Long before Facebook and the rest of the social media world took the universe by storm, networking was one of the best ways to find a job. Back then, an important part of your plan was to meet as many people as possible, hoping that one or more of them would be able to help you land the professional position you were seeking.
Not all that much has changed since the emergence of social media. Now, instead of meeting people face-to-face, over the phone or through the mail, you can connect with them using Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Twitter and Pinterest. The rules are a little different – you have to be a lot more careful about what you post online than you were about what you said during a telephone conversation – but the general idea is the same: The more people you know, the better chance you have of landing the job you really want.
Before You Begin
Before you begin your job search, you should examine your Facebook page and, if necessary, do some housekeeping. Get rid of any photos or updates you or your friends have posted that might be considered vulgar, offensive or inappropriate.
Since your goal is to present a professional image, it might be easier to establish a separate Facebook profile than to whitewash your current one. Moreover, if you can guide potential employers to your “professional” site with a direct link on your resume, you reduce the chances that they will search for you and stumble upon something you may prefer they avoid.
A Serious Person
Now that the world sees you as a serious person, your next move should be to post your resume so potential employers know you are in the market for a job. Your profile should include information about work history, education and what type of job you seek. If possible, you should include samples of your work. For instance, if you are a writer, give potential employers the opportunity to read a few articles you’ve written, even if they haven’t been published yet.
Using Facebook’s Tools
Once you’ve remade your page into a useful job-seeking tool, you can begin using some of the tools Facebook offers. For example, you can search for groups or fan pages related to the industry that interests you, and you can ask people who have posted about what’s going on in that industry to be your friends.
In addition, you can join professionals associations and participate in the discussions posted by other members. It helps to find businesses that have Facebook pages. You can let them know you are looking for work and provide them with information about your experience and education.
Most important, you can build your network and encourage the people who know you best to leave positive comments about you on your Facebook wall.
Other Highway Lanes
Facebook gets the most publicity, but it’s not the only lane on the social media highway. LinkedIn allows you to connect with a wide range of people you know and people they know. You can search for a specific company and find out if your business contacts are connected to people who work for that company. If so, you can ask for an online introduction. You might want to email everyone in your LinkedIn network to let them know you are in the job market, and you will have the ability to link your blog to your LinkedIn profile.
You can find out about job openings on Twitter simply by networking with people who share the same interests as you. Some of your connections might pass on news about job openings to you. After all, you never know when someone you are following on Twitter or someone who is following you might be able to help you land a job.
And don’t forget about Pinterest, which provides a quick and easy way to post resumes and portfolios – an especially helpful bonus for illustrators, fashion designers, photographers and graphic designers.
Using Social Media to Find a Job
Don’t be shy – Let people know you are looking for a job. There might not be any immediate openings, but your friends and acquaintances will think of you if a position opens up.
Facebook is for fun and business – Don’t ignore your networking possibilities on Facebook.
Who is doing the hiring? – Before you apply for a job, try to find out who the hiring manager is by using LinkedIn and Twitter. Any information you can come up with will help you put together a top-notch cover letter.
A more useful resume – Add the URL for your LinkedIn profile and Twitter handle to your resume. This will give the employer another way to get in touch with you, but it also will show him that you know your way around the world of social media, a skill that might help you get a job.
Google yourself – Creating a LinkedIn profile and becoming active on the LinkedIn network will help your Google ratings, which might enhance your employment possibilities. Potential employers will almost certainly Google you as well.
And while we’re on the subject of Google, create a Google+ profile and link it to your blog or website where you have posted your resume. Then, you can join Google+ Circles for the various areas of employment that interest you. The more you connect, the better your chances.
Meeting people in person is still a good idea if you are in the market for a job. However, you can enhance your job search by taking advantage of all the opportunities available in the world of social media. Besides, you’re looking for a gig in PR, right? What better way to get started than to get out there and relate to your public!
Have you or any of your friends ever landed a job through a social media connection?
Erin Schwartz is a regular contributor to the blog at www.123Print.com, a company that provides customizable print products for business and individuals.