Rachel Levy, a guest author of Alison Doyle’s About.com Job Searching site, wrote an informative article on "How to Use Social media in Your Job Search".
Not using social media sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter in a job search is similar to using only 4 out of your 5 senses. Learning the basics of each of the social networking sites and how they can be used in the job search is well worth the effort and will add significantly to the types of job opportunities that you will find.
- Developing a professional presence online.
LinkedIn is a social networking site for professionals and should strictly be used when keeping the professional world in mind. By using the Advance search button at the top right of your LinkedIn Profile you can do a search based on keywords, organization, college, and location. You can easily use Advance Search to find alumni from your college working in specific career fields, companies, and locations. The Group section at the top of the page let's you find and join groups based on your personal and career interests.
When creating a professional presence online be sure to first do a Google search of your name. If any pictures or derogatory information comes up, be sure to delete it immediately. You'll want to do this on a regular basis to ensure that you haven't been mentioned or tagged on someone's Facebook page in a compromising photo.
- Add as many keywords and phrases as possible to your profile.
You will want to include keywords and phrases in your profile to ensure that your profile will come up when employers are searching for candidates to fill a specific position. You can find these words and phrases by looking at job ads and LinkedIn profiles of professionals working in a specific career field.
- Using LinkedIn to explore career options.
LinkedIn is an excellent place to explore career options and find people based on job title, company, and more. When a specific person comes up on LinkedIn you can also see the career path they have taken from college to their current career. This information can help when deciding what types of entry-level jobs lead to specific job titles and careers that you may be interested in pursuing in the future.
- Establish yourself as an expert by creating a blog.
Feel free to create your own blog where you can keep friends and family apprised of what you’re doing and currently involved in. You may include information on college life or your involvement in the job search. By maintaining a blog you will also be gaining valuable computer skills and demonstrating your creative abilities by illustrating your writing and design capabilities. Be sure to also load your blog with keywords and phrases and the appropriate job lingo that is spoken in a specific career field. Don’t feel creative, you can also make an attempt at getting your name out there by posting on other people's blogs on specific topics related to your career of interest.
Keeping your social media sites updated is another way of putting your name in front of employers. You can even include recent interviews and job search efforts on your site that will keep people reading your site apprised of your current job search.
- Use social networking sites to prepare for an interview.
Checking out company websites and finding professionals with similar titles who are already working at a company is a great way to help prepare yourself for an interview with the company. You will want to gain as much information as possible about the company by reading its website and by thoroughly understanding it’s overall mission and goals; and by checking out a company’s social media profile you will gain a wealth of information that be asked during a company interview.
Tweeting can be a great way to check out employers recruiting needs and see what's being posted.
The opinion on Twitter is often contradictory. I hear people say they hate it while others say it's a good part of their overall job search strategy. There are also many companies today that include job postings on their Twitter sites in order to get more candidates. Twitter in combination with LinkedIn and Facebook can provide additional information to be followed up on in the job search.