There are many tools out there in the social media space, and you could be confused by trying to cover all of them - especially if you have recently lost your job and need to find a new one. But for me it is about getting a balance with using a smaller number social media tools that stand the most chance of being effective AND suit you to engage with on a regular basis.
So for me they are LinkedIn, Twitter, Blogging and of course Facebook. This then gives you an even spread across the business focused LinkedIn, the immediacy and 'freshness of Twitter', the personal brand building of blogging and the social networking that is Facebook.
Up until recently Facebook has been the preserve of social networking only, with any overt activity on the job front being somewhat frowned upon. However, two things have changed that - the first being the recession and the need for many people to find new employment, and second, the sheer speed at which Facebook is growing globally - literally millions every week! So now individuals, companies and recruiters are becoming more focused on using Facebook, both from candidate searching and job finding perspective..
I have looked at how you can use Facebook in the most effective way to to help job seekers find a job, and recruiters find the job seeker - both of which are very important in the proactive part of the job marketplace.
So here are ten ways to use Facebook to find a job:
1. Don't forget the public nature of Facebook
While I am sure you do appreciate the public nature of information on the internet, don't forget that just because you are looking for a job. You must assume that everything you write is available for public consumption, and that means any future employers. Many companies now do some internet searching and check the validity of their future employees - yes I know they will all tell you they don't, but I can confidently tell you that's rubbish, they do!
So if you have a profile on LinkedIn and other sites, make sure they all tell the same story! Also make sure your details are all accurate. As I tell everyone, don't put anything on your online profile that you wouldn't want an employer to see.
2. Pimp your profile.
You need to ensure that you have a full profile, and that it reads akin to a CV or Resume.What you must remember is that when companies or recruiters are searching for candidates, they are 'conditioned' to view prospective candidates in a traditional way (right or wrong). So in the art of stating the obvious - give them what they expect.
It is important to highlight your assets and project an accurate representation of yourself. Make sure your education history is correct, with correct dates; your employment history need to be correct, again with correct dates - and just in case you think you can get away with changing the dates, don't even bother - it is very easy to check! ; list any volunteer work or work done through your degree (sandwich courses); check your group memberships -you may want to remove some of the more 'seemed fun at the time' groups you joined - would you want an employer to see them?
3. 'Review' your photo's
This is one of the best parts of Facebook, but it is also potentially one of the most damaging parts.
First make sure your profile photo is a clean head and shoulders shot of you in a non-stupid pose. Make sure it represents the 'professional' look that you would expect to portray at an interview.
Second, make sure all the drunken and stupid photos of you collapsed over furniture (and other people!) are removed. You really don't want to give any future employers the impression that you are a drunken party animal - even if you are!! Remember, as will all social interaction, and especially with employers - first impressions count (even if they are just photos on Facebook!).
4. Don't be boring
I may have started by suggesting you clamp down on some of the 'mad excesses' in you life, and is correct. but whatever you do, make sure you let your true personality shine through on your pages. You can express your humour, fun times and 'mad moments' - that is exactly what Facebook is all about - but keep them clean and keep them unoffensive! Employees want fun employees - they don't want overly sarcastic, rude or too opinionated employees!!
5. Don't be bashful
The recession has removed people's stigma about looking for a job. There did used to be (particularly in the UK )a reservedness towards telling people that you were out of work and wanted to find a new job. With so many people on Facebook, and with so many people looking for work, this is no longer an issue. Your friends, colleagues and people in your network will even expect you to help you in your job search process, they will want to refer you to anyone that can possibly help. All you have to do is actually tell them you are looking for a job!
Make it clear in your profile that you are seeking a new job. Also, use your status updates to indirectly tell everyone that you are engaged in job seeking activities; rewriting your CV, meeting with recruitment consultants, interviewing (but don't tell them who with, obviously!) etc
Your network will see these and they may well prompt referrals and recommendations, so these indirect communications can work.
