Leveraging Social Media For Your Career
If you’re one of the 15 million unemployed workers in the U.S., the good news is you have lots of company. The bad news is you have a lot of competition. That’s why smart job hunters are increasingly utilizing social media in their search. Leveraging these networking tools can enhance your chances of finding and keeping your dream job. Here’s a brief summary of some options and strategies.
Social media not only includes the now-familiar sites of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, but also a dizzying array of other sites, blogs, forums, and industry- and interest-related networks. LinkedIn and Twitter are the most popular ‘business’ networking sites, although Facebook can also be useful. HSF has developed social media sites to help you leverage the 50,000 member HSF Alumni Network in your job search, and a career center to make sure your résumé gets in front of our corporate partners. We also have a few specific tips to make your use of social media more effective.
To get started in social networking, you first want to take some time to analyze your career goals, strengths, salary requirements, existing professional networks, etc. Drilling down to the core of who you are and the types of jobs you’re looking for will be important when you begin to build profiles on the various sites. And don’t forget to get a good quality photo of yourself to post on your profiles. Because employers are increasingly checking out prospective employees’ social media profiles, you want to keep them professional; avoid posting potentially embarrassing information or photos.
LinkedIn. The HSF LinkedIn page features job listings, as well as connections to other professionals. In addition to connecting with people you know and viewing profiles of others, you can also search for a specific company on this site. After you’ve built your profile and identified companies you’d like to work for, conduct a search on LinkedIn to find these companies’ job boards or people you might know who work there. LinkedIn itself also has a limited number of job postings. If you have a blog, there’s a new LinkedIn service that automatically uploads your new blog posts to your profile and sends the posts to your connections in weekly updates.
Twitter. HSF regularly posts updates on Twitter about HSF, including new grants, messages from our President/CEO, and tweets from other professionals. This site is most useful for its ability to connect you to people who are involved in activities and organizations that interest you. Once you’ve built your profile on the site, you can find people who are working at jobs or companies of interest and tweet them to introduce yourself and begin a conversation. A tool called Twellow allows you to search people’s bios and URLS on their bios. To make Twitter work you should be proactive in your tweets, mentioning people you’ve met and interviews you’ve had. This’ll keep you and your job search fresh in people’s minds.
Facebook. The HSF Facebook page—a Cheech Marin favorite!—keeps you plugged into current events at HSF and connected to its thousands of friends. Your own friends on Facebook can also be helpful. You can use the “Notes” function—which tends to stay on people’s screens longer than the usual status update—to tell friends about your situation and what type of job or company you’re interested in. Simple messages posted as status updates, such as “Am interviewing today with X company; keep your fingers crossed,” are effective in keeping you top-of-mind with friends.
Social networking can be time-consuming, but if you’re disciplined and use the many time-saving tools on the sites, you’re likely to find a world of folks out there who are happy to help.