Social media was once a place for musicians and tweens to hang out online, trade pictures, and gossip in a language that no one over the age of 20 could possibly understand. Its evolution has been swift and wide-reaching. Not only are all businesses now expected to have a social media presence, but sites like Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ are now among the first place people looking for work turn to in order to land a job.
Social media connects people with other people. Leave no stone unturned in your job hunt.
Facebook: Basic Networking
In its purest form, social networking sites do exactly that – pair people with other people. The genius of Facebook is that it allows you to ask dozens or hundreds or thousands of people a question at the same time. A generation ago, you’d call people in your industry for a tip on someone who might be hiring.
Now, you can log on and post, “Hey, I just found out my company is downsizing and I’m going to be cut. Anyone know of a company looking for an experienced, talented graphic designer? Message me.” It’s utterly amazing how many responses you’ll get – especially because your Facebook friends who double as your real-life friends are likely to share it to their wall, which compounds your exposure exponentially.
If you do anything visually, Pinterest should be your secret weapon. From your cover letter to your resume to your online portfolio, Pinterest can be an organized, aesthetically pleasing place to point potential employers. If nothing else, Pinterest is a great place to show what you have done and what you can do.
Twitter: Work the Keywords
Twitter revolutionized communication, and communication is at the core of the job hunt. By exploiting its powerful search tool, you can isolate conversations revolving around not just your specific industry, but your specific industry in your specific location. Once you find those tweets, you can “listen in,” follow relevant people, direct message them, and send out tweets with a hashtag (#) corresponding with a conversation you’d like to have with a potential lead.
While not true social media, Google Alerts is a simple, powerful tool that works for you in the background while you’re out looking for a job. You can set more than one by typing in a string of words like “hiring graphic designers” and “graphic designer jobs in Portland,” hit “set alert,” and any time an item with that phrase is recognized by Google, they will email a link to your inbox so you can check it out. It’s a very underutilized tool.
If there were one social network that was designed with the career hunter in mind, it’s LinkedIn. LinkedIn allows you to connect with pros in your industry, form and join groups, post resumes, share tips, browse for leads, and talk to industry experts. With a quarter of a billion users, LinkedIn is the pre-eminent job-network site – you’d better believe recruiters, employers, and head hunters are scouring it constantly.
Social media is a powerful and under-utilized job-hunting tool.
Social media connects people with other people. if you use it wisely, it can connect you with the potential employer looking for the right worker. Don’t rely on it solely, but without social media, a modern job-hunting strategy isn’t much of a strategy at all.