6. Show your knowledge to your network.
Again like above this is an indirect method to attract your network to your skills and expertise in your chosen industry/sector. By sharing interesting information and links on your wall, you can build up a profile of being an knowledge expert about your sector. Obviously don't do this all the time, working on the same premise above in No 4, mix up the messages to get your own personality to come through. You will be surprised how effective this can be, over a period of time. Showing that you are passionate and interested in the areas you're looking for a job, is a great way of demonstrating your desire to get a job in the sector and more importantly IF an employer or an agency finds you in a search, they can see that you are serious (especially if you put it on Facebook!) about presenting yourself in the right way.
You can of course use Facebook to search for people from different industries, schools, universities etc, but there are different tools out there that will now do an open search on the 100's million Facebook profiles for you, much easier.You could try tools like Wink, which is a great way of drilling down searches to locations and industries.
Focus on your chosen industry, sector or chosen profession. Try and think a little laterally with your searching - this concept is no different to when you are looking for products on Google! Write down relevant keywords, job titles, brand names, buzz words etc from your target areas and search them. It will definitely yield people you should be networking with on Facebook. Find them, engage with them and friend them, not forgetting to see who they are friends with along the way. People ALWAYS network with some of their work colleagues, so not to offend them, so if your target works for company X, then chances are you will find others in that company to network with as well!
These searches are only limited by the time you invest in the exercise. There should be no excuse for not finding the people you want - there are 100's of miilions of people on Facebook, after all!
Using the search tool within Facebook, search for topical and relevant groups within Facebook. There are literally thousands on Facebook, and they give you a great entry point into groups of people with similar interests. There will definitely be groups on your subject / industry or work interest - you just need to find them. There are many types of networks, and it will take a little time to do these searches, but I guarantee this method will open up new networking opportunities with like minded people, more than happy to engage with a focused, professional person like you, that is happy to share information and experiences with others (No 6 comes into its own here!).
9. Engage and share with people
You have already demonstrated that you are a giver in No 6 by sharing links to industry articles and interesting sector information etc. Now you need to take this a stage further and start engaging with others. Get involved with the conversations going on within your network, shown on your news feed. Don't make meaningless comments, add some opinion and in depth answers - start to engage in proper conversations. Your network will see you commenting in this meaningful way, and as I have mentioned a couple of times, it helps build credibility and presence.
Don't be afraid of asking questions, it helps conversation and encourages responses. If you have a large network, and don't know them all personally, then the first thing the person you are engaging with will do, is read your profile. The effect of engaging is driving people back to your profile, and if you have that looking good (you should by now!), then the response will be even better.
I am sorry if this sounds so obvious, but you will be surprised how many people are just reactors when it comes to social networking - pro activity tends to shine out!
10. Network, Network & Network some more
The bigger your network, the more secondary and third level contacts you will be exposing yourself to. Sometimes it isn't the people in your network that are the targets, it is the people that they know that are the targets!
When you are communicating, most people use emails. So have you put all your details in your email signature? Have you included your LinkedIn profile url, or your Facebook profile url or even your @Twitter name? I see many emails every day from job seekers, and I can tell you the answer is most don't do it! So make sure you finish reading this post and fill out yours, it is very easy to do - and then everyone you email will be able to find out all the good stuff about you online.
The searching that you have done in No 7 will put you in contact with some people you should be linking up with on Facebook. Once you have established some credibility (covered in no 7 above), ask to join their network (ie become firends).
As a job seeker, this needs to be a regular function, targeting relevent people and expanding your 'professional' NOT 'social' network.
You could also use Twitter to identify people via many of their search tools - the likelehood is that if people are on Twitter then they will also be on Facebook. Also use LinkedIn to identify suitable 'targets' to network with, again many people on that site will also be on Facebook.
So if you are prepared to invest some time into your networking to find a job, there are no real limits, especially on Facebook.
I hope that as a job seeker or a serial networker, you find this list interesting. There are of course other ways to successfully use Facebook to network to find a job, and I hope you share some others with me below.
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