Social media is key to a successful job search in 2012 and beyond. And the tools that enable and enhance job search success are plentiful and effective.
Most of the tools are not specifically designed for job search, but they are still important for job seekers to use.
Before you start your job search – with or without the use of social media – be sure that you have identified your target job (not more than 3) and at least 20 potential employers that seem to be places you would like to work.
Benefits of Social Media for Job Search
Social media will aid you in your job search (and long-term in your career) in these three major ways:
1. Methodically expanding your network.
You’ve read it 1000+ times because it is true. Your network is most likely where you will find your next job. A friend, a colleague, a former colleague, a former boss or subordinate will connect you with (or hire you into) your next job. And, if you are smart, your networking won’t stop when you accept that next job offer. It will become an enjoyable habit.
As you climb the corporate ladder, many of your friends and colleagues will also increase their professional status. You will help members of your network, and they will help you, often for many years or throughout your careers.
2. Carefully and purposefully raising your personal profile.
For a successful career in the 21st century, you need to be visible in a positive way that supports your job search and your career. Using the social media venues which are the most comfortable for you, capture your online identity and increase your online visibility.
3. Managing and protecting your online reputation.
This is the least valued but, in my opinion, the most important benefit of social media – preventing mistaken online identity. Since the vast majority of employers Google anyone they are considering hiring, having a solid presence in social media protects you from being confused with someone else with the same name who may have a bad reputation.
The Top 7 Social Media Tools for Job Search
These are my choices for 2012, and I expect them to still be around in 2013, 2014, and later. So, your participation will build a long-term asset for your career. Don’t wait! Start now!
For most professions and in most countries, LinkedIn is the go-to professional network, providing all 3 Social Media Benefits listed above. Have a clear, complete, and keyword rich Profile. Participate often (at least weekly) in appropriate LinkedIn Groups, like Groups which are focused on your location, your profession, your industry, and your college. Check out Answers – ask intelligent questions and provide thoughtful answers. Study your target employers by checking and monitoring their Company Profiles.
LinkedIn is, by far, the most effective social network for Social Media Benefit # 3 – managing and protecting your online reputation – due to the impact of a LinkedIn Profile on Google.
If you only “do” one network, LinkedIn should probably be that one.
Because tweets are so short, it is easy to underestimate their reach and impact. Careful and intelligent use of Twitter easily provides the first 2 Social Media Benefits, as long as you attach your real name to your Twitter account, and tweet regularly on-topic for your professional and networking goals. I have met wonderful people from across the world who have become friends via Twitter, and it has greatly expanded the reach of my professional reputation.
Eh – Amazon? Yes! Amazon offers job seekers and careerists excellent opportunities to grow their professional reputation – Social Media Benefits # 1 and # 2. Amazon offers job seekers the opportunity to create a profile, write reviews, manage lists of books or other products (“Listmania”), make comments on reviews, even publish eBooks (author >> authority). Job seekers should focus on books or other products relevant to their target profession, industry, and/or target employers. Write intelligent, grammatically-correct, thorough, and complete reviews of those books or products, and viola! you are an expert!
If you are comfortable performing, speaking, or teaching – or interested in a career doing any of those 3 things – YouTube.com could be a very useful social network for you. Create your own “channel” and upload on-topic, high quality videos regularly. YouTube is the 2nd most popular search engine in the world (owned by Google, which is the most popular), and it seems to be most effective for raising your personal profile, Social Media Benefit # 2.
BranchOut is a Facebook app for job search. Unlike the other social media, you need to be in an “open job search” – either unemployed or with a clear termination date for your job – to use BranchOut. Given the enormous size of Facebook, BranchOut has the potential of offering all 3 Social Media Benefits, but I have seen it be most effective in Social Media Benefit # 1 – expanding your professional network.
Calling itself “Where ambitious young professionals connect and grow,” Brazen is a network where members establish public profiles, post status updates, and connect with each other. So, it can offer all 3 Social Media Benefits to its membership of young professionals.
If you are comfortable creating Microsoft PowerPoint presentations, SlideShare.com could be the venue for you to raise your visibility – Social Media Benefit # 2.
How to Choose Your Social Networks?
If you are a professional of any age in a job search, focused participation in LinkedIn will have the greatest payoff for you. See Job-Hunt’s free ebooks (3 are about LinkedIn) and the column on LinkedIn for Job Search written by expert Laura Smith-Proulx.
Many other social networks exist that may be leveraged for your job search. Pick the ones you are the most comfortable with and which offer you the greatest number of Benefits. Be sure to pick the ones which respect your privacy as the ones above do (at least right now).
Choose your social networks based on your comfort and enjoyment of those venues, but also to provide you with the greatest number of benefits. If you are full-time in your job search, take the opportunity to build out at least 2 or 3 of these networks. If you are employed, you may take more time and focus on only 1 or 2, but don’t assume that it is a waste of time to build your social network.
With a robust network, you may never need to job search again!
Done carefully, social networking for job search will help you avoid the need to job hunt again. You will just move from opportunity to opportunity, growing and gaining professional opportunities as your network provides them.
© Copyright, 2012, Susan P. Joyce. All rights reserved.
About the author…
Online job search expert Susan P. Joyce has been observing the online job search world and teaching online job search skills since 1995. Susan is a two-time layoff “graduate” who has worked in human resources at Harvard University and in a compensation consulting firm. In 1998, her company, NETability, Inc. purchased Job-Hunt.org, and Susan has been editor and publisher of Job-Hunt since then. Follow Susan on Twitter at @jobhuntorg and on Google+.