By Sheryl Smolkin
Read this article and comments on moneyville.ca
Looking for a job is a very different exercise now than when I started my career. Very few positions are advertised anywhere except online and recruiters regularly post jobs on social media sites like LinkedIn in and monitor these web sites to find suitable candidates.
That’s why I was immediately interested when social media consultant and founder of Pinetree Advisors Randall Craig recently blogged seven ways to improve a social media job search.
Here is an edited list of his suggestions:
1. Complete your LinkedIn profile: Get on LinkedIn. Fully describe your education and employment history. Outline your experience. Get references from former employers and co-workers. Use descriptive keywords so that you can be found when searches are conducted by recruiters or employers.
2. Clean up your act: It’s up to you to manage your personal brand proactively and strategically. Google your name and see what comes up. If there is something you don’t want a future employer to see, find out if you can delete the information. Make sure you share Facebook content only with friends and get rid of albums of pictures from your last high school or college drunken bash.
3. Do your research: Before meeting with any networking contact or attending a job interview, search for the person in LinkedIn to identify any common relationships. Instead of clicking “connect,” pick up the telephone and ask your connection about the person you are going to meet. This will be a significant advantage for when you meet, and also strengthen your relationship with your connection.
4. Stay up to speed: Keep up-to-date with the latest issues and trends in your industry, through LinkedIn groups, by following thought-leaders on Twitter, by monitoring Twitter hashtags and participating in web discussion groups. Nothing shouts relevance more than a person who understands the issues, and their impact.
5. Strategic status updates: Most Social Media sites, including Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn allow status updates. Instead of being verbose (and perhaps irrelevant), use your tweets and updates to showcase your value and connections. I tweet links to all of my Moneyville articles plus other media interviews and article. They are automatically reposted to LinkedIn.
6. Start a blog: Social Media and your resume have one thing in common – they show what you have done. A blog speaks to how you think, and allows your network to understand the depth of your expertise. While there are downsides to a blog (time commitment, writing quality, etc), it can improve your profile significantly. A simple blog where you write 3-4 paragraphs weekly is all that is necessary to gain these benefits.
7. Monitor and respond: Listen to what is happening on the web using monitoring tools including Google Alerts (for news pages on Google), and Hootsuite (for the latest status updates). Beyond monitoring your own name, monitor positions requiring your expertise, target companies, and key industry terminology. Finding out what is happening in real time means that you can be the first to share that news with your network… or the interviewer.
Related: Randall Craig’s Weekly tipsheet
I spent most of my career in the pension and benefits consulting industry. Over the last five years this industry has seen several high profile mergers and a lot of people have moved around. By checking and posting to LinkedIn regularly, I have been able to keep track of many former business associates, some of whom have asked me take on interesting and lucrative projects.
Using social media to stay touch with your former classmates, co-workers or employers is definitely worth a few hours a week. If you are top of mind when a position opens up, you may be the first person called even before the job is posted.