Job Search Need to Know

Baby steps in using social media for mature job seekers

One of the very first things you will notice when looking for new jobs is that today's job search doesn’t look anything like that of previous decades. To stand out in the modern ultra-competitive job market today, it is very useful to learn some fundamentals about social media.

Social media is like a “new frontier” that helps people and companies broadcast their messages and connect with each other.   It can be helpful to be a little curious to see how it can benefit you and you are likely to develop some valuable skills in the process.

The old ways of job search boards and printed advertisements in newspapers have been supplanted by the considerable leap in technology with the world wide web.  This started with companies having their own websites and job applicants having their own Facebook pages.  Hiring managers soon realized that social media could be a benefit to them in the hiring process.  As most people are on social media now, hiring managers shortcut their process by looking at the social media pages of their job applicants to identify whether that person would be a “good fit” for their organization.

Individual social media pages, such as Facebook, have become an online diary for people to express who they are, what interests them and what organizations they “follow” or get updates from.   Companies also have Facebook pages to spread information about their company and new products or services.

You may discover that using social media to find a job may be rewarding, as you are learning to connect with more people about subjects that interest you, such as your industry, sports and hobbies.  Be careful about what photos you upload and comments you share to ensure you and others are seen in a positive light.  It is best not to add political comments as it may be offensive to potential hiring managers.

While traditional job search websites are still valuable, knowing how to use social media as a mature job seeker gives you an added advantage.  It is an important asset to be seen as having some knowledge of online technology as most companies use technology in their day-to-day functions.

Here are some social media platforms and how they can be used for your job search.

LinkedIn

The most important social media job search platform for all job seekers is LinkedIn.  If you have a LinkedIn profile already, then you are helping your job search immensely.  Add the link to your LinkedIn profile to the contact details section at the top of your resume.  

If you are not familiar with LinkedIn already, it is time you join the family!  In either case, you will be needing more than just a regular profile to get the most benefits from this powerful professional platform. Why is it powerful?  Because, apart from its abilities as a networking tool, the famous LinkedIn can help you to research business organizations which you have had your eye on for a long time.

Also, it may enable you to determine the best individuals to contact at those business organizations, and it will display contacts existing in your network who might be useful in serving as a link to these new connections.   You can send messages to those contacts asking them for information about any opportunities at their organization and some may be willing to refer you directly to the Hiring Manager.  This can shortcut the hiring process if they have a vacant position that you would be suitable for.

Research is a vital first step because, as soon as you know what makes a certain company tick, you can see how you can add value to their all-important mission or bottom line.

Developing your LinkedIn credentials is best accomplished piecemeal.  Your current resume can stand as a framework to kick-start your inclusion of experience, education, and skills on your given LinkedIn profile.  Want to really stay ahead of your game?  Add organizations you have joined, talk about the work you do, causes you champion, and conclude with a simple summary that grabs the reader’s attention by highlighting your own “brand” or specialty area of competence.  Ensuring consistency between your LinkedIn profile and resume information is very important because hiring managers and recruiters will be making use of both platforms in making decisions about your hire.

The next step will be to send out invitations to “Link In” with people you know – not just those you think may be beneficial to you in your job hunt.  Most opportunities are found via second and third-degree connections, and you would be amazed at who knows who.  When sending out invitations to connect, personalize LinkedIn’s boilerplate message field to shortly explain to key connections on how you may know each other.

Maintain your career significance by employing important characteristics that come with the LinkedIn platform. When finding professional groups and companies that interest you, use the LinkedIn search bar and ask to “join” or “follow” these communities.  These communities often have online discussions about certain topics of interest that the group represents.  The major advantage of this is that as soon as you have ‘joined’, group members may be more open to being contacted by others within the group.  There may be individuals in a group who work at organizations you may be interested in working for.

If you have expert knowledge or experience, joining groups and sharing insights in the online community will help to establish you as a person who can add extra value to an organization.

Facebook

If you think that your job-seeking on social media begins and ends with LinkedIn, then you’re mistaken. Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ can also help you scout for brand new opportunities.  You can use your Facebook page to your career advantage as employers are on Facebook too, scouting for new recruits.

Just like other social media platforms, Facebook can also link you to potential connections via their Facebook Group features.  There are communities on a Facebook group that cover all types of topics.  By typing keywords into the provided search box, you can discover a whole new online world of shared interests and information, some of which may have a business or professional focus.  

Additionally, business enterprises with company Facebook pages utilize them in promoting their greatest and latest services and products, while posting news and videos about their business. It even lets you communicate with other company customers and ‘fans’.  This information, both formal and informal, can help you stay ahead of developments in your industry and new opportunities.

Twitter

Twitter is another social media platform which has been used for job search. The actual nature of Twitter is that a lot of opportunities come and go at lightning speed.   To get the most benefit you have to be an active subscriber, reading and commenting on the comments or “posts” of others, and showcasing your professional knowledge or expertise.  Your username can reveal an interest or skill (such as Doglover12).  Job seekers benefit most from using their actual name and a short bio that suits the type of job you are seeking as it helps hiring managers to find you.  Unlike other social media platforms such as LinkedIn, which is more formal in nature, you can display a little personality on your Twitter bio.

When using social media as part of your job-seeking process in Twitter or Facebook, position yourself for greater success by following new sites, industry blogs and industry leaders.  When something seems to you as shareable, useful or funny, you can go ahead and repost it.  Since everyone following you may get to read what you post, maintain a sound, professional tone and channel your posts to subjects that are in line with your field or industry.

Social media can be a new job search friend to help you become more known to potential employers.  You are likely to have a friend or relative who is already well-skilled in this area.  Ask them to help you set up a profile, join some organizations and even write a “post”.  It may seem frivolous, but it can be a valuable use of your time and greatly improve your job search results.