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5 Ways to Use Social Media to Find a Job

If you’re like most Americans today, you have a Facebook and/or Twitter account.

And, let’s be honest, it’s easy to become sidetracked when browsing around these social media Web sites. Whether you’re browsing friends’ pictures or talking trash to your buddies about the chase for the fantasy football championship, productivity can get lost in the shuffle if you don’t keep track of time.

Not all time on social media Web sites has to be wasted, though.

In fact, some of these channels can be effectively utilized to find jobs. Students studying for online degree programs, welcome to the digital era, where just about every company/organization is on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Use it to your advantage, job seekers.

Here are five ways to use social media to find a job. Users can sign up for all of the following networks free of charge.

1. Embrace LinkedIn: I’ve found LinkedIn to be the most helpful social media avenue for finding new jobs. The Web site is business-oriented by nature and designed to build professional networks. Employers post job openings on the Web site’s ‘jobs’ tab, a great resource that allows for searches by title, keyword or company name.

Another benefit of LinkedIn is the recommendations feature. There’s a space on the Web site that allows current or former co-workers to write recommendations that are visible to any potential employer.  

2. Network on Twitter: Think of Twitter as a job board that provides the inside scoop on specific opportunities. Many companies post job opportunities to Twitter days before they hit corporate Web sites or career Web sites like CareerBuilder and Monster. And, in a competitive job market, it’s better to submit your cover letter and resume early in the process.

The other advantage of Twitter is the ability to directly connect with potential employers via at-replies. Be careful when taking this route. You don’t want to contact a company and simply ask for a job. That’s too random and probably won’t generate a response. Instead, establish a relationship with the company. Tell them about a product or service they offer that you like or admire, and then end the post with a meaningful question. This way, if and when a job opens up, you have a connection. Job seeking is all about connections.

3. Use Facebook for more than keeping up with friends: Yes, it’s possible. BeKnown, for instance, is a Facebook application that allows for job seekers to connect professionally on Facebook without mixing business and friends. Your activity on BeKnown does not show up on your profile. Give it a shot.

It’s also smart to keep your Facebook profile clean. There’s a good chance if potential employers are serious about hiring you, they are going to check your Facebook page. Don’t litter your Facebook profile with obscenities or wild pictures if you’re serious about getting hired.

4. Keep up with trends: Job seekers want to be ahead of the curve when it comes to new developments in social media. Enter Google+, the newest popular channel of social media that’s sure to take off in the next year. Google+ just launched this summer, and has already reached 40 million users (Facebook, for reference, has more than 800 million users). Check out the Google+ ‘circles,’ feature, which enables users to organize groups of people for content sharing. Business/company accounts and job listings do not exist on Google+. Not yet, at least. Be prepared for when this happens by becoming familiar with the Web site in the meantime. 

5. Update your professional information: Be sure to update your professional info for each social media page you have. Treat this information as an extended resume. When your name is tossed around by companies for consideration, hiring managers will likely start with a simple Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn search. Greet your potential employers with updated and fresh information. Think about recording a 30-second video that quickly captures your skill-set and experience. Sounds cheesy, perhaps, but companies are saving boatloads of money right now in tough economic times by recruiting with social media.

Contributed by Eric Sorrentino, Grantham University

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