Sunday, March 27, 2011

Social Media--The Power Tool for Your Job Hunt

This is the first of a multi-part series on using Social Media as part of a successful job search.  Our goal: to walk you step-by-step from setup through engagement to employment via Social Media.

In another day (and another job market), the best way to find a job was to submit your spiffy resume to employers, attend job fairs and buy a good suit so you looked the part.  Those days are gone.  Technology has created new ways of marketing everything from shoes to software, and marketing yourself as a potential employee has evolved as well.

You still need to have a great resume, though just what constitutes a great resume has changed (that is a topic for another post), and you still need to look the part in-person.  You also need to work your personal network to put the word out about your skills and availability and find out about companies looking for what you have to offer.  But now, your personal network can extend exponentially beyond the people you know first-hand, through the use of social media.  And if you’re NOT using the power of social media to extend your reach to prospective employers, you’re likely losing out to those that ARE.

There is a dizzying array of social media tools and sites available, so what does someone completely unfamiliar with social media need to know to get started?  If you can only participate on one social media site, LinkedIn is the essential one to use.  LinkedIn is a network entirely focused on business-- users can create a profile showing their education and employment history, get recommendations from current and previous employers, and actively work to make connections.

A well-built LinkedIn profile is like an online resume on steroids—not only is LinkedIn where employers and recruiters go to learn about candidates that came to them, they actually search there to find the best people to actively recruit, even if those people are not currently seeking new employment.

Best of all, on LinkedIn, recommendations from those with whom and for whom you have worked are publicly viewable, so the concept of “References Available Upon Request” is a thing of the past—your good work and achievements are right in front of prospective employers.

Prospective employers not only like LinkedIn, they expect you will be there if you’re serious about your career.  So if you do nothing else with social media as part of your job search, DEFINITELY leverage the job-finding power of LinkedIn.

Next up: Getting Started with LinkedIn—Your Profile

- Julie

Julie Ladd is a marketing strategist and strategic copywriter who helps businesses and individuals figure out what to say, how to say it and where for maximum impact, including using Social Media as an effective communication channel to reach and engage a broader audience.  She is a veteran of years of job-hunting on the way to finding her calling.

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