10 Tips for Social Media Job Searches - dummies

10 Tips for Social Media Job Searches

By Joyce Lain Kennedy

Social media and social networking can be a great tool in a job search. Social media is experiencing astonishing, explosive growth. Facebook alone claims 1 billion users worldwide, and Twitter boasts 100 million users across the globe. Social media and social networking can’t be ignored in a world that changes communication models seemingly overnight.

The difference between social media and social networking is observation and interaction. Social media enables social networking. In other words, social media can exist without social networking, but social networking can’t exist without social media.

Spread job search news with caution

When you’re between jobs, keeping people in your network alerted through social media that you’re looking for a particular type of job is a smart move. It’s not so smart when you’re employed — unless you don’t care whether the boss finds out that you’re looking to leave and helps you out the door.

The risk that your employer may get wind of your greener-pastures itch isn’t your only concern. Identity theft and fraud have entered the mix in recent years.

The biggest names in social media websites for job hunters are LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. Newer sites include Google+ and Pinterest. Look critically at each social media site to assess whether you can live with its privacy protections.

Establish yourself as an expert

Use social media to be seen as someone “in the know” about what’s happening in your industry or career field. For example, use your status updates on Twitter to tweet about industry topics, new developments, advice, and anything of interest to people in your line of work.

Find role models and mirror them

Use LinkedIn to identify role model networkers who have the kind of job you want. See which groups they belong to, and join those groups. On the other side of the coin, look at who has viewed your profile and, if appropriate, add viewers to your network.

Send thank-you notes to new connections

Form the habit of sending a quick personal note to every person who accepts your invitation to connect on LinkedIn. Such human touches set the table for the times when you need favors from your connections for introductions, referrals, and news of job opportunities.

Sleuth for useful company research

Many employers, especially large employers, have a presence on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Although their Facebook profile probably is on private status, check it out. Cruise additional social sites for other nuggets of information about a company you hope to join.

Regularly check your social sites

When you’re connected stay on your toes. Don’t let your Twitter feed, LinkedIn updates, and Facebook Wall wither and go stale with inattention. Keep your eyes open for any mention of job openings at companies you like, as well as advice on how to apply for them.

You can send your Facebook contacts direct messages asking about jobs or where they work. Also look on Glassdoor at its “Inside Connections” tool to uncover who you may know at companies through your Facebook friends list that can promote your resume or even secure an interview.

Tweet for quality, not quantity

Regular tweets about interesting news, articles, personnel changes, and tools for your industry raise the balance in your professional standing bank. But sending out too much too often draws down that balance.

By another measure, the vast majority of what you share on Twitter needs to be helpful, relevant information, either retweeting followers or connecting with others. You then have acceptance to ask for help whenever you need it.

Use common sense to avoid rejection

You’ve read plenty of warnings about reputation-management issues, such as the bad judgment of posting photos that show you guzzling alcoholic drinks. Belief issues can be just as damaging to your employment prospects.

While having an online presence is important to your job search, do make sure that anything you post on a social networking site isn’t going to alienate a potential employer.

What do you think would happen if you were being vetted by a recruiter whose client is a big bank and the recruiter came across a blog you wrote about your strong belief that no bank should be too big to fail?

Match social media to your type of job

Opinions differ about which social media sites pay off best for which type of job hunter. Following are impressions, not scientific studies:

  • LinkedIn has been labeled the “suit-and-tie network” that’s useful for finding professional jobs in traditional industries.

  • Facebook is rewarding for jobs in health care, manufacturing and other blue-collar jobs, and seasonal work in delivery services and retailing.

  • Pinterest is a handy hub for spotting jobs in the design and interior decorating fields.

  • Google+ appears to be tilted toward tech jobs.

Never jump from one social networking site to another on a whim. Just as one joke doesn’t make a comedian, one interesting job posting doesn’t make a favorite social site. Study and reflect on your options before you spread your time too thinly, unless you have 48 hours in your day to devote to social networking.

Don’t assume that social is all you need

Alison Doyle, the respected job search guide for About.com, advises balance in your search efforts.

“The reason I’m not recommending you count only on online networking [social media] is that many employers still recruit candidates in what is an old-fashioned way. They expect candidates to apply with a resume and a cover letter via the company website, or on a site where they have posted the job opening,” Doyle says.

“To have a well-rounded job search, you still need to search for jobs and to take the time to apply.”