03 Feb 2009
Most people know that the best way to find a job is through networking. You can go to networking meetings, tap into your own personal network, or ask friends who they know. With the Internet buzzing with social media, there are similarly many ways to use social media in order to network, and eventually find a job. According to an article in DMNews, Jeremiah Owyang from Forrester Research agrees that social networks allow all parties involved to better search for and reach their target: “Instead of having a broad, over-arching resume, these tools let people connect over detailed experiences…”
I decided to write down my thoughts on the topic. I also had an opportunity to talk to Warren Sukernek (@warrenss) who found his job at Radian6 through Twitter! He gave me lots of great advice in this area, so I’ve incorporated his thoughts below.
If you’re not already on LinkedIn, you definitely need to be. Basically, it’s a site that allows you to connect to people you know. It also allows you to see profiles of anyone else on LinkedIn, and gives you ways to connect to them. There are a few ways you can use LinkedIn in a job search:
- Company search – One of the best ways to use LinkedIn is if you have a very specific company you are interested in. You search on that company, and hopefully find people who are connected to other people you know. Then, you can ask your personal contact to connect you. Or, if you pay $30/month, you have the opportunity to email people who you don’t have a contact in common with.
- Job postings – LinkedIn allows employers to post jobs on the site. The jobs are usually high quality, professional jobs.
- Email – When I was first laid off, I sent a large email to everyone in my LinkedIn network, letting them know of my situation, and asking for any help or people they could put me in touch with them.
- Blog Link – LinkedIn now gives you the ability to link your blog post to your profile. So every time I post a new blog post, it updates on my profile, so anyone looking at my profile will see what I’m writing about. It also includes the updated post in the weekly update emails that go out to your connections.
- Twitter Link – Similar to Blog Link, LinkedIn also pulls your conversations from Twitter. So, anyone who is not on Twitter, can see what you are tweeting about.
- Recommendations – Warren suggested getting many more recommendations on my profile. (I currently have two, and am nagging a third to write one!) The idea is to get recommendations not necessarily for jobs, but from more casual interactions. For example, Twitter. Someone could write that you provide information and have insightful things to say. Or, someone you’ve networked with, could say that they have interacted with you on a number of occasions and you were always professional.
- Status updates – Similar to Facebook, LinkedIn also has status updates. Warren suggests that it’s a good idea to update your status, to better inform your connections what you’ve been up to. I previously didn’t update my status often at all! I now plan on updating it more frequently, but also updating it with a link to each new blog post.
- Headline- LinkedIn gives you a place to add a professional headline. I didn’t realize that was really seen by anyone, so I had mine as “Consultant”. Warren’s advice is to make the more exciting and enticing. Mine now reads “Innovative marketer with a drive for results.”
The best part of Twitter is that it allows you to connect with people you don’t know, based on common interests. What a great way to do some networking! I wrote about my thoughts on using Twitter for a job search tool in “How and why I use Twitter – Part 2“, so I’ll repeat a bit of that, and add some more.
- Basic networking – I am now much more connected to people who are involved in areas I’m interested in. Today I heard about jobs available at two companies. I tweeted two people I met on Twitter, and in minutes I had some information about the jobs.
- Job postings – I am connected to a few people who know about jobs that I would not have otherwise known, i.e. @socialmediajob or other recruiters
- Connecting – When someone follows me or I follow them, I read their bio thoroughly. If it looks like they work somewhere I might be interested in, or if I think they might be someone who could connect me to others, I get in touch with them. A few have said no or not responded at all, but for the most part, everyone is very open to meeting or talking.
- Sidebar story… I have been interested in Communispace for a while now. I signed up to go to a Marketing event at Harvard Business School, and was excited to see that Diane Hessan, the CEO and founder, was going to be on the panel. Coincidentally, a few days after I registered for the event, Diane started following me on Twitter. I sent her a private message (DM) saying I was looking forward to meeting her. She responded quickly, and it was clear that she had looked at my website and had a good sense of my experience. She said she was looking forward to meeting, and I should bring my resume for her at the panel. When I did meet her, it didn’t seem like we were meeting for the first time… it just opened up the lines of communication that much more.
