As a member of Career Collective–a community of resume writers and career coaches, this article is one of many responses to Quintessential Careers “Job Action Day”. I encourage you to visit other members’ responses, which will be linked at the end of my article on November 2nd. Please follow our hashtag on Twitter: #careercollective.
Challenging times call for new ideas and new ways. The classic job search of newspaper job classifieds and resumes sent through the postal system seems like a lifetime away.
Today’s enlightened jobseeker is “connected” to people on Linkedin, is “tweeting” on Twitter, joins industry groups on Facebook, comments on industry blogs and is constantly forming relationships through these forms of social media to get access to information that frequently is not even yet listed in newspapers or job boards.
All very fine and good to say, but for the novice this can feel like a different language and a whole new world and jobseekers are often confused. Why is it done? How do you go about it? What is the point of it all?
The Point of it all
The point of getting involved in social media is to be exposed to people who know something you do not and find out information on jobs and hiring that is not readily available through bulletin boards and newspaper classifieds. Can you imagine how helpful it would be to see a person casually remark on Twitter something like this? “Looks like the network administration job is finally going to be advertised. Thank goodness. Things have been a mess here for ages”
How handy would it be to pop off a private message to your “follower” to ask where that job may be? Yes, that company may advertise, but being first with that knowledge coupled with some detective work on your part in looking up contact details and company addresses, and your resume can be emailed before the job advertisement has been published.
Why is it done?
Being the first to find out information gives you a decided advantage in these challenging times where numerous people are vying for the same job as you. If you can be emailing and tailoring your resume to fit the company before anyone even knows about it, you may find yourself the only candidate.
We will start with LinkedIn.
What is LinkedIn? LinkedIn is a site for business people where you can reconnect with people from past jobs, search for people you would like to get to know, pose questions on industry-specific forums and use your knowledge and expertise to respond to questions from others. This allows you to become known as a subject matter expert and will elevate your profile which in turn may get the attention of hiring authorities and decision makers. Signing up to LinkedIn is straightforward, requiring only your name, email and a password for logging in later from this link. Once you have done that, you can start by creating your profile: adding in where you have worked, dates, education and so on. When your profile is created, start looking for past colleagues and people you know. You’ll be surprised how many you find. Feel free to play around on Linkedin. You can’t “break” anything and the best way to get to know something is to use it. You will find ways to send direct private messages to catch up with old friends and ways to become active. Recommended reading: Jason Alba has created a great DVD of webinars on ways of optimising your presence on linked in. You may want to read more about it here.
You may have heard about Twitter. People call it a micro-blogging platform. Simply it is a way to make friends and connections in a way that is short, concise, fun and informative. Now you may have heard some people scoff saying “Why do I want to know what people are eating for breakfast?” as if that is all anyone does on Twitter! Finding out what people are eating is not what today’s enlightened jobseeker has in mind! Job search can be vastly enhanced by gaining access to a vast array of experts in their fields–from recruiters to resume writers and coaches, through to hiring managers and business owners. You can seek these people out by searching for key words such as jobs, recruitment, recruiters, hiring managers, HR and industry-specific words and phrases. Once you find these professionals you can be exposed to volumes of interesting information and in many cases see jobs that are being advertised that you may not have otherwise been exposed.
The key to building relationships on Twitter is being friendly and open. Never cause fights, don’t argue, don’t be rude or discourteous, and while others may swear or say off-colour things, as a job seeker this is the last thing you want to do.
Signing up to Twitter is simple. Click here to create a username and password, add your email and that’s it! Next go to find people here and you can look for friends or people you know. Following people means that you are “subscribed” to what they say. So whenever one of the people you follow makes a statement or asks a question (that’s called a “tweet”) you will see it on your Twitter area in your web browser. Sending a tweet is easy too, you just write something that is no longer than 140 letters in the Twitter box marked “What are you doing?
The way you can search for words or items of interest, is to click on “search” and look for a word preceded by what is called a hashtag which looks like this: #
So if you’re looking for the word jobs, type #jobs in the search field. Also look for #recruiters #recruit #hiring #jobseekers #jobsearch #hiring and any other related search criteria. You will never know what information you find that could be the beginnings of a new job for you. (You don’t have to use the web browser to use Twitter either. There are a lot of different software applications for accessing Twitter too including some for your mobile telephone. Just “Google” Twitter applications and search away for what suits you).
Blogs are another way for today’s enlightened jobseeker to elevate his or her profile and get noticed in a specific industry or sector. The easiest way is to visit corporate or business blogs and read information or articles. Most blogs have a comment feature below each article where you can respond to what you have read and include your name, website (if you don’t have a website you can use your Twitter address) and make a brief comment. You can add to the conversation by providing information not given in the article that will show you as an expert, or you can re-affirm the blogger’s words in a positive manner. Never be a troublemaker or disagree rudely in a public forum. Potential employers could be watching!
Another way blogs can build your profile as an expert in your field, is if you create your own blog. Blogger is probably the easiest place to start if you are a novice and like LinkedIn and Twitter it is free and easy to use.
Make your blog specifically about your area of expertise. For instance, if you are a network administrator you may want to talk about problems you’ve resolved, equipment recommendations and special tweaks you have developed. You can also include a download link to the PDF version of your resume to make it more of a work portfolio. Search engines index Blogger blogs quickly so hiring managers can have the opportunity to “google” your name and find your blog, your Twitter service and your LinkedIn profile–all showing you “on brand” as a person who understands and is savvy to the value of social networking.
Words of caution:
- Never say anything or upload any picture that you wouldn’t want your grandma or your next employer to read or see. The internet is forever. Don’t ever forget it!
- Don’t exploit people by pushing for information when you haven’t established a relationship (or really even when you have).
- Don’t repeat your own needs ad nauseam. If you follow recruiters on Twitter be respectful and don’t push for jobs. You’ll find yourself unpopular and blocked from receiving information in no time.
There is a whole new world out there for the savvy jobseeker and information is the key. Today professionals provide information and insight that you would otherwise never receive without significant resources at your disposal. Use these free and powerful tools wisely as only an enlightened jobseeker should!
Check out other articles by Career Collective members on today’s jobseeking trends including green jobs, entrepreneurship, cutting-edge job search techniques and more.
Meg Montford: Job Action Day: Finding Your “Mojo” After Layoff
Heather Mundell: Green Jobs – What They Are and How to Find Them
Erin Kennedy: Cutting Edge Job Search Blueprint
Hannah Morgan: Career Sherpa Why Our Job Search Advice is the Same but Different
Heather R. Huhman, Take Action: 10 Steps for Landing an Entry-Level Job
Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter: You Can Thrive In, Not Just Survive, an Economic Slogging
Rosalind Joffe: Preparedness: It’s Not Just for Boyscouts
Rosa E. Vargas: Are You Evolving Into The On-Demand Professional of Tomorrow?
Dawn Bugni: Your network IS your net worth
Miriam Salpeter: Optimize your job hunt for today’s economy
GL Hoffman: The Life of An Entrepreneur: Is It for You?
Katharine Hansen: Job Action Day 09: His Resume Savvy Helped New Career Rise from Layoff Ashes
Martin Buckland: Job Search–The Key to Securing Your Future Career.
Chandlee Bryan: Where the Green Jobs Are
Barbara Safani: Where the Jobs Are 2009 and Beyond
J.T. O’Donnell: Actions that got people jobs in this recession