Launch Your Job Search 2.0
When was the last time you looked for a job? Did you mail out paper resumes? Apply to postings on megasites such as monster.com and careerbuilder.com?
It's time to try some new tactics. I suggest that you upgrade your online presence so that you are prepared for Job Search 2.0.
This is not the job search you conducted even five years ago. I define Job Search 2.0 as launching an all-out press using social media networks to strategically find the right opportunity. That means using LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook and understanding how recruiters are using social media networks to find qualified job candidates.
LinkedIn has a reputation as a recruitment tool. But now Twitter and Facebook--once used mainly for finding old high school chums and letting people know what you're reading--also can help with your midlife career switch. According to the 2009 Jobvite Social Recruitment Survey, employers and recruiters are using social networks more than ever before:
• 80 percent use or plan to use social networking to source candidates
• 77 percent use social networks to find passive (employed and not looking) candidates
• 76 percent plan to invest more in employee referrals
• 46 percent will spend more on social networking
• 36 percent will spend less on job boards
Why has social networking become so important in the recruitment process? Here are three simple reasons: Social media offers lower costs and increased access to higher-quality candidates for employers, and access to more targeted opportunities for job seekers.
Social Networking Job Search: A Case Study
Andrea Green, 43, says it only took her a month to land a job in a new town using the social media networking site LinkedIn.
She had a job in Lafayette, La., but was looking for fresh start in Washington, D.C. Before packing her bags, her first task was to find a job in her target city. She started her search by completing her LinkedIn profile, which means she secured three online recommendations to get a 100 percent complete profile.
Next, she searched LinkedIn groups related to her field of project management. Initially, her search turned up way too many groups, so she narrowed her focus to her target city. Of the 25 groups that turned up, she joined three. "I researched these groups to see if any of them had job boards, and I posted notices that I was looking for a position," Green says. "I was also able to apply for eight jobs directly."
She scanned group participants and invited them to join her network. "I would reach out by sending a message through LinkedIn reminding them that I was a member of their group. I would ask them about the job market in their town. I found people really helpful--even recruiters who didn't have positions would give advice and share contacts."
Within four weeks of her initial posting, Green received a message from someone in her extended LinkedIn network pointing her to a recruiter who had project management openings in the D.C. area. Green connected with the recruiter through LinkedIn and later sent her resume via e-mail. She landed an interview--which resulted in a job offer the same day.
Green says job seekers must be willing to put themselves out there using social media to expand their professional networks. She shares these tips:
• Update your resume and have it done professionally.
• Know what you're looking for in a job so your network can help you.
• Don't be afraid to contact people you don't know online.
Career coach Tai Goodwin, publisher of careermakeovercoach.com, says many job seekers make the mistake of jumping right to available positions posted on job boards. "A better starting place is using tools like LinkedIn to identify companies they want to work for," she says. "Look for companies that are aligned with your values, have a work environment that's in line with your needs, and that have a solid reputation when it comes to how they treat their employees. Then look for jobs in those companies."
Candidates should think of themselves as a business and the companies they're pursuing as the target audience. "Monster and Careerbuilder are great places to see what jobs are out there, and even do some keyword research for revising your resume," Goodwin says. "But given how swamped job boards are, I recommend using them after you've identified the target companies you want to work for."
New and Noteworthy
Since January 2009, the Charlotte, NC-based website Tweetmyjobs.com has attracted 44,000 job seekers. Candidates set up profiles to find temporary and full-time employment, and the website lets job seekers filter information from more than 9,000 job channels. On average, the site posts 768,000 job tweets a month and sends out instant job updates via Twitter and text messages. One of the great things about Tweetmyjobs.com is its simplicity--you don't need to be a power Twitter user to use the service.
Other job search resources include:
• Twitjobsearch.com scours Twitter, flagging tweets about job openings and allowing job seekers to find relevant opportunities among the noise of Twitter.
• JobDeck is a joint venture between TweetDeck.com and Twitterjobsearch. JobDeck is a twitter management tool specifically for job hunting. This application allows you to manage your Twitter job search and connect with contacts across Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn from one screen.
• Indeed.com is one of the most comprehensive search engines for jobs and is simple to use. Since 2004, Indeed has given job seekers free access--instantly, in a single search--to millions of jobs from thousands of company websites and job boards.
Do you plan to use Facebook to find a job? Goodwin says the network is a good tool and that your success will depend on the friends in your network.
"You can e-mail your Facebook network to let them know about your job search and ask for referrals," she says. "My best recommendation for using Facebook is to join career-related groups and connect to Fan Pages of career coaches who can offer you tips and resources to help with your search."
Have you had success using social networking to find a job? I welcome your comments and suggestions.