(This article is part of a book called How to Find a Job, which now is available as an ebook on Kindle, nook, and Smashwords. All of the chapters have been revised, many have been expanded, and the book contains three bonus chapters (including Negotiating) that are not available on this blog.)
Hooray for good old social media, which has so taken over the world. If you’re under 40.
The fact is, if you reject the idea of social media wholeheartedly, you will probably still be able to find a job. In fact, it’s possible to dive so far into social media that you can end up wasting time tweaking your social media sites and checking for new job postings every ten minutes on Twitter.
But as I said in my opening essay, the best way to get a job is to try everything. And while you might not be a big fan of social media, it can be a very quick way to let a lot of people know you’re looking for work.
When I was job-hunting, I teamed with a friend to offer a presentation on social media basics. I provided a handout, which I’ll include at the end of this chapter. It contained, among other things, links on setting up social media sites, including blogs.
When I started writing this chapter, I gave it a title starting with the most useful job-getting social media option, and concluding with the least useful option.
I put blogs last. Why?
Well, I don’t know how much a blog will really help your job search. It can be fun to write about your progress on one, if you enjoy the writing process. And it can also be a place you can go to write short postings/articles about your area of expertise. The friend I co-taught the social media class with was a hardcore Linux user, whose blog posts had been repurposed as articles on well-respected Linux web sites.
You can even link your blog on LinkedIn, allowing people who find your profile there to read your thoughts on matters that affect your particular industry.
But if you don’t enjoy writing, or aren’t a particularly good writer, creating an unused blog isn’t going to do anything but suck up your time.
As near as I can tell, Facebook is useful for only one thing when it comes to your job search: Letting everyone you’re friends with know that you need a job.
The day I found out I was getting close to being unemployed, I hit my Facebook page the moment I got home and announced I was looking for work.
Here’s what that led to: An outpouring of goodwill that lasted for over two years.
Though most of my friends didn’t know where I might find another position, many were encouraging and kind. Several of them promised to keep an eye out for jobs, and started sending me job postings they thought might work for me.
And when many of my friends starting losing jobs, I would contact them with job postings, suggested web sites, and other information I thought they could use.
And I do know a few friends who used Facebook to tell people they lost jobs, and shortly thereafter were given contact information for other jobs in their industry.
In the end, it can’t hurt to let people know you’re looking for work. But if you’re not a Facebook user, you don’t need to create a profile just to tell people you’re out of work.
Amongst the people I networked with, Twitter was far and away the toy almost no one knew how to play with.
Oddly, an essay about a recent video game gave me the words I could best use to describe Twitter.
Saying that you don’t know how to use Twitter is a bit like saying you have a big pile of Legos, but you don’t know what to do with it.
Legos can be used for quite literally any number of things. You can craft an infinite number of toys. You can make art. You can build furniture, if you’ve got a lot of free time and a whole bunch of little plastic blocks.
Twitter is a place you can hang around and chat with your friends. Twitter is a place you can use to advertise your business by posting links to your products. Twitter is a place where you can write a novel and release it a line at a time. (Yes, really, people have done this.)
Or it’s a place where you can set up an account, follow a bunch of industries you’re interested in, and just check in periodically.
I remember very vividly the day I was sitting in a networking meeting and an older gentleman started rattling off the Twitter accounts he was following. All of them were accounts that linked to job postings all over the country. He had found dozens of accounts to follow, and was applying for jobs left, right, and center.
He had found his niche.
As for myself, when I applied for jobs, a lot of the time I could find a Twitter account associated with the business I was applying for. I’d follow it, and roll back through their recent Tweets, and if there was something worth thinking about, I’d jot it down so I could bring it up in my interview, if I ever got one.
So get on Twitter and play. Give it 30 minutes a day. Find your niche. And if you find it’s not for you, go ahead and shut down your account.
This the one social media site that I will insist you get on, because I know that it works.
If you’re not familiar with LinkedIn, it’s best described as a place you can store your résumé and your rolodex.
In fact, you should have your résumé available when you go to sign up for LinkedIn, as it will ask you for it. This will help you to fill in your profile with very little work.
Once you’ve got your profile up and visible, start connecting with friends on LinkedIn. For that matter, if you meet someone while networking, and they’re willing to link up, do so.
Because LinkedIn can give you access to information you might not have had before – and it makes it easier for people to find you.
When I was on the job hunt, I updated my LinkedIn profile and made it a point to connect with an many people as possible on LinkedIn. Friends. Acquaintances. People I met at networking meetings. Everyone was fair game.
And that helped get me work.
One day, a friend of a friend went looking for a writer. And when someone goes hunting for something on LinkedIn, the first people they find are friends. And then friends of friends. And then friends of friends of friends.
If I hadn’t connected to my friend on LinkedIn, I wouldn’t have showed up in her friend’s top listings of people who did what I do. I might have been there, but I would have been floating around a lot farther down the list.
Interestingly, this business later chose to contact me, not through LinkedIn, but through Facebook. And suddenly I had work.
Surprisingly, this happened to me twice. Someone was looking for the skills I had, and LinkedIn popped me to the top because I was a friend of a friend.
So if you do nothing else in social media, get your LinkedIn profile online. If someone is going to be searching job sites for people with a certain skill set, that’s the one they will search.
And you want them to find you.
Social Media – Where it is and How to Use It
1. LinkedIn – www.LinkedIn.com
LinkedIn: The Unnoficial Guide: http://www.squidoo.com/linkedin
2. Facebook – www.facebook.com
Newbies Guide to Facebook: http://news.cnet.com/newbies-guide-to-facebook/
3. Twitter – www.twitter.com
Newbie’s guide to Twitter: http://news.cnet.com/newbies-guide-to-twitter/
4. Blogging – www.blogger.com (There are others, but this one is free and easy to use).
Starting to Blog – A Beginner’s Guide to Blogging with Blogger: http://www.butterscotch.com/tutorial/Starting-A-Blog
Idiot’s Guide to Blogging: http://www.idiotsguidetoblogging.com/
5. Industry specific social media- http://www.linux.com as an example.
Other options- ezinearticles.com
Yahoo and Google groups
6. Other Links:
Finding a Job Using Social Media – Created by Red Shoes PR: http://www.slideshare.net/JessDennis/finding-a-job-using-social-media
7 Secrets to Getting Your Next Job Using Social Media: http://mashable.com/2009/01/05/job-search-secrets/