Social media is pretty empowering to you as a job seeker. Think about it. Thanks to Facebook and corporate blogs, you can gather all kinds of research about companies to determine which positions you really want to pursue. LinkedIn allows you to see how you may be connected to people who work at your dream companies.
If someone you know directly happens to know someone at one of those organizations, you can ask for an introduction to that contact. When you get it, boom! You now have a relationship with someone who, as long as you nurture that relationship, can provide you with some real insight into XYZ Company.
Clearly, social media can be a job hunter’s best friend — if you have a game plan for using it properly in your search for work. Here’s how to conduct a proactive job search using the various social media tools at your disposal:
Find companies (as well as people and opportunities) you want to target.
If you want the best results, you need to be very specific about what you’re targeting in your search, whether that’s a company or even a particular position at a company. You also need to know who in those companies you should be networking with. Fortunately, social media makes it easy to hone in on your target company and identify potential decision makers.
Get to know what the company and/or contact cares about and considers to be relevant.
Have you ever watched a good spy movie? The agent profiles his asset so he can understand what makes him tick. That’s what you need to do in order to get noticed by very busy hiring managers in a very competitive job market. Start reading up on industry news, follow the company’s various social media sites, and understand where you can add value.
Track down someone who’s willing to give you time for an informational interview.
Just doing web research on the needs of your target audience isn’t enough. You really do need to talk with other, low-stakes people at a target company. Use your network to bring your conversations offline. Talk to real people over coffee about what working there is really like or set up time to converse on the phone. Ask them what about working for the company keeps them up at night.
After you meet these info interview sources, add them to your social media networks (if they aren’t there already). Doing so brings you one step closer to getting connected with a decision maker.
Start interacting with people who have the power to hire you.
The people who are going to be making a decision about hiring you are hanging out online. Now that you’re armed with great information, you can reach out to them directly online and be confident in your ability to make a good impression.
When you’re reaching out to hiring managers, you still don’t know whether you’re a fit for the organization. So don’t say, “I know I’d be a great fit for this job.” Such a statement may easily turn off someone with the power to hire you. You’re still in the process of gathering information, so just focus on making your interactions professional.