Social Networking Could Land You Your Next Job!

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Using social networking, Facebook, Twitter, & LinkedIn for your job search

I recently wrote an article entitled “Social Networking: Freedom of Speech and Expression vs. Conventional Wisdom” in which I discuss how employers and those responsible for the hiring process are now turning to social networking to screen job applicants.

The news is not all bad.  Sure… 91% admitted to using social networking to help thin the pile of resumes and applications received from prospective employees… with 69% admitting to rejecting an applicant due to material the applicant posted online.  The good news?  68% said they DID hire a job applicant after something they found via a social networking site! 

Whether you’re a young person preparing to leave the comforts of home and school to chase your career dreams or you’re among the more than 13 million Americans currently unemployed, your social networking activity could go a long way in helping you land your next job!

Those who have heard me speak have heard me tell this story.  “I’m living my dream because I became a fan of a beer page on Facebook”.  A good friend of mine began playing around with Facebook in February of 2008.  Like most others, it was a great way to stay connected with family and friends, post and share pictures, and keep in touch.  Life was good.  He was bringing in a six figure income with a college sports marketing company.  He’d spend some of his downtime exploring Facebook.  He’d “Like” different pages of interest.  Back then it was actually called “Become a Fan”.  One of those Facebook pages was the “Sierra Nevada Pale Ale” beer page.

Over the months he noticed some posts and comments on this page which prompted him to post and comment.  Shortly after a number of these exchanges, he learned that the person he was interacting with lived in the same region and had similar interests including camping, hiking, and the outdoors.  Soon they became friends, often sitting on his back deck and solving the world’s problems while enjoying a cold Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.

In 2009, my friend became a victim of the economic crash.  The company he’d spent the last 10 years helping to build was forced to close its doors.  My friend and his wife had just joined the many families who found themselves wondering “what do we do now?”

It just so happened that this new friend he’d meet via Facebook had a temporary job opportunity available and offered it to my friend.  Today, my friend runs a very successful business as a result of what he learned and the contacts he made with that temporary job.  He admits that if it wasn’t for his interactions with a complete stranger on a Facebook beer page, he wouldn’t be where he’s at today and living his dream.

Social networking may have started out as something to do if you want to pass the time.  Today, however, they’re no longer just hobbies or toys.  They’ve become powerful tools.  It might be time to start taking them seriously and use them to your benefit.

What type of job are you looking for?  What are your career goals?  The first step is to begin treating your various profiles more professionally.  Start using Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to connect with companies and businesses that you might like to work for.  Join the groups that they’re associated with.  Start paying attention to what’s being shared online.  Begin interacting with the conversations that take place on their their pages and in their groups.

Has someone made a comment or shared a story that you find interesting?  Before you respond, take a moment to click on that person’s name and look for information in their profile.  Who knows… you could be interacting with a president, CEO, hiring manager, or someone influential within the organization without even realizing it!  Remember that behind most every message, comment, and post is a person.  There may be a company logo next to the comment or post… but behind that logo is a person, perhaps several, who will read your response.

Don’t just say things like “I’m looking for work.  Are you hiring”?  Have a conversation.  Interact with meaningful and well thought out comments.  This is an opportunity to impress.  Share your insights, knowledge, and opinions in a tasteful, tactful and diplomatic manner.  Over time, you might find yourself with a resume or application on their desk and they may remember you as the interesting individual they’ve been engaging with online!

Job hunting has never been more challenging than it is today.  Most companies insist that you start the process online.  It’s much harder to get that “face time” with the person hiring for that job you want.  You need to take every opportunity you can to make sure you stand out above the rest.  Social networking tools can help make that possible.  Your dream job could be just a post or comment away.

There’s definitely not enough room in this article for all the information I want to share on this topic.  Look for additional articles coming soon!

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