Social media sites continue to evolve. Some that are popular today may be replaced by new technologies in the future.
As social media sites are playing an increasing role in the job search, it is important to keep up with the latest technologies and how they can help you.
Your local WorkForce Center can help you stay current in terms of websites and other Web-based resources.
Social networking services such as LinkedIn and Facebook are Web-based platforms that unite people with similar interests, tastes and professions.
Facebook and Twitter, two of the most popular networks, function mainly as a medium for people to communicate with old friends and acquaintances. But that role is steadily evolving to include discussions and groups related to careers. LinkedIn, on the other hand, focuses entirely on people in the business community.
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In general, social networking services first ask you to create a profile that has information about your interests and activities, career and education. Once you have filled out a basic profile, you can search for people you know using search tools provided by the service. You can request that certain people become a part of your network, and they can accept or reject the offer.
If you are trying social networking for the first time, it's a good idea to start small. Log on, find friends and acquaintances, and begin sharing meaningful tidbits from your life or job search.
Skip useless information about what you ate today or anything that doesn't add value to your job search. You can post photographs, links to articles, videos and other content related to your career or personal interest. These are far more valuable to your social network.
Job seekers can use social networking as a job search tool. Connecting through the Internet may relieve some of the stress of traditional face-to-face networking because it can be easier to communicate through a typed message than to call someone you don't know very well. When you make a networking connection in person, ask if they use a social networking service and would like to connect that way.
Social networks also offer a way for you to build your personal brand. By having accounts on major social media sites you can build an image for yourself as an expert in a field and an intriguing personality.
It's wise to keep your image on social networking sites professional. Some studies show as many as 80 percent of employers look at your social networking profiles to see how you act beyond the interview.
Don't let this scare you away from using these tools since social networking services are a great way to create new contacts and keep in touch with old ones.
Facebook is by far the largest social media platform. Primarily, Facebook connects friends and colleagues with one another and provides spaces for conversations, videos, photographs and, of course, profiles of users.
More and more, Facebook has drifted into the business arena through the interest of users and through the development of third-party applications that assist in finding jobs.
One of those applications, Advanced Search, allows a user to find profiles of people who attended a certain college, who once worked at a particular company or who live in your community. You can even search for people by location, age and first name in case you ve forgotten their surnames.
In an effort to get to know their job applicants, employers often look at Facebook accounts of applicants. In one CareerBuilder survey, 35 percent of companies reported not hiring someone because of what was found on a social networking site. It is wise to post only comments and images on Facebook and other social media sites that you would want your prospective boss to see.
LinkedIn is a social networking site specifically for connecting with other business and individuals. It will be key to your social networking strategy because it deals with people in business looking for information about business.
The network provides an important user base for job seekers, according to an Anderson Analytics survey, which found 66 percent of LinkedIn participants are decision makers. Of those, 16 percent are managers and 28 percent serve at the director/vice-president level or above.
Job seekers can establish a professional presence online by creating a resume, gaining recommendations and answering questions. There is also a job board that allows groups and businesses to post openings.
The most important item to remember about LinkedIn is that simply creating a profile will not help you make the connections to find a job. You must interact and create valuable content and connections to resonate with employers and other members alike.
LinkedIn assists you in establishing connections with coworkers at past jobs, former managers, and your network of friends and acquaintances. You can use LinkedIn to remind them of your availability for employment and to share with them your insights on industries or events or information on business issues.
Those members, in turn, can assist you in linking to members you may not know but who could have jobs in their businesses or be aware of openings elsewhere. It s also a good idea to join LinkedIn alumni, special interest and industry groups.
They all have engaged members on the network and they sometimes discuss various job openings. Having connections won t get you the position, but joining groups and offering meaningful answers to questions will call attention to your expertise and showcase your value.
Twitter is a micro-blogging social media platform allowing members to follow one another and send messages no longer than 140 characters, or around two sentences.
Politicians promote their ideas to constituents, news organizations give information about stories as they develop, celebrities keep fans updated on their lives, and regular folks reveal, well, anything they want, from their passions to what’s up with their kids. The tweet, as a message is called, often refers to a longer article, video or photo gallery.
Twitter can enhance a job search in several ways, but savvy job seekers primarily use it as a networking tool. These short, real time messages provide a perfect electronic platform to let people know you are looking for a job — and to establish yourself as a valuable candidate for the jobs you seek.
Take it from Barbara Maldonado, who told CNNMoney.com about her success using Twitter to network her way to a new job. “When I updated my status that I had been laid off, [a friend] referred me for a position that was open at his company, which is where I work now … Without actively participating in that discussion, I would not have made the contact for the job.”
You could use Twitter to refer your followers to your LinkedIn page, to inform them you recently graduated from a college, or to tweet about things going on in your career. You can participate and impress employers and people in your network by linking to articles or grabbing relevant quotes on your industry.
As it stands today, Twitter is much easier to use as a networking tool than as a hub for job leads. However, new ways to find solid job leads on this medium are emerging every day. Check with your local WorkForce Center for up-to-date resources for conducting job searches on the Web.