When you’re searching for a job you have to consider any and all available tools which will help you locate employers and, more importantly, get them to notice you. The easiest and most effective way to find a job has always been through your network of friends and acquaintances. These people can help you find out about employment opportunities, and, more importantly, can refer you to companies and individuals who are hiring. The most effective way to leverage your social network is through Social Media tools. These include LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Yahoo to name a few.
This article will help you organize your job search efforts specific to your social network and then effectively use the social media sites to promote yourself and locate job opportunities.
The first step in this process is to understand what you’re trying to accomplish. An easy way to organize your thoughts is to use the following steps;
· Define your Mission (it may be something like “To find a job in my target industry which will use my skills, education and experience within the next 90 days.” Make sure your objective is SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time bound
· Identify your Customers: Typically, these are businesses which can benefit from your contributions to their goals and objectives. You’ll be more effective if you are more specific as to what businesses these are. You can use things such as a geographical area, specific industry, trade group and other criteria which will help you better craft your message.
· Who is your Audience: These are typically hiring managers, personnel managers and recruiters. However, you may also want to think about other individuals who can influence the first group to consider you for employment. This later group includes friends, former co-workers, teachers or employers who can either refer you to a job opportunity or act as a reference for you.
· What is your Medium: Your personal website (if you have one,) Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Yahoo Groups, links on other web sites, email, printed publications (your resume’, cover letters) other mediums such as newsletters of organizations you belong to.
· What is your Message: You have a unique combination of skills, education and, life and work experiences which enable you to contribute to the objectives, goals and success of an organization. You will need to develop a collection of messages which help you describe yourself and your job skills. These will range from a brief description (140 characters for mediums such as Twitter) to an in-depth and comprehensive listing of all your experience, education and job skills (a complete resume’ posted to your LinkedIn profile.)
· What is your Job: To disseminate information about yourself to your audience in order to obtain a job. As described in an earlier article “Job Search Techniques – Using a Systematic Approach to Finding a Job in 90 Days”, this should be a well organized set of activities which you execute every day.
So, once you figure each one of these items out, what do you do next? Very simply, your Job is to execute on the Mission by providing your Message via your Medium to your Audience for the benefit of your Customers.
Here are some suggestions as to how you do this, using several of the popular Social Networking web sites.
· Create an account for yourself and make sure it’s updated with your personal profile. This will include brief summary of your work history and education, a summary statement which highlights your unique talents and skills followed by a detailed description of your work experience and education. The later is essentially your resume’.
· In the Contact Settings of your profile, select “Career opportunities” and “Expertise requests.”
· Post to this every day. Your posts should be updates about what you’re doing (related to work) and what’s going on relative to your job search. This will let your connections know that you’re actively looking for a new position
· Actively search LinkedIn every day for people you can link to and invite them to your network. These can include former classmates from both high school and college, friends you’ve lost contact with, former co-workers and members of LinkedIn Groups you belong to. You can use key search terms such as the name of your schools, the industry you’re interested in, companies you’d like to work for and the area you live in. You’ll find people who you know or who may be interested in the same things you are. The more connections in your network the greater the chance you’ll have of someone referring you to a job opportunity.
· Search for groups using the same terms. Join them so they will see your posts. Post to the group pages. Ask a question or suggest a discussion topic in your posts. Examples include “Describe what you do in exactly 7 words?” and “What was the most helpful technique you used to find your last job?” (This technique works really well with Yahoo groups as well.) You’ll get a lot of responses from this and hence, a lot of exposure.
· Add links to your page to sites which will provide additional background about your skills and experiences. These can include former employer web pages, professional organizations you belong to and activities or hobbies you’re interested in and which you list on your resume.
· Request recommendations from friends, former employers and co-workers and business acquaintances. You can do this by sending out messages requesting a recommendation and letting them know how you plan to use it, posting recommendations to their LinkedIn profile or sending them the text for a recommendation and asking them to post it to your profile.
· Create an account for yourself and make sure it’s updated with your personal profile. This will include summary of your work history and education, and a summary statement which highlights your unique talents and skills.
· Tweet daily, or multiple times a day. Your tweets should include updates about your work and job search activities, but, unlike LinkedIn should also include information which your followers will find interesting or helpful. This can include quotes relevant to your career or field of work and links to web sites your constituents may be interested in.
· Use the same search terms you used in LinkedIn to locate people with similar interests who may be able to help you in your job search. Follow as many people as possible by clicking on the “Follow” button on their profile. When you follow someone they almost automatically will follow you. Set a goal of 25 new follows per day.
· Research how to increase your followers using tools and techniques available within the Twitter community (there’s lots of these.)
· Get your friends and acquaintances to create a Twitter account and to “Re-Tweet” your Tweets (they can do this very simply with a button on the Twitter page.)
· Create an account for yourself and make sure it’s updated with your personal profile (this is known as your “Wall”.) Your profile will include basic information about you, your contact information, a summary of your work history and education, and information about your personal interests, hobbies and activities. You can also post pictures and web links to your profile. Keep in mind that potential employers will likely search for your page so make sure everything you post here is appropriate. You can designate who can see your postings and can create both a public and private profile. A rule of thumb is only post things you’d want your mother to read.
· Post to your Facebook page daily using information similar to what you posted on LinkedIn and Twitter
· Actively search Facebook every day for people you may know and invite them to your network. These can include former classmates from both high school and college, friends you’ve lost contact with and former co-workers. Keep in mind that Facebook is focused more on friends and family. These are the best sources of referrals to job opportunities. As with the other sites, the more connections in your network the greater the chance you’ll have of someone referring you to a job opportunity
· Give to Get: post to other people’s walls (their profile pages) so they’ll be inclined to post to yours. Comment on their postings which will draw them and their connections to your wall. The more you post the greater exposure you’ll have to both your network and the networks of people you know.
· Get creative with your profile pictures: Change them frequently so people will visit your wall.
· Create an account for yourself and fill out your personal profile (this is much more limited than on the other sites.) You can post a picture of yourself if you choose to.
· Post to your Yahoo page daily using information similar to what you posted on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook
· Actively search Yahoo every day for people you may know and invite them to your network. These can include former classmates from both high school and college, friends you’ve lost contact with and former co-workers.
· Search for Yahoo Groups you’d like to belong to. You can use key search terms such as the name of your schools, former employers, the industries you’re interested in, companies you’d like to work for and the area you live in. Many of these groups have job related sub groups which have new job postings daily. Make sure you join both the main group and the jobs sub group.
· Once you’ve joined a Yahoo Group, post to the group page. Ask a question or suggest a discussion topic in your posts. Examples include “Describe what you do in exactly 7 words” and “What was the most helpful technique you used to find your last job?” (This technique works really well with LinkedIn groups as well.) You’ll get lots of responses from this and hence, lots of exposure.
By employing the techniques described in this article, you’ll expose a large number of people to yourself and your job hunting efforts. This will increase the chance of hearing about an employment opportunity through your network or, even better, being referred to a position by one of your friends or acquaintances. This is by far the best way to not only find a job, but to position you ahead of the other applicants.
If you have specific questions or would like to discuss how to use Social Media to find a job in more detail, please feel free to contact me at the following email address:
Thank you for taking the time to read this article. Best of luck with your job search!
Bill Swansen is a Sales and Marketing Executive with thirty years of industry experience. Bill has sold hundreds of millions of dollars worth of products and services to companies ranging from small and medium businesses to Fortune 50 companies. He has written several articles on selling and sales techniques and is now applying these same skills and experiences towards helping recent college graduates find their first career position.
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