It's no secret that posting a profile on LinkedIn can give you credibility and boost your job chances. And Facebook and Twitter can be great job search tools. In fact, research shows that company reps are out there on the Internet looking for you. A July 15, 2010, article by Susan Gunelis in Forbes.com says that 90 percent of companies are using LinkedIn to find job candidates and 55 percent use Facebook, while 45 percent use Twitter.
An active profile and good, up-to-date referrals are especially helpful. Jobvite.com, a company that helps job candidates using social networks, reinforces that thought. "Employee referrals are the highest quality hires," CEO Dan Finnegan says. "They last the longest, have the best match with expectations and churn the least."
So how do you put social media to use as you search for a job?
Do some research. Use the networks to find out who's hiring and who has the environment and culture you would like to be part of. Companies use different social networks for different purposes. For example, most corporate business owners, officers and board members have LinkedIn profiles. You can learn about their background, work history and how they rose up the ranks. Many companies use Facebook to promote corporate culture. Some post jobs, and most post pictures, video and audio about products and services, internal company activities and their community involvement. Some businesses tweet looking for candidates with special skills and abilities, and some send direct tweets to potential candidates.
Create a compelling, up-to-date profile about yourself on LinkedIn. Get referrals from past employers, people who have worked on volunteer projects with you, and even from your professors if you are recently out of college.
Clean up your Facebook page and get rid of any pictures, comments or anything you wouldn't want a potential employer to see.
Use online "friends" and groups to research which jobs are hot, to find job postings, and read discussions to learn what employers are looking for. Then make contacts.
Frame yourself as an "expert," if possible. Tailor your presentation to show that you possess the experience and the skills your target companies are looking for. Talk about the projects you've worked on successfully or the quantitative results you've brought about for a company. Also, what research have you initiated, what were the results, and how can they help your prospective employer? Have you published (online or in print)? More and more human resources professionals and recruiters are using the Internet to look for employees. It's time you put the social networks to work for you!
Marie Stempinski is the founder and president of Strategic Communication in St. Petersburg. She specializes in public relations, marketing, business trends and employee motivation consulting. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or through her website, www. howtomotivateemployees.org.