When it comes to Social Media we immediately think of more entertainment focused sites like Facebook and Pinterest. What a lot of job hunters don’t know is how relevant various Social Media platforms can be in the employment hunting process. Indeed, a well rounded job search needs to incorporate a concerted and dedicated social media strategy.
LinkedIn (www.LinkedIn.com) is fast becoming not only a necessary job search tool but it is the perfect online networking platform. Think Facebook for business. Perhaps the easiest way to describe LinkedIn is as an online résumé with a built in capability allowing users to join industry and interest specific groups. Members can then post messages to other group followers and receive regular summaries of recent posts. Where hard or soft copy résumés are suggested to be no longer than 2 to 3 pages, you can fill your LinkedIn profile with a plethora of added details about past experience and education, interests and even books you are reading. Colleagues, business associates or clients can even add recommendations to your profile.
Recruiters have long seen the value of LinkedIn as a search tool and I doubt that many candidate searches begin without looking at LinkedIn as a primary step. Joining LinkedIn is free and while there is an option to pay a monthly fee for expanded access to various services, the basic membership can serve you well. Once you have joined and created your profile, be sure to add your LinkedIn address to the contact details section of your hard and soft copy résumé.
This morning I received my weekly update from ‘Ex Canadian Forces,’ one of the LinkedIn groups I’m a member of. Another member posted a message yesterday indicating that he just retired from the Forces as a Logistics Officer and is seeking civilian employment in the same field in or near the Ottawa region. I immediately contacted him, asked for his résumé and told him a colleague in Ottawa is frequently looking for Logistics and Distribution professionals for clients she works for. Within minutes we were communicating via email and shortly thereafter I forwarded his résumé on for him. We’ll have to see what happens but very quickly, through the networking capabilities of LinkedIn, his résumé was in the hands of a recruitment specialist working within the industry and city he is interested in.
It’s hard to watch television today and not see a presenter’s caption include a Twitter handle. Normally it is their name preceded by the @ sign. Most people tend to think, and with good reason, that Twitter.com is an online micro-blog allowing users to promote themselves in 140 characters or less or to tell the world where they are eating lunch! In many instances this is true. Recent experience however is showing that Twitter is fast becoming a popular job and candidate search resource. From a job seeker’s perspective what is interesting is both the Profile users create and the use of hashtags (#) placed before certain key words in Twitter updates. Recruiters are becoming increasingly proficient in searching for candidates within Twitter and will sift through Profiles and launch searches for various keywords relevant to the position they are hiring for. If you hashtag #Engineer in a tweet for example there is a possibility it will show up in the results of a recruiter’s search for an #Engineer. Like LinkedIn, Twitter is completely free and affords you not only the opportunity to promote yourself but it gives you the ability to follow a number of other users including corporate and agency recruiters posting openings they have.
Clearly job hunting today poses unique challenges and is not what it used to be. There is still a lot to be said for pounding the pavement and dropping résumés off but there is most definitely a shift occurring. Becoming familiar with how Social Media can enhance our job seeking efforts does take a little time but it is time well spent. Recruiters are spending more and more time in this ‘space’ and meeting them here can save a lot of pavement time.