Basics of Social Media for Job Searches - dummies

Basics of Social Media for Job Searches

By Joyce Lain Kennedy

The dominant social sites for finding jobs are making news with views, as the sum of each site’s user base explodes to six, even eight zeros. At least one site has more than a billion users and is still growing.

Because the exact numbers of users and other facts about social channels continue to change faster than greased lightening, hop online when you want definitive user statistics, target audiences, and site ownership data.


LinkedIn (LI) is the career-oriented service that makes it easy to connect with people you know who can help you find professional and managerial jobs. It’s the website of choice by professionals, colleagues, recruiters, alumni, industry organizations, and corporations. LinkedIn is free or a fee, depending on your level of membership.

You can see profiles of other people on LI and connect with them in several ways. Among LI’s many rich features for social search, targeting a specific company is easy. You may be able to find people who are connected to or inside the companies you select. Check out the following approach to benefit from LI connectivity:

Dear Jackson Harvey: A public relations job is coming open at the American Wildlife Federation, where your LI profile says you work in fundraising. I have an intense interest in the Federation’s admirable work with animals.

As a fellow alum of UCSD, any help you can give me will be enormously appreciated. my LI profile summarizes my relevant background.

Sincerely, Martha Price, Class of ’08

P.S. Will the selection for the PR post be made by the public relations director, by the executive director, or by a committee? Hopefully I can apply before the floodgates open.

You can also ask your connection to move you forward to a company’s hiring authority or to its human resources department.


The planet’s biggest social media site ever, Facebook is for friends, family, and either people you know currently or ones from your past you want to get back in touch with. Facebook is also a favorite social conduit for small businesses and entrepreneurs.

The service is free. You can send messages for job help, such as this one:

Hey Cliff! Need your help to get a job. I’m moving to Tucson. Didn’t you tell me your uncle Mario in Tucson owns a construction company? Can you get me a meet with him anytime after June 1? Banks of thanks. Sam Nash

Graph Search, a search engine launched in 2013, is Facebook’s newest feature. Early reviewers say Graph makes it easier to find contacts in companies by allowing users to comb their groups of friends for business connections.

A New York Times review observes that Graph Search changes the nature of Facebook in a way that’s good for job seekers: “It converts it from a virtual coffeehouse, where you come to hang out with people you know, into a zone of discovery. For the first time, the vast universe of your non-friends feels as real and accessible . . . as your little galaxy of friends.”


What most job searchers like best about this free public forum is that Twitter allows you to contact people you haven’t met but want to network with. This benefit assumes that you can say what you need to say in a 140-character message.

You make your first connecting move by sending a message (a “tweet”) to someone with whom you share a common interest. Your tweet says that you’re now following the tweeted one. (In other words, you’re reading the person’s tweets.) The tweeted one may — or may not— want to “follow” you back.

What you gain from using Twitter — and its offshoot programs like Twellow — is a real-time ability to stay current in your field and find out about available jobs. You can reach out with a tweet that more or less says you need a hand:

Hi Tom, I’m a new grad now, hockey teammate. Hoping to land a job in smartphone sales. Can you refer me to anyone? Herb Hops

Twitter is instant, to the point, and used heavily by a relatively young audience.

More sizzling social sites

Search giant Google+, technology favorite’s Open Web, video-sharing YouTube, and a number of other sites are among the American ranks of social channels that you can morph into employment channels.

This guide spotlights job search letters and other career messages — not the specific and ever-changing details of navigating social media websites. Please visit each website you want to use for up-to-date and specific ways to light its fire.