior motive, but to simply walk up to someone and ask for a job without so much as an introduction can be seen as a faux pas. Remember the social part of social media, and use Twitter to build relationships that can lead to opportunities.
Meetup offers the best of both worlds. The site allows users to create meetings, or “meetups,” for everything from the local book club, to a wine tasting group, to professional associations. Those are the ones you want to be on the lookout for. There are even job search meetup groups. Meetup will put you in touch with the groups that interest you, and then give you the opportunity to actually meet other members of the group
Communicating with people online is usually immediate, and there are more tools than ever to make it easy for all involved. But there’s still something to be said for meeting someone face to face, and having that personal interaction. You don’t have to dress for a professional meetup as if you’re going to a job interview, but don’t show up in ripped jeans and a T-shirt, either. And if you can’t find a meetup geared toward your industry, start one. You can be the catalyst for bringing members of your field together, and put yourself in touch with people who may be able to help you find a job.
The most important thing to remember when using any online networking tool to find a job is to be aware of the impression you’re making at all times. You may want to avoid tweeting about how hungover you are on Monday morning, or posting those pictures on Facebook from your college reunion where someone broke out the old beer bong. If you think hiring managers and recruiters don’t Google their prospects or check their social networking accounts, you may want to stick with checking your local newspaper.
Leslie Williams is a writer for Jobfox Resumes, the largest resume writing service online. She specializes in using social media to connect to the right job.