December 21, 2016
This is not your father's job search. In fact, it isn't even your own job search from a handful of years ago. Rich Grant, a Southern New Hampshire University career advisor, hosted a webinar recently that focused on finding your next great job and specifically, how social media and employment are linked thanks to networks like Facebook and LinkedIn.
Grant uses a metaphorical iceberg as a way to think about how a modern job search differs from what you may have experienced in the past. Jobs that are posted publicly along with applications, resumes and cover letters are now just the tip of the iceberg. Below the surface are all the other aspects of an effective job search, things like professional connections, becoming an industry expert, attending informational interviews and attending professional events. Another important tactic is taking advantage of social media to find positions, industry leaders and recruiters and to market yourself to the companies for which you want to work.
One of the chief reasons you need to learn how to use social media effectively is that employers and recruiters are using them to find talent. More than 90 percent of employers are using social media for recruiting, especially LinkedIn.com, according to a Jobvite.com survey. Of the recruiters who use social media, nearly all of them, 87 percent, use LinkedIn. More than half, 55 percent, use Facebook and 47 percent use Twitter. Sizable numbers also use Glassdoor.com and YouTube, 38 and 21 percent, respectively. Smaller numbers use Google+, Instagram and Snapchat, according to the Jobvite.com survey.
In addition to putting yourself where prospective employers are already looking, there's also the fact that, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 70 percent of new jobs are found through networking. "This is known as the hidden job market," Grant said. "If you are not using social media within your job search, it is nearly impossible to gain access to the hidden job market. It's not just about applying for jobs within these social media platforms, but the networking that goes along with it."
LinkedIn is far and away the largest professional networking site on the web with 300 million users and can be a key piece of your social media job search. Recruiters use it to identify quality candidates. The site allows you to build a detailed profile that lays out your education and work history and describe to potential employers your skills, experience and professional goals. It's a good way to begin building your professional brand, Grant said.
He offered some tips for effectively using LinkedIn:
LinkedIn can also be a valuable resource to search for available jobs. When you enter the "Jobs" section of the site, you'll find some useful tools and search functions to find positions relevant to you. You can also save your searches and LinkedIn will notify you about new postings you may be interested in. Grant said one of the unique aspects of the site is that you can see the person who posted the job and learn potentially valuable information by looking at their profile. Each job posting also shows you individuals connected to the company that you are connected to or with whom you went to college.
The unique aspect of Twitter, at least compared to LinkedIn and Facebook, is that it's an open network, meaning you can follow whoever you want without them following you in return. That makes it easier to reach out to anyone.
Grant recommended several steps to create an effective and professional Twitter profile:
Hashtags are the way searches work on Twitter. Grant recommended trying #career, #jobsearch and other searches in that vein to find both job postings and users who post them. You can search for specific jobs, too, such as 'marketing jobs Dallas,' for instance. "Just be cautious about responding to anything you see on social media," he said. "... Before going too far in the process, I'd definitely recommend you fully research the organizations on social media."
The final social network Grant highlighted was one you may not have thought was particularly useful for a digitally-enhanced job search. But as Grant pointed out, Facebook has 1.3 billion monthly users, and 65 percent of them are over 35 years old. "Business professionals and companies recognize that Facebook is a great way to reach audiences," he said. "If you want to form connections and build your brand, go to where the people are. Right now, one of those places is Facebook."
Grant's tips for using Facebook in a professional manner are straightforward. First, carefully select the right privacy settings, so you know what is broadcast to the public. Choose any photos you post wisely and regularly update your profile with relevant details about your job or job search. He also recommended joining groups relevant to your career interests and searching for virtual job fairs and networking events. Finally, Grant said posting professional articles and content linked to news items related to your field or field of interest.
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