Autumn St. John is the content manager for Position Ignite, a website which offers a more inspiring, fun, insightful and creative approach to career support. In this blog post she looks at using social networks to job hunt.
It’s a nice idea: getting a new job, or at least an interview, from the comfort of your own home by using Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. In reality, it’s not as simple as it seems and there are a few things to bear in mind if you’re going to make social networking sites part of your job search. Here are five tips for getting a new job through social networking.
1) Review your online reputation
It’s all very well planning to woo potential new employers and contacts through your tweets, Facebook updates and LinkedIn recommendations, but don’t forget that employers can see allyour status updates, photos, videos and groups. Unless you lock your social networking profiles, potential employers can view them even if you don’t initially contact them through Facebook or Twitter. All they have to do is Google your name and some of the first results that come up will be for your profiles on LinkedIn and other such sites. So if you want a new job, it’s time to remove the inappropriate Facebook pictures and to stop using Twitter to moan about your current employer. Even if you don’t want a new job right this minute, it’s worth changing your online habits anyway if you a) will potentially be job hunting in the future and b) your current employer wouldn’t be impressed if they checked your Facebook page as it is now. That said, it’s just as possible to make a positive impression online as it is to leave a negative one. If you’re looking for a new job in tourism because you’re interested in travel & culture, make sure you actually list these as your interests so potential employers can see why you’d be suited to the industry.
2) Know where to look
As open and accessible as social networking sites are, potential employers aren’t going to come flocking to you just because you tweet, “I’m looking for a job in tourism, please contact me if you can help”. You’ll have to find them, because it’s unlikely that they’ll find you. Twitter has various types of applications that can help you seek out potential employers and useful contacts. Directories such as Twellow can help you find people in your chosen field; keyword trackers like Monitter can identify who’s using phrases specific to your industry; and you can use apps such as Twitscoop to track trends and events related to your desired job. On both Facebook and LinkedIn you can join groups discussing your career interests, with the latter also having a Q&A function where you ask and answer the questions that will draw you into a network of potentially useful contacts.
3) Communicate with the relevant players
Once you’ve found contacts that could be useful to you, don’t just ask them if they know of any vacancies going and then leave it at that. It’s important to build up an online relationship with the relevant players so that even if they don’t know of anything that would suit you straight away, they’ll remember you if something comes up further down the line. By all means speak with them about your job search, your skills and your industry of choice; just make sure not to make it all about you. What makes a relationship, both offline and online, is the mutual understanding that it’s about give and take. Reply to your contacts’ tweets asking for help and contribute to the discussions they start. Not only does it show that you’re willing to give, but it also showcases your expert knowledge of their particular industry or field.
4) Be willing to learn
Although it is important to show that you have both interest in and knowledge of your chosen industry, it’s also important to demonstrate your willingness to learn and to build up your skills. Ask industry players for advice about your job search, use group discussions to clarify points you’re uncertain of, and listen in on others’ conversations and discussions. You can also use social networking to build up your experience and skill set offline. Even if you ask someone if they know of any paid positions coming up and they don’t, you can press them for information on volunteering or work experience opportunities. If you’ve actually set out to gain some voluntary work experience before looking for a paid job, connect with the voluntary sector experts that can sort you out with opportunities suited to your desired career path.
5) Don’t limit yourself
As useful as social networking is in getting a new job, don’t rely on it as your only method of networking and job hunting. Integrate it with both offline and other online strategies such as looking at relevant companies’ websites, attending industry events and using your existing contacts. At Position Ignition we have a variety of ideas for making your job search work for you, so feel free to contact us, be it through Twitter, LinkedIn or a more conventional method!