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Job Seeking in the Age of Social Media

Posted by Bob Corlett on September 6, 2009

I talk to job seekers almost every day and find that most people are still using a badly dated strategy to find jobs. And for some reason, HR professionals (who should know better) are no better off than any other profession. (Hint: just surfing the job boards won't cut it). Face to face networking and connecting with people you know is always a good strategy, but not enough to guarantee success this time around. Ignore social media at your peril if you are a job seeker, and the tools and rules of the game are still being invented.

Beyond the challenging job market, new technology makes it easier to find jobs, but harder to stand out from your competition. If you last looked for a job 5 or more years ago, don't blindly follow that strategy this time around. Plainly speaking, if your job search strategy is 5 years old, your search is doomed to failure in this job market.

So if you are considering making a job change, here is your "starter pack." It is far from inclusive, but it's a good starting point. Please comment with your suggestions to make it better - after all, that's what social media is all about (see #9 below).  I welcome your thoughts.

  1. Write your resume, bulleting your business oriented accomplishments.  Here are some resume suggestions.
  2. Join LinkedIn.  Set up your profile to look like your resume. Recruiters love to recruit people from their LinkedIn profile, Google's search engine loves LinkedIn, and you want to be found - some say Google is the new business card.  Here are 8 more tips to get yourself found.  And here are some more good suggestions how to use LinkedIn wisely.
  3. Find people you know on LinkedIn and invite them to connect.  Join groups on Linkedin, participate in discussions. Start inviting everyone you know to connect with you on LinkedIn.  Write testimonials for other people, and often they will give you a testimonial right back.  Most recruiters are skeptical of the LinkedIn testimonials, but more recruiters are skeptical of a profile with absolutely no testimonials - it implies a resistance to understanding social media, and particularly for an HR professional, that's really not good.
  4. Set up RSS feeds from  job board aggregators like Indeed, and SimplyHired.  Set up an RSS feed from Craigslist.   Don't be put off by the technical sounding nature of this, you can do it without a PhD, really. (Feedly is a good starting point to organize your RSS feeds.)
  5. Set up job alerts from Careerbuilder and other big boards, like Monster.  Don't just surf job boards, set yourself up to be alerted via email every time a job you're interested in gets posted.  You want to be one of the first to apply - trust me, if you wait too long, you might not be considered.
  6. If you are looking for an HR job, sign up for my free HR Jobs to Share e-newsletter.   Also, start visiting local HR groups to build your personal network.  If you don't work in HR, you'll need to find the right groups for your chosen profession.  But get out there and network, even if you don't want to.
  7. Set up your Twitter account. (Again, if you work in HR, don't miss the Jessica Lee Twitter Follow Starter Pack).
  8. Get on Facebook and start to connect with people.  Here are a few tips for using Facebook in your job search.   Also, check out our Staffing Advisors Facebook page, for job postings, ideas from this blog, and links to events.
  9. Start commenting on blogs.   If you are not sure what to read, Alltop has a nice selection of HR blogs.  Just read what interests you and comment when you agree or disagree or have a point to add.  New to blog reading?  Good news, you can read snapshots on Alltop, or set them up in your Google reader.  Not staying current with your profession is not an option any longer.
  10. When you find a job you'd like, use all these connections to connect with the hiring manager.  Connect through Twitter, connect through Facebook, connect through LinkedIn, get an introduction through a friend - don't just hope your resume will be selected from the stack.

This may all seem unfamiliar but social media is here to stay:

Topics: Working with Recruiters as a Candidate, Networking, Job Search Strategies