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On this page: Marci Reynolds explains how using social media can improve a job seekers skills.

3 Ways Job Seekers Can Use Social Media to Keep Skills Up to Date

While you are in job search mode, it is very important that you keep your skills and knowledge up to date. This will boost your confidence, improve your interview effectiveness and ultimately improve your job performance once you find something new.

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Technology and trends are changing so fast, so it is sometimes hard to keep up. Luckily for all of us, there’s social media to the rescue!

Here are 3 ways you can use social media to keep your skills current while in transition or actively searching for a new job.

1.) Follow Industry Experts and Thought Leaders on Twitter

By following and reading the tweets posted by experts and thought leaders in your industry or profession, you will get access to information that will help to keep your skills current. This includes links to relevant blogs, videos, articles, webinars and training. You may also get book recommendations, notifications of upcoming seminars and tips on who else to follow on Twitter.

There are a number of tools available, to help you locate the experts and leaders in your industry and profession:

2.) Read and Subscribe to the Top Bloggers for Your Industry, 350 Million People Can’t Be Wrong

The most recent stats published by Technorati and comScore, show that there are close to 140 million indexed blogs, close to 350 million blog readers and 900,000 individual blog posts created within a single 24-hour period. Wow!

Find the top bloggers for your industry or profession and begin reading their blog posts on a regular basis. To find them, search the Technorati.com or Google Blog Search databases, or use a search engine and simply enter "top bloggers for [your industry or profession]."

Once you find the blogs, you can sign up for an RSS or email delivery and be notified automatically whenever a new blog post is published.

3.) Participate in LinkedIn or Facebook Groups

LinkedIn and Facebook Groups are online communities of internet users that have common interests, affiliations, professions and goals. For example, there are groups for technical, human resources, sales, ecommerce and marketing professionals. In addition, there are groups for almost every college alumni group.

To locate an appropriate LinkedIn group for your job search, go to the top right of your LinkedIn home page, and search the LinkedIn Groups database by topic. To locate an appropriate Facebook group, go to the search page, click on Groups and enter keywords appropriate for your group. Then, choose "join group" from the search results.

Once you join a group you will have access to the group members and their online discussions and news stories. Similar to how reading Tweets can help keep your skills current, participating in group discussions and reading posted news stories, will expose you to valuable information.

Unfortunately, there are some groups that have a lot of spam and self promotion mixed in with the great information, but not all groups have this problem.

Bottom Line

While you are in job search mode, it is very important that you keep your skills and knowledge up to date. As mentioned earlier, this will boost your confidence, improve your interview effectiveness and ultimately improve your job performance once you find something new.

Using social media tools is an excellent way for job seekers to keep their skills and knowledge up to date.