By Sheryl Smolkin
For most people graduating from college or university this spring, getting a job is a top priority. But a job hunt is no longer as simple as reading the want ads and sending out resumés. It’s all about networking and effectively leveraging social media.
One study by Jobvite, a company that sells recruiting software, found the use of social media by recruiters to reach candidates is at an all-time high. Results show that 92% of respondents were using or planned to use social media in 2012, up almost 10% from the 83% using social recruiting in 2010.
LinkedIn is the social media site that is most targeted to business networking. While it may initially appear like simply an online bulletin board for business profiles, it is so much more.
Here are some ways you can use LinkedIn more effectively in your job search.
- Post a complete profile: Make sure your profile is complete. Describe your job experience and education in reverse chronological order. Search for jobs you may be interested in and include key words in your profile that will help recruiters find you. Update your profile including recent projects or work samples regularly.
- Connect with others: Link to everyone you know and everyone they know who may be able to help you. If you want to link to someone you don’t have a relationship with, ask for an introduction from one of your contacts. When “people you may know” pop up on your LinkedIn site, connect to these people where appropriate. I currently have 573 connections that link me with over 6 million people.
- Get recommendations: Ask people you have worked with and for to write brief online recommendations explaining the work you did and how you did it.
- Get endorsements: You can ask a broader group of contacts to click on the skills and expertise related to the key words in your profile to endorse you for those skills. Reciprocate and endorse them for relevant skills.
- Status updates: To keep you top of mind, post regular status updates. Links to articles, conferences and research related to your professional skills will keep you “top of mind” when internal and external recruiters are looking for candidates to fill positions.
- Other social media: LinkedIn now gives you the ability to link your blog post to your profile. You can also post to both LinkedIn and Twitter at the same time. However your twitter post will be cut off if you exceed the 140 character limit.
- Check if a company is hiring: Companies with a LinkedIn page typically post open positions. While you can go directly to the company’s website, it is helpful to be able to do your research all in one place. There may also be information about the last people hired and internal promotions.
- Get to the right HR person: If you are interested in a position, see if you can find someone within the organization in your network who is willing to walk your resumé to the hiring manager or HR department. There may be added incentive if the company pays referral bonuses to employees who help them find a candidate for advertised positions.
- Secret job requirements: Job listings rarely spell out exactly what a hiring manager is looking for. Search for a company name. The results will show you who in your network connects you to the company. If you can find an inside contact, he/she may share the scoop on what is really required for the job.
Even if LinkedIn is your primary social media tool for job hunting, you should check your privacy settings and be very professional at all times on all social media. Recruiters and hiring managers will always Google your name. Pictures of a rowdy party tagging you that were shared by “a friend of a friend” could come back to bite you.
Have you used social media effectively to find a job? Send an email to email@example.com and share your ideas with us. If your story is posted, your name will be entered in a quarterly draw for a gift card. And remember to put a dollar in the retirement savings jar every time you use one of our money-saving ideas.
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