- Companies – My new favorite Twitter tool is Twellow (on my list of programs I “use regularly“), which actually searches people’s bios and URLs on their bios. It’s amazing! For example, I did a quick search on Shift Communications, a company I would love to work for. As you can see in the results, I can see that 13 people from Shift are on Twitter.
- What’s going on – Warren suggests I be more proactive in talking about what’s going on in regards to my job search. So, mentioning things more often about interviews I have had, or people I have met with. This keeps it fresh in people’s heads that I am looking for a job.
- Reaching out – Warren also suggests just reaching out to people I want to network with and saying something like “Hi – I’m looking to break into social media. Is there anyone you can think of to refer me to?”
- Twitter name – Warren opinion is that your Twitter name should be your name, as it will help in your search engine results. For example, bostonmarketer (my Twitter name) will not help get my name ranked higher. And, people aren’t going to search on bostonmarketer, they will be searching on my name. (I’m not sure I’m ready to take Warren’s advice on that one!)
I use Facebook primarily for connecting with friends or people I know and reconnecting with people in my past. But, it can also be an effective networking tool.
- Notes – While I do know everyone I’m friends with on Facebook, I don’t necessarily know or remember where each person works. And, I definitely don’t know where each of their friends work. So, when I first was laid off, I posted a “note” on Facebook, explaining the situation, and what I was looking for. A note tends to stay on people’s screens longer than a status update, and you can write much more.
- Status update – I do frequently post status updates relating to my job search, to keep it top of mind that I’m still looking for a job. I’ll say things like “I had a great interview this morning… keep your fingers crossed!” or “I have a networking meeting later today with a company I’m really interested in!”. I also write a status update with a link when I write a new blog post.
- Notes for blog posts – Create a “note” for each blog post. As I mentioned above, notes stay on people’s screen’s longer. Also, I think that some people may be more likely to read it if the text is right there on the screen rather than having to click through to the blog. Also, if they comment on it on Facebook, it becomes even more viral.
- Tag your friends – If you write a blog post that includes a reference to a friend on Facebook, tag them in the note. That way, their friends will be alerted to your post, and your message will spread more quickly.
I think a blog is a critical piece to getting a job in today’s world. A blog allows you to do a number of things:
- Showcase your talents to potential employers – they see how you write, see what’s important to you, see who you are personally and even see examples of your work. All that, before they even meet you. It helps make you a real person versus a piece of paper resume.
- Comment on other blogs – This gets your name out there even more, and if you write something interesting, it may catch the eye of a potential employer.
- Blog about opportunities you want – As I mentioned in “Networking,Chris Brogan and websites, oh my!”, Chris Brogan suggests blogging on the types of jobs you want. For example, if I want a job at a specific nonprofit doing marketing, I can blog about ideas I have for them. That was the inspiration behind my post on the restaurant group, and it was great to be able to talk about during my interview with the restaurant.
- Talk more personally about the different aspects of your job search
5. Online Communities
I hadn’t done anything with online communities, so it’s only Warren’s advice on this one!
- Look for small online communities in my areas of interest. For example, The Society for Word of Mouth or Marketing 2.0 (website address?). You can post your blog on those sites, pose questions, answer questions or start a discussion, and bring in my blog post.
Overall, I believe that social networking is the way to go in today’s digital world, particularly with the current economic situation. In Warren’s words, “You need to do an integrated online marketing campaign to find Rachel Levy a job because the regular s–t doesn’t work anymore!”
Update: Jeremiah Owyang from Forrester Research has also written about this topic in “What you Need to Be Thinking About Regarding Social Media and Layoffs“… great post!
What do you think? How are you using social media in your job search? How do you see job candidates using it?
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