Social Media and your Job Search

Last weekend, I was invited to be a panelist at Columbia University School of Journalism Social Media weekend.

The name of my panel was “Social Media and your Job Search”.  Luckily, one of the panelists was a dear friend Maggie Mistal that worked with me during my tenure at Martha Stewart Living.  The other panelist was my new friend David Gaspin, Head of Talent Acquisition at The Ladders.com.

When I was first contacted, I thought that the audience would be made up of upcoming and recent graduates of the J School.  I surely made the wrong assumption.  The audience was primarily Baby Boomers looking to engage in social media and learn how to maximize the value in becoming employed.  They were all interested in how to use social media to maximize their career.

The format was numerous questions from the moderator about the value of LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook mainly.  One thing that we all agreed was that you have to be engaged in social media.  Each one of these platforms now post jobs and they are all important to you.  At least they should be.

I am somewhat dismayed as I talk to baby boomers and hear about all their perceived fear of social media.  I have had friends tell me that they stay away from Facebook as if it is contagious form of cancer.  They treat Linkedin as a set up an account once, and done. 

Every business today is trying to figure out ways to maximize the value of this new phenomenon.  Marketing is trying to get their hands around it demanding increasing skill set of marketers of the past.  HR is struggling to cope with each platform, as well as, integrate these applications into their company policy & brand. 

IT has a big challenge with guiding the organization through the maze of offerings.  Figuring out what works best within the confines of their structure is no easy task.

Therefore, if an organization is struggling with this transformation, how could you legitimately apply for a job and not understand social media especially in the areas cited such as marketing, IT and HR. 

It was fitting that this panel took place at a Journalism school, because I think this industry has had the greatest fallout.  If magazines are not selling, and they’re not; and newspapers are not selling, and they’re not then precious ad sales that once paid salaried are not there, layoffs are the repercussions. 

Where to begin?

Linkedin

We all agreed that the most valuable platform for professionals was LinkedIn.  LinkedIn is the professionals’ networking website. You must create a profile—this is a non-negotiable.  Imagine someone giving you a full page to describe your accomplishments and your career achievements—free.  How could you not take up someone on that offer?  Linkedin is that full-page ad that tells your story, and that story is Brand You.

We also agreed that close to 85% of all recruiters use this as their first stop in sourcing candidates.  Since LinkedIn is playing an increasingly active role in every step of a job search, it’s important to make sure your profile is accurate, complete, appealing to hiring managers, and can be found by recruiters.  Setting up a Linkedin profile is priority #1.

Facebook

Companies are utilizing Facebook to post employment opportunities.  Is there a company that you would like to work for?  Find them on Facebook and “Like” their page.  In addition, BranchOut is the largest professional networking service on Facebook. BranchOut allows you to expand your career network utilizing Facebook friends. You can search by Company Name to see all your friends that work there or did in the past. It similar to Linkedin but utilizes your personal network to search one of the largest job boards on Facebook with over 3 million jobs and 20,000 internships.  To get started, create a Facebook profile, and then add the BranchOut application.

Twitter

So, what is Twitter—anyway?  Let’s ask Wikipedia: Twitter is an online social networking service and microblogging service that enables its users to send and read text-based posts of up to 140 characters, known as “tweets.”  This platform allows you to exchange articles, information, news, updates, and yes even job information.  Employers are “tweeting” their postings.  Companies like AT&T (@attjobs) regularly tweet positions before placing them on other social sites. Want to know who’s tweeting their jobs? Undercover Recruiter has a list of over 140 companies who tweet their jobs on Twitter.

One more thought…

Blogging

If you have a unique perspective whether it is about your industry, your hobby or passions, write a blog about it.  Blogs can be set up at minimal or no cost.  One of the questions that we were asked, “what platform have you used to advance your career?”  My answer was blogging.  It would take a couple of pages to describe the opportunities that I have derived from blogging.  It has been a tremendous asset to me.  In fact, I would not have been on this panel if I were not online in some way.

That said; do not feel compelled to blog if you are not comfortable with it.  However, if there is a passion that you have about something in your life, that could benefit others—share it! 

Your next step is to engage, slowly if you need to, but engage!

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1 Comment

  • Tammy Rainer Tammy Rainer says:

    Ron,
    This is an excellent post, observation, and tips for career-changers and job seekers. Just a reminder to our readers that Altruistic Leadership offers the compact series & it addresses the challenges stated by Ron, AND we’re always updating the series with the newest and what you need to know tips & tricks. Low-cost & featured at job train centers.

    Join me at an upcoming workshop! Here’s the link: http://compactseries.eventbrite.com/

    See you there!
    Tammy Rainer – Executive Producer of Take-A-Lesson by Altruistic Leadership & Business Manager