Most people know that the best way to find a job is through networking. You can go to networking meetings, tap into your own personal network, or ask friends who they know.
With the Internet buzzing with social media, there are similarly many ways to use social media in order to network, and eventually find a job. According to an article in DMNews, Jeremiah Owyang from Forrester Research agrees that social networks allow all parties involved to better search for and reach their target.
I decided to write down my thoughts on the topic. I also had an opportunity to talk to Warren Sukernek who found his job at Radian6 through Twitter! He gave me lots of great advice in this area, so I've incorporated his thoughts below.
If you're not already on LinkedIn, you definitely need to be. Basically, it's a site that allows you to connect to people you know. It also allows you to see profiles of anyone else on LinkedIn, and gives you ways to connect to them. There are a few ways you can use LinkedIn in a job search:
- Company Search - One of the best ways to use LinkedIn is if you have a very specific company you are interested in. You search on that company, and hopefully find people who are connected to other people you know. Then, you can ask your personal contact to connect you. Employers also tend to post jobs on the LinkedIn. The jobs are usually high quality, professional jobs.
- Email - When I was first laid off, I sent a large email to everyone in my LinkedIn network, letting them know of my situation, and asking for any help or people they could put me in touch with.
- Blog Link - LinkedIn now gives you the ability to link your blog post to your profile. So every time I post a new blog post, it updates on my profile, so anyone looking at my profile will see what I'm writing about. It also includes the updated post in the weekly update emails that go out to your connections.
Twitter Link - Similar to Blog Link, LinkedIn also pulls your conversations from Twitter. So, anyone who is not on Twitter can see what you are tweeting about.
Warren's LinkedIn Advice
- Recommendations - Warren suggested getting many more recommendations on my profile.
- Status Updates - Similar to Facebook, LinkedIn also has status updates. Warren suggests that it's a good idea to update your status, to better inform your connections what you've been up to.
- Headline - LinkedIn gives you a place to add a professional headline. I didn't realize that was really seen by anyone, so I had mine as "Consultant". Warren's advice is to make it more exciting and enticing. Mine now reads "Innovative marketer with a drive for results."
The best part of Twitter is that it allows you to connect with people you don't know, based on common interests. What a great way to do some networking!
- Basic Networking - I am now much more connected to people who are involved in areas I'm interested in. Today I heard about jobs available at two companies. I tweeted two people I met on Twitter, and in minutes I had some information about the jobs.
- Job Postings - I am connected to a few people who know about jobs that I would not have otherwise known, i.e. @socialmediajob or other recruiters.
- Connecting - When someone follows me or I follow them, I read their bio thoroughly. If it looks like they work somewhere I might be interested in, or if I think they might be someone who could connect me to others, I get in touch with them. A few have said no or not responded at all, but for the most part, everyone is very open to meeting or talking.
Companies - My new favorite Twitter tool is Twellow (on my list of programs I "use regularly"), which actually searches people's bios and URLs on their bios. It's amazing! For example, I did a quick search on Shift Communications, a company I would love to work for, and I could see that 13 people from Shift are on Twitter.
Warren's Twitter Advice
- What's Going On - Warren suggests I be more proactive in talking about what's going on in regard to my job search. For example, he suggests I mention things more often about interviews I have had, or people I have met with. This keeps it fresh in people's heads that I am looking for a job.
- Reaching Out - Warren also suggests just reaching out to people I want to network with and saying something like "Hi - I'm looking to break into social media. Is there anyone you can think of to refer me to?"
- Twitter Name - Warren's opinion is that your Twitter name should be your name, as it will help in your search engine results.
I use Facebook primarily for connecting with friends or people I know and reconnecting with people in my past. But, it can also be an effective networking tool.
- Notes - While I do know everyone I'm friends with on Facebook, I don't necessarily know or remember where each person works. I definitely don't know where each of their friends works. So, when I first was laid off, I posted a "note" on Facebook, explaining the situation, and what I was looking for. A note tends to stay on people's screens longer than a status update, and you can write much more.
- Status Update - I do frequently post status updates relating to my job search, to keep it on top of people's minds. I'll say things like "I had a great interview this morning... keep your fingers crossed!" or "I have a networking meeting later today with a company I'm really interested in!" I also write a status update with a link when I write a new blog post.
Warren's Facebook Advice
- Notes for Blog Posts - Create a "note" for each blog post. As I mentioned above, notes stay on people's screens longer. I think that some people may be more likely to read it if the text is right there on the screen rather than having to click through to the blog. Also, if they comment on it on Facebook, it becomes even more viral.
- Tag Your Friends - If you write a blog post that includes a reference to a friend on Facebook, tag them. That way, their friends will be alerted to your post, and your message will spread more quickly.