In this tough job market, candidates need to use every tool at their disposal to find work. Using social networks is a natural, because you can reach many, target niche audiences, and mine your friends and family for contacts.
You rarely find a job from someone you know. It’s more likely that someone who knows a friend or relative will connect you to your next employer. That layer of connections is the magic potion that social media provides. How do you dive into those layers to make sure you’re searching every available corner for work? Here are five tips to get you started.
1. Start with family and friends.
Call them first and let them know you’re in the market for a job. Ask if it’s OK to email your resume and a short cover letter that spells out your value to a future employer. Provide succinct bullet points about your strengths and why those strengths matter. Your resume should tell a future employer what YOU can do for them. Ask your direct contacts to forward your resume to those who might be interested.
2. After you’ve made the rounds to friends and relatives, use your Facebook account to reach those acquaintances (or those you contact less frequently) and tell them you’re hunting for a job, are seeking suggestions and are eager to hear their words of wisdom. Direct them to your resume on LinkedIn (include the URL on your Facebook page).
3. What? You don’t have a LinkedIn Profile? Are you crazy?
If you are hunting for a job, you MUST get on LinkedIn ASAP? Why? Most recruiters (85 to 95%) surveyed say they go to LinkedIn first before anywhere else to find talent. It’s THE leading professional network. LinkedIn offers a variety of ways to showcase your skills, personality and experience. While most counselors will tell you to limit your resume to one page, there’s unlimited space on LinkedIn. So spell out the activities that are relevant to your job search. Mention your rank on the Dean’s List and include the job at the off-campus pizza parlor that helped pay your way through school.
You can fill your LinkedIn profile with as much information as possible to give that prospective employer a complete view of why you’re their perfect candidate. Plus, you can ask people to post letters of reference so that all those bosses and colleagues who loved working with you can tell others why they should hire you.
4. If you happen to have a specific area of expertise, you can elevate your profile with LinkedIn “Answers.” There are people who make it their goal to answer LinkedIn queries posed by others. What’s beautiful about this? The LinkedIn rating system: Answer many questions and have your answers rated as the most helpful, and you’ll be rewarded and acknowledged for your expertise on LinkedIn. So when a recruiter scopes out your profile vs. another job candidate, you’ll have an extra boost thanks to your efforts trying to help others.
It’s easy to see the questions and answers being posed every minute on LinkedIn. They’re categorized by industry, so look up the industry that interests you, and follow the conversations.
5. Make the most of that Q & A.
I have made great connections with people who have answered my LinkedIn questions. I dutifully rate the best answers, and I immediately send an invitation to connect. Doing so further widens your network, and only brings more good karma to the job search. And when it comes to social media and job hunting, karma is one of your most valuable assets. Job hunting, like social networks, follows the same dictate: “If you give much, you will get much in return.” It’s a great rule to follow in the job search and for the rest of your life.