Social networking tips for jobseekers

So you have a Twitter account, Facebook page and a LinkedIn profile. Are you using them as tools to help you to get re-employed? Or is your online presence creating the wrong personal brand/image and eliminating you from contention for being seriously considered as a candidate?

Consider this, from a potential employer's frame of reference – if he can find and read all of this information about you, so can his boss and his company’s best client. So he must be very cognizant of the image you have chosen to portray online. If what can easily be seen or read about you online might embarrass his company, why would he consider hiring you?

So, how can you avoid a personal online disaster and use the digital universe to your advantage? Here are a few tips that might wind up being game-changers for you:

• First and foremost, take an “inventory” of your social media accounts. Look at each as though YOU were the hiring manager looking at “you,” the candidate. What would be your first (and lasting) impression of this “candidate”?

• Don’t just add people to your LinkedIn profile to pump up the number of connections. Hiring mangers will look at your connections to see who is in your network. Are you surrounding yourself with strong business/professional contacts or “just anyone”? Quality vs. quantity here, folks.

• Join industry-related groups on LinkedIn. Comment regularly on discussion topics of interest that can provide you an opportunity to be viewed/perceived as an industry expert and thought leader.

• Search for good industry-related blogs and get to know the authors. Add them to your LinkedIn connections. You never know who these folks might have in their networks that might be able to help you get your foot in the door of a targeted employer.

• It’s OK to ask people to recommend you on LinkedIn. Ask the people who are willing to recommend you to focus their comments on a particular accomplishment, which demonstrates a high proficiency with a specific skill set. Over time, these recommendations from former co-workers, supervisors and clients will tell a pretty complete story about how you are able to apply multiple skills to produce exceptional results.

• Use the “Advanced Search” option in LinkedIn to look for employees of your target companies who have a profile. Find those people who are connected to your connections, then pick up the phone and ask the person in your network to arrange for an introduction.

Remember, nothing ever really gets deleted from the Internet. Pictures, videos, emails – these things “live” forever in the digital world. Think at least twice before you hit Send or “Post” – think about what your post is telling someone about you.

Clearly the bottom line in all of this is to use these tools, and use them effectively. The only required investment is your time. To become a proficient user of social media is relatively easy. And, such proficiency goes a long way to getting your name on the short list of finalists for job opportunities.

Michael Perry

Mike Perry is a frequent speaker at Bay Jobseekers meetings.

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Volume 3, Issue 6, Posted 9:57 AM, 03.22.2011