Social media widely expands your potential network. Instead of only having your friends and family to reach out to as contacts, social media allows you to see the friends and family of all of your connections. You can see who they are, where they work and how you know them. Social media also allows you to make a more personal connection with a potential employer who may not recruit on campus or be near your current location. By following them on social media and interacting with them, you are able to get their attention in a way that you wouldn’t previously be able to.
Multiple networking sites can be used to link to contacts to aid in your job search. Some are more professional based and others are more social based, but either can be used to fit your needs. You just have to be aware of your audience. Two useful networking sites are: LinkedIn and Twitter.
LinkedIn – www.linkedin.com
If you're not already on LinkedIn, you definitely need to be. It allows you to see profiles of anyone else on LinkedIn, and gives you ways to connect to them. There are a few ways you can use LinkedIn in a job search:
- Company Search - One of the best ways to use LinkedIn is if you have a very specific company you are interested in. You search on that company, and hopefully find people who are connected to other people you know. Then, you can ask your personal contact to connect you. It also allows employers to post jobs on the site. The jobs are usually high quality, professional jobs.
- Recommendations – Since LinkedIn lists your professional experience, you can use your connections to recommend your current or prior work. This helps your credibility and adds a personal or professional reference aspect to your profile.
Twitter – www.twitter.com
The best part of Twitter is that it allows you to connect with people you don't know, based on common interests. You can search topics or keywords based on your search, as well.
- Basic Networking – You are able to connect to people who are involved in areas you have interest. Send a tweet to people you have met on Twitter, and at times within minutes receive information about your question.
- Job Postings – Several companies or groups will post jobs that you may not otherwise have heard about. Recruiters at times use the networking site as quick ways to list available positions.
- Connecting – In the feed, if you find someone who looks like they work somewhere you might be interested in, or may connect you to others, you can get in touch with them. For the most part, everyone is very open to meeting or talking.
- Companies – A very useful tool is: Twellow, which actually searches people's bios and URLs on their bios. You can run a search for a company and it will populate people who have Twitter profiles.
- A big tip – If your Twitter name is your name, it will help in your search engine results.
The thing to note about networking is you cannot be shy. You have to seek out who you want and introduce yourself. However, as always with social networking and social media in general, remember that whatever you post is visible to your connections and the public on some sites. Some companies use your profile to “research” you prior to deciding whether to interview you.
So get connected and increase your network and your job search results!
"Finding a Job - Using Social Media: Intro." Columbia University Center for Career Education. Columbia University, n.d. Web. 18 Feb. 2014.
Levy, Rachel. "How to Use Social Media in Your Job Search." About.com Job Searching. About.com, n.d. Web. 18 Feb. 2014.