The Relevance of Social Media to Your Job Search

Social Media is a powerful tool, one that can catapult an individual from obscurity to national and even international recognition with only the stroke of a key. The pen is mightier than the sword!

How Is Social Media Relevant to Your Job Search?

Social mediums such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter allow us to reach-out far beyond our normal sphere of social influence to CEOs and decision makers.  Job seekers are able to present themselves in a more relaxed forum than the traditional job interview.  Using social media is a more personal approach, putting a face to a name rather than presenting a name associated with only words on a resume.

Job seekers gain access to hiring managers cutting through layers of bureaucracy bypassing screeners and recruiters.  In fact, the prevalence of social media is changing the traditional recruitment process and how companies hire!

The purpose of social media for the job seeker is to create a public presence outside of the regular candidate pool. It is a tool to increase your ability to influence hiring managers and to get you noticed!

This applies to all job seekers whether you are salaried or hourly, a corporate executive or a shipping clerk, an administrative assistant or a truck driver!

The challenge is to always remain respectful and professional, and not reveal too much about your private persona. On-line profiles offer insight into who the real you might be, your interests and pastimes outside of work. However, where, when and with whom you like to party might not be the best image to project while in a job search!

Social media can also be an instrument of change to sway opinion and thereby influence choices and outcomes. And that is exactly what the job seeker wants, to put yourself ‘out there’ to get noticed, to put you at the top of the candidate queue, and to increase your chances of being hired.

Which Social Media Forum is the Best for Your Job Search depends on your preferred target audience, the image you want to project and how great an audience you want to reach.

Facebook is the largest social medium platform.  Facebook can change your life and give new meaning to your career! Its basic use is to connect friends, family and colleagues to share experiences and life events often including pictures.  You can find classmates, former colleagues and friends of friends with Facebook increasing your audience and your chance of finding a job!
However, Facebook is evolving as a business and professional tool as people start their own businesses, further existing careers or boost a job search. Caution: be careful who you select as your Friends and what you post. Employers are increasingly using Facebook as a background screening tool to find answers to questions not usually asked in a job interview. Who your Friends are and what and how you post reflects on you as a potential hire.

LinkedIn is a professional networking tool.  Image and associations matter. LinkedIn exists to help establish connections with hiring managers and decision makers, and to ‘connect’ with people within a company or industry for which you want to work.  These connections can also help you with the application process and present you to the hiring manager.
Key to LinkedIn is the opportunity to research businesses, connect with former colleagues or others in your field, and to find jobs not posted with job boards. Then you are able to ‘link’ with members you do not know who have job available within their companies or know of opportunities elsewhere.  Having connections is no guarantee you will get the job, but you are able to show your talents and background to those making the decisions.
Make sure your picture presents a professional image. No lampshades or cartoon caricatures on LinkedIn!
LinkedIn has recently gone ‘public’ and now charges a fee for use of some services.  Charging the unemployed a fee for a product which was previously free has drawn criticism from many
in the business sector.

For the job seeker, Twitter is primarily a networking tool.  You can tweet about things going on in your job search, your career if you are working, and to update your status with those in your network.  Messages are short and in real-time which offer easy, quick reading to the recipient and get your message out that you are looking for a job and as the right choice to be hired!
No pictures or long, lengthy posts-only short, sweet and to-the-point!

Tweeting may also be an age determinant- younger job seekers are more apt to tweet than the more mature applicant. Savvy, experienced job seekers can easily learn how to use Twitter and remain competitive in the job market.

Please feel free to comment using your stories on how you landed a job using Social Media.   Share your successes and those strategies that did not quite work!