It seems like every time I open up a news website, I’m reading about social media and its potential impact on my job search. We’ve already blogged about protecting your privacy on Facebook – changing your privacy settings and closely monitoring content. But social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn can also help you find a job. I had heard about the job opportunities available through social media, but I wasn’t sure how to go about using them. I have a LinkedIn profile (which I made only because a friend strongly suggested I do). I had almost no information on it, though, and no idea of how to use it. Facebook and Twitter seemed even more confusing. Find a job in 140 characters or less? The more research I did, though, the more opportunity I found. Turn up your privacy settings and get ready to Tweet, because here are the best ways to go about social networking.
When I signed up for LinkedIn, the first thing I did was “connect” with friends. This is a good way to get started, but if your only connections are people you already know, you aren’t using social networking to its fullest potential. The more people you are “connected” to, the better your chances of finding a job. A good way to expand your horizons is to search for a particular company under the “companies” tab. If you know of a company you would love to work for, you can search for that company and “follow company.” This way, you get updates when the company hires someone new or posts a new position.
There are three other great ways to use this company search. First, you can check out statistics about people who work for the company you’re looking at. The statistics page shows company growth, title changes within the company, common skills of people who are hired, and where most employees worked before and after they worked for this particular company. This is a great way to stay informed. Second, the company page offers a list of every employee on LinkedIn currently employed by the company you’ve searched. Many of these employees will be out of your network, but if they have a job you think is interesting or work in a department you would love to break into, you can send them a message introducing yourself. Remember, they may not respond, but it doesn’t hurt to try. The major advantage to social networking is how easy it is to connect with people you don’t know. Finally, LinkedIn shows you which employees at the company you’ve searched for are fellow alumni from your college or university. For example, I searched Boston University and there are thirteen BU employees who are Chatham alums. While this doesn’t guarantee these potential connections can help, having some kind of connection offers an easy way to break the ice.
Josh Warren, author of Job Searching with Social Media for Dummies, suggests acquiring a high number of recommendations. For graduating seniors he suggests ten recommendations. Not all employers will check the recommendations on your profile, but either way, recommendations can only help.
Finally, make you’re taking advantage of all the options available to you. For example, the job insider tool. This tool shows you how connected you are to jobs listed on Monster, CareerBuilder, Vault, Craigslist, and SimplyHired. You can find your connections at the company and request an introduction to the hiring manager. Fill in as much information as you can on your profile. The more information you have listed, the more searches you will turn up in, and the more you will stand out to a potential employer. If you have a blog, link to it. Make your headline specific and interesting. Don’t be afraid to use your connections! Ask your connections to refer and connect you with their own connections. People were willing to connect with you, so they should be more than happy to introduce you to their other connections. This is how the site works, so don’t be shy.
Facebook recently launched a social jobs initiative, aiming to team up with job recruiters and employment agencies to use social media to find jobs. While the initiative is still in its early stages, this is the best way to use Facebook to find a job. Already on the page – which you can “like” by going to “www.facebook.com/socialjobs” – are links to employment agencies, job search engines, and articles offering job tips. If nothing else, this page can give you some great ideas about where to go.
Many employers have Facebook pages now, and “liking” a company’s page can keep you up to date with information about how to break in, or help you do research for an interview. You might also be able to connect with someone who works for the company. Some employers offer links to their employment page. At the very least, clicking that “like” button will keep you posted on company news, which can only help.
Network, network, network. If you’re looking for a job, make a status update. Much like LinkedIn, you might be connected to someone who can help you find a position in your field. Also, according to theundercoverrecruiter.com, because Facebook isn’t thought of in the same way as LinkedIn, sending a friend request to a potential professional contact might help you stand out. Find the hiring manager, or someone else connected to the company in a way that could help you, and send them a professional message. Just be careful! Keep the message short and respectful, and understand that this person might not respond to you. If they don’t respond, leave it at that. It’s never okay to harass someone. Also, be clear about professional boundaries. While these lines are blurrier on Facebook, they exist. You shouldn’t “like” a hiring manager’s status about their trip to California, nor should you send them a birthday message or tag them in a note.
Facebook’s marketplace is another great way to find a job. The marketplace has a specific “jobs” tab on the lower left-hand corner of the page where you can search postings. You may be able to apply for the job directly through the listing, but if not, you can contact the poster for more information. While there may not be as many jobs posted here as on LinkedIn, theundercoverrecruiter.com suggests there might also be less competition for them because not as many people think to search the Facebook marketplace.
Twitter offers the easiest networking of all three social media sites. It’s easy to “follow” people connected with a company you’re interested in (unless their account is private, but you can still request to follow their Tweets). Many companies have their own pages, and they may post job opportunities to Twitter before even reaching out to other recruiting sites. Also, job recruiting agencies have set up pages now, such as @socialmediajob, which tweets multiple job postings per day. Another great option is “trending” topics. Check out #careers or #jobs for an overview of hundreds of companies and recruiting agencies offering job postings and career advice. Find an interesting recruiter and follow them to stay up to date.
Be sure to pay attention to who is following you. Read their bios and see if your followers are connected to a company or person who you might be able to reach out to. Don’t be afraid to get in touch with potential connections. Send them a direct message. Sure, some will say no, but more people might say yes and give you information you might otherwise have missed out on. Because communication is so quick on Twitter, it doesn’t take much time or energy for someone to talk with you. Even if someone isn’t in a position to hire you now, or doesn’t know anyone to connect you with at this moment, starting up a dialogue will make them think of you when something does open up.
Check out Twellow.com. Kind of like a phone book, this website allows you to type in your city and state with the keyword “jobs” to find local Twitter accounts tweeting jobs. If you’re thinking on a larger scale, try typing in other places you would be willing to move to. Even if you don’t want to move, expanding your search might give you access to large companies that simply aren’t hiring in your area. Keep them in mind and check back to see if they are hiring in your area.
The big advantage to Twitter is the amount of information available. Because of the short format, it’s easy to search through quantities of information which might be otherwise overwhelming. Use Twitter to connect with as many people as you can – Tweet, Tweet, and re-Tweet.
Before I did my research, most of my ideas about the impact of social media on the job hunt were negative. But employers are reaching out through social media more than ever. It’s fast, easy, and almost doesn’t feel like work! The point is to stay connected. The more you know, the higher your chances of finding a job – fast.
By: Amanda Hart
Amanda is a second-year student in Chatham’s Creative Writing MFA program. She currently works as a Graduate Associate in the Career Development office and as an intern for Upstart Crow, a local literary agency.