SEMA News - December 2010

Leveraging the Latest Social Media Tools for Your Next Career Move

By Joe Dysart

  SEMA News-December 2010-Internet
  Linkedin is considered stop one for those looking to social network their next career move 
While groups of any kind naturally lend themselves to job opportunities, social networks can give your next career move a real bounce if used expertly. Not surprisingly, the best places to start are on the networks with millions of users: LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook

LinkedIn is the least famous of the three, but many career counselors believe this community is stop one for job hunters since the network is a serious business community populated by tens of thousands of high-level executives, influential thought leaders and similar sorts who can catapult your career into the stratosphere with a simple recommendation.

Meanwhile, Twitter—the micro-blogging community—is also considered extremely useful, since you can use the service to quickly cut through the chaff and “follow” or associate with only those people who can give your career a boost, give you a recommendation or give you a job. There are also scores of helpful tools on Twitter that have been developed to aid in your job search, including TwitterJobSearch, Twitter Job Finder, TwitterJobCast, TwitHire, TweetMyJobs, @JobAngels and @indeed. Run a “jobs” or “careers” keyword search on the service, and you can keep yourself busy for days.

On Facebook, you’ll also find plenty of career advice as well as access to a community that is half a billion strong and growing. Making connections here can be a virtually limitless and extremely profitable pursuit. It starts with putting a business face on your Facebook page to ensure that you look irresistibly hirable to any and all who come looking.

Putting the word out on Facebook also transforms all of your Facebook friends into prospective connections for that next job, and it turns their friends into, at the very least, potentially interested onlookers.

“The beauty of a Facebook page is that it’s searchable via Google, so when a prospective employer is checking you out, your Facebook page should rank high in the search terms because Facebook pages are quickly indexed,” said Linda Coles, founder of Blue Banana, a marketing training firm that specializes in social media.

As previously mentioned, however, the real crown jewel for job hunters is LinkedIn. Here are some tips from human resources and headhunter pros for establishing and nurturing your presence there:

  • Be Thorough With Your Profile: Many headhunters say that LinkedIn profiles bursting with information about job prospects are the most welcome. That makes sense. The more positive details employers have about you, the easier a hiring decision becomes.
  • Embed All Relevant Career Keywords in Your Profile: Since LinkedIn pages are tracked by Google and other search engines, it’s worth the extra time to ensure that all keywords associated with the employment you’re seeking are a part of the profile you create on LinkedIn.
  • Be Descriptive: Instead of engendering a snooze with your LinkedIn profile headline, punch it up. “Does your professional headline say exactly what you do—the real essence—or does it say ‘Manager at ABC Ltd.’? said Blue Banana’s Coles. “You have 120 characters, so be creative. Try something such as ‘I help manufacture and distribute the tastiest chocolate in the U.S.A.’”
  • Continually Build Your Network: Whether you’re creating a LinkedIn network of only trusted, longtime colleagues or are going for broke for as many associations as possible, power users said that continually building your network on LinkedIn will pay off when you need it most. “Start building it before you need a job, if possible,” said Ken Savage, a web marketer. “You never know who you will meet and what opportunities they will present. Building your social network will save you the time of sitting and talking to recruiters and only having interviews in their offices instead of at the companies you desire.”
  • Give to Get Recommendations: Probably the most treasured nod you can receive on LinkedIn is a recommendation from another professional, graphically represented as a thumbs-up on your profile. Such endorsements are sometimes considered even more valuable than those found on traditional résumés, since it’s very easy for a headhunter or a human resources pro to check out the recommendation, evaluate the network of your endorser and easily and quickly contact your champion by e-mail for more information.
  • Make Personal Connections to Key Human Resources People: Given that LinkedIn is so eminently searchable, you may be able to use a few simple keywords to track down headhunters and human resources people in your industry on the network who are friends of friends. Indeed, many companies give bounties to staff members who recommend friends to their HR departments. “If you search for a job, pay attention to the degrees of distance from you,” Savage said. “Stay within two degrees, and you definitely have a connection at that company.”
  • Join LinkedIn’s Groups: As with many social networks, LinkedIn offers a number of special-interest groups you can join. Groups most associated with your career are an obvious choice. But even groups that have more to do with hobbies or an outside interest can be a boon. In this case, more is more.
  • Start a LinkedIn Group: This is probably one of the easiest ways to demonstrate to potential employers that you’re a self-starter, you know how to show initiative and you have the wherewithal to capture and direct the interest and enthusiasm of others (think executive-level skills). Starting a special-interest group will also ensure that you’re directing your energies to an effort that is most closely associated with your career goals.
  • Participate in “Answers”: LinkedIn’s Answers service—a question-and-answer exchange supported solely by community members—is a great way to get noticed, get remembered and make contacts with other pros in the LinkedIn community whom you may not be able to meet in any other way.
  • Import Your Professional Blog and Twitter Feeds Into LinkedIn: Offering easy access to content you’re generating elsewhere to further your career advancement is easy on LinkedIn. Any tweets you make on Twitter, for example, can be instantly syndicated on LinkedIn by checking a box in your profile. Add a simple link to your blog in your profile, and you’re set.  

Joe Dysart is an Internet speaker and business consultant based in Manhatten, New York.
Voice: 646/233-4089


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