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    Tuesday
    May172011

    5 Tips in Using Social Media for Job Searches

    Social media can be your friend, but it can also turn against you quickly. If you’re not willing to be disciplined and smart in the way you manage your social networking accounts, then there’s no point trying to use them for finding a job. Conversely, if you’ve painstakingly created an online profile that you’re convinced could win any employer over, be aware that you still need to do more. Yes, however social media savvy you are, there’s still a very strong chance that you will need to complement your online job hunt with some offline measures. Read our 125 LinkedIn Job Search Tips for a comprehensive guide on using LinkedIn for your job search.

    Here are a few tips for effectively using social media to get a job and get you started:

    1)    Look after your online reputation

    You think wooing potential new employers and contacts through your tweets, Facebook updates and LinkedIn recommendations will be a piece of cake. Have you forgotten that employers can see all your status updates, photos, videos and groups? Unless you lock your social networking profiles, potential employers can see them even if you don’t initially contact them through Facebook or Twitter. They can just Google your name and some of the first results that come up will be for your profiles on LinkedIn and other such sites, especially if you have a unique full name. So if you want a new job, it’s time to remove the inappropriate Facebook pictures and to stop using Twitter to whinge about your current employer. Even if you aren’t currently job seeking, it’s worth changing your online habits anyway if a) you will potentially be job hunting in the future and b) your current employer wouldn’t be overjoyed if they checked out 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 job in tourism because you’re interested in travel & culture, be sure to 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 knocking the moment 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 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.

    If you want to be a pro on Twitter check out our 125 Twitter Job Search Tips 

    3)    Communicate with the relevant players

    Once you’ve found contacts that could be of use 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 currently know of anything that would suit you, 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-if they’re going to help you find what you want, you must be clear on what you want. Just make sure it’s not all about you. What makes a relationship, both offline and online, is the mutual understanding that it’s about give and take. Show concern and curiosity when connecting with contacts online. 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 on 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. This is an example of online and offline worlds complementing one another. Even if you ask someone online 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. Don’t know where to look for events? Obviously, social media can help here as many events are advertised on both Facebook and LinkedIn in particular. You can also call and ask different Chambers of Commerce to put you on their events mailing lists so you can start attending them and making the most of these business networks.

    There’s no doubt about it, social media is an interesting and useful platform for the job hunter. As with all forms of job seeking, the smarter you are, the more likely you are to find something you really want to do. It’s not about quantity of effort, but quality. Just because you’re sitting in front of a computer does not mean you have to be faceless. Be personable on social networks in order to give people a flavour of the real you and to build relationships-just know what to reveal and what to hold back. If you walked into an organisation looking for a job and neither your appearance nor behaviour was professional, you wouldn’t get the job. Apply the same principles to social media-be professional at all times if you’re going to use it for professional reasons.

    Check out our 125 LinkedIn Job Search Tips for a full set of tips on harnessing LinkedIn for your job search campaign

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