The traditional job-search approach of submitting your resume and praying that you get a response is becoming irrelevant in a world where we’re all connected through a mouse and a keyboard. On the other hand, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says that most jobs are landed, at least in part, through networking. The Internet has created an environment where hiring managers and CEOs are accessible, without requiring that you go through human resources or a PR department. The Internet is the global talent pool and a place where you can be discovered.
Here are five secrets on how to use social networks to score your next job:
1. Build a branded profile
You need to establish your online personal brand on the right social networks, and create either your own blog or a website, depending on the amount of time you can invest. Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are the three networks you can’t avoid, but there are others that you should join based on your industry. For instance, join ActiveRain.com if you want to get into real estate, and Lawyrs.net if you want to be a lawyer. All of your profiles should have the same name, picture, and description, in order to identify you in each community. In your bio, on Twitter for instance, write about your dream job. This way, people will know what you’re passionate about and the type of jobs you’re looking for. Since you’re using specific keywords in your profiles, you’ll receive only opportunities that are linked to your interests, and avoid ones that aren’t. Think of your profiles as filters, attracting the jobs that get you excited, and repelling the one’s that would make you miserable.
2. Be specific
Please don’t apply for jobs for the sake of doing it. The most successful job seekers online know exactly what they want to do with their career, and look at each job as a step on the ladder. Start by identifying the company you want to work for, then identify the position that would interest you there, and think about the location(s) where you would want to live. Then use Twellow.com to search for employees who work at your top five companies, and create a Twitter list identifying them as the people you want to interact with regularly. The lists should be divided into “Company A,” “Company B,” and so on. The more specific you are when selecting people to follow, the more luck you’ll have when you start engaging them in the public Twitter environment.
3. Promote your job search
If people don’t know that you’re an active job seeker, then how can they support your job search?! Even if you’ve told people in person that you’re looking for a job, you need to put that information into words online so that people can find it–and forward it to their own networks. For instance, on Twitter, even if your followers can’t offer you an interview, their followers might. If you’ve contributed value to your community, then a portion of your followers will return the favor by evangelizing your job search with retweets. Tell people that you’re looking for a specific job in a certain location, and you never know where it could lead to. Of course, if you haven’t built your online network before you need it, you won’t receive much support, regardless of what you tweet.
4. Be proactive
Aside from building your online brand, stacking it with keywords, and then hoping that people will find you, you need to be aggressive. If you want a job, go and get it before someone else does! In Jessie Morris’s case, she saw a job posting on Twitter and emailed the company directly because they weren’t following her account. By being the right person with the right skills at the right time, she became a PR consultant with Fuller, an Australia-based company. Emily Crume, on the other hand, was keeping tabs on her LinkedIn network and noticed that one of her colleagues moved to Digg.com, and after reconnecting, the conversation soon became a job offer for a senior account executive position. Being proactive tells employers that you’re serious about a position.
5. Get creative
You’ve probably heard of people wearing T-shirts with resumes printed on them, or creating “please hire me” websites. Liana DiIorio, a recent graduate of Southern New Hampshire University, was tired of being rejected by Mullen, a Boston-based ad agency, so she created a video series on Facebook called “40 Days of Mullen.” Although she hasn’t landed a job after day nine, wouldn’t you hire someone who is that passionate and determined to work at your company (Mullen, I hope you’re reading this!)? Another creative example comes from Pat Bennett, who was sick and tired of job searching after a whole year. The company 1-800-Bakery.com created a cookie with her picture on it, and when she delivered it to Chico’s, they were so impressed that they hired her to be an assistant store manager.