Using Social Media in Your Job Search

July 13 2011

Social media is more than just a place to catch up with friends; it can also serve as a useful tool in your job search. Social media is essentially networking with technology, so use it to your advantage. Gain exposure and credibility by getting your name and experience out there for all to see. Here are a few suggestions to get you started, along with some helpful tips:

LinkedIn (www.LinkedIn.com)
LinkedIn is the obvious place for job searchers to start. LinkedIn has a great reputation for connecting individuals on a professional level. When using LinkedIn, be sure to use a professional picture, completely fill out your information and job history, and get recommendations. LinkedIn is great about guiding you through completing your profile and finding contacts. You can only connect with contacts that you have worked with, done business with, or that are in your “network.” It helps to connect with anyone and everyone you know professionally and personally. This opens you up to a larger network. A little trick to expanding your network: connect with political figures and high-level executives since their network is larger than most. LinkedIn also allows you to apply for jobs right from their website, which will link employers back to your impressive LinkedIn profile.

Facebook (www.facebook.com)
Facebook can work for you AND against you. The first thing you should do when starting your job search is make sure your profile privacy settings are set to “private.” Do not allow people who are not your “friend” to see your wall, information, or pictures. Your profile picture will still be seen, so make sure it is not offensive. Many employers look at Facebook pages to find out more about candidates.

Facebook recently started offering an application that is similar to LinkedIn called BranchOut (http://www.facebook.com/BranchOutApp). It’s still fairly new, so there are a few kinks they have to work out, but it’s a more professional way to use Facebook. BranchOut allows you to create a professional profile with your job history and recommendations. You can search for jobs and see which of your connections have an “in.”

InTheDoor.com (www.inthedoor.com)
You must use your Facebook login information to use this website. InTheDoor.com takes your Facebook connections and links them with jobs available on Indeed.com, then shows you what jobs are available and which of your Facebook friends have a connection to the company. There are many search options to filter results. This is a great way to connect the dots and use your current connections to get ahead.

WordPress (www.wordpress.com)
Blogging is a great way to show your knowledge in a particular area. Start a blog, then post on your topic of expertise everyday. The blog will quickly build a library of knowledge to share to potential employers. You have to be careful, stay professional, and know that everything you say can and will be used against you, so it is important to keep your comments and opinions neutral. WordPress can also be used to post your resume and build your own website to showcase your experience. It is a great tool to show your individuality.

 Twitter (www.twitter.com)
Like Facebook, Twitter can help AND hurt you. It’s so easy to say something that may hurt your reputation, so only use Twitter if your tweets are appropriate. If your tweets are harmless, Twitter is a great way to get into a company. You can follow companies and people that you are interested in working for. Companies often post jobs on Twitter and share insider information. You can search Twitter for other people who share your interests or job field, then follow them for good information on job leads. You should try to build you number of followers to build credibility, so start by following others, tweeting often, and promoting your Twitter page on your other social networking pages like LinkedIn and Facebook. Make sure you follow us: @QuitOrNot (http://twitter.com/#!/QuitOrNot)

YouTube (www.YouTube.com)
One unique way to get an employer’s attention is to create a YouTube video resume. This is an opportunity to show employers your personality and get a taste for who you are as a professional.

Here is an example of a YouTube video resume: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D411EyRiyU8  

It’s okay to have a script and cue cards to help guide you through; visuals also help make your video more catchy. Once you determine which social media outlets fit your needs best, add links to your resume. These links fit nicely at the top of your resume near your address and contact information. Make sure you share what you worked so hard on developing. Visit your social networking sites often and stay up-to-date on what is happening with your connections to make the most of your networking opportunities. Thanks and tweet you later!

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