Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Social Media & Job Search

I am posting this thought on using social media for your job or career search today because I continue to see articles that are either/or oriented on the topic of social media in any realm. Social or Digital Technologies are increasingly taking over traditional job search methods but they are tools, they require deliberate action to be useful. Making the best use of your time and achieving the best results in your search depends on your approach. The following was a comment I made on the BCHRMA LinkedIn Group recently and is likely to appear on the blog as well.

A job seeker can effectively use social networks as one type of tool to be found by recruiters and provide additional sources of job leads. I am not even looking for a job with an organization. I was contacted by several recruiters (both internal and external) over the last year asking if I would be interested in discussing a position. I have also found some of my current work projects directly from using social networks. This suggests that if you are looking for a job and you use the tools effectively it can be an aid to your overall job search strategy.

It helps to remember that digital technology = tools. How we use them determines the results we achieve. If you have not used any of the tools (if you are reading this then you are using LinkedIn) yet in your job search, take the time to learn as much as you can about using the tools for the best results for you. Which networks you use and your approach will depend on what type of job you are looking for. There is a lot of 'advice' available but be sure that you know the credentials of the person posting the advice, that it aligns with the industry, skills, career goals that you specifically are working towards and that what you find when doing research matches that advice. There is some really great advice and some not so great-again it depends on your specific needs. If anything the growth of the use of social/digital technologies in the job/career arena has offered not just a broader reach but also the opportunity to tailor your job search and approach or strategy effectively.

Connecting 'in real life' is also important, look for MeetUp groups in your area that relate to your profession or industry and join them. If you don't find one in your career area consider starting your own. Attend meetings and develop your skills -this will help you in interviews later-practicing talking about what we do really helps when the pressure of an interview is upon us. If there is a professional association for your career check out what they might offer and get to know people in those associations. Take a look at Rapid Times Network- they have multiple network groups and while most of the members are business owners/entrepreneurs-they are connected, they hire people, they offer opportunities and advice. The more options you get active in the more opportunities will show up for you.

Mentor: see if you can find a mentor, this also helps you focus your job search, understand what is considered important by the organizations you are interested in working for and can guide your career over time.

All of this takes time, a lot of time, and it is a learning process. It is worth it.