With the recent buzz about how companies are using social media applications like Twitter (or not, as the case may be), I started to think about how job seekers might be using social media and networking. I myself use Twitter to keep up with friends, interests and organizations I like, and probably have more memberships to social networking sites than I care to remember half of the time. But, how can these resources be effective for job seekers?
Some of the ways you can use social media to your advantage
Twitter is a great resource (despite it’s frequent “fail whale” down times) for anybody trying to keep up with an organization or company. The basic idea behind Twitter is “What are you doing?”. A simple question asked to it’s users that is answered in 140 characters or less. It can be anything from “Surfing my favorite blogs,” to “Turning in applications and resumes online.” Even job boards are getting in on the trend. The Employment Guide® has several Twitters working on both the national and local levels to keep job seekers updated on job fairs, available jobs, and when new blog posts are available. It’s a quick way to interact with anyone and everyone in your social network, moving information from person to person through conversations. Seek out organizations you’re hoping to get your foot through the door in on Twitter and keep up with their daily updates. It can help you gain valuable insight into the workings of the company, and even tip you off to when jobs are available!
Use social media when looking for job
Of course, social media is all about networking, and applications like Twitter are supplemented by networks like MySpace, Facebook and LinkedIn. These are online communities, off-shoots of the intranets and Friendsters of the world, that connect users through their own network of friends, colleagues, interests and organizations. Each network is a little different, so let’s look at how they can each help you out in your job search. MySpace is a great way to connect with your friends, and in turn get information that only your friends would know. For instance, I once worked for a hospital gift shop and wouldn’t have even known about the position if I hadn’t read about it in one of my friends’ “bulletins”. The emphasis on MySpace is less on professional networking and more on social, so be prepared to make a lot of friends (and gain great leads in the process!). Facebook, while originally intended for use by college students (it started on a college campus, and was initially only available to those enrolled in an accredited college), has recently been opened up to the general population.
This has led to an influx of organizations and companies that are itching to employ those who have furthered their education. Facebook has a unique application builder that has allowed companies to create ways to keep their friends on Facebook up to date on all of their job openings, blog posts, and updates. All of these updates and applications are found on the user’s Facebook homepage, in addition to their friend’s updates. LinkedIn is perhaps the most in depth resource for job seekers already in a position, but perhaps looking to build their networking opportunities. The network connects people through their various professional contacts, allowing them to come into contact with hiring managers and companies all over the world. It gives the user the ability to post resumes, references, contact information, and their reason for being on LinkedIn. There are, of course, a myriad of other social networking sites out there. It’s up to you to decide how to use your network, but with so many choices out there you’re bound to enhance your job search if you use any of them to your advantage!
Some companies, like us, are even creating their own social networks. There are other sites available, like Ning.com, where users can build their own social networks, allowing them to personalize their networking experience. This gives the job seeker a huge advantage. If you can create your own network, inviting the people you want to invite, then you’re able to concentrate exactly what content and information is being networked. It’s a great way to enhance your job search, and get to know more people!
As you can see, there are a lot of ways to get involved in social networking, and almost all of them can help you in your job search. The key is to have a point of reference when joining a network. They’re big and can be a little daunting, so remember your purpose. I’ll see you on the interwebs, but until then you can keep up with us on The Spot Blog’s Official Twitter!