Getting social with your job search

Who isn’t looking for a job these days? I’m sure just about everyone knows of someone who has been laid off or is trying to find their first job out of college in this economic climate. Even people who are employed are cautiously looking elsewhere just in case things don’t work out at their current place of work.

Kate-Madonna Hindes - girlmeetsgeek.com

With that said, looking for a job has evolved into somewhat of an art. Crafting the perfect resume and cover letter could be the difference between whether an employer calls you for questioning or tosses your list of achievements into a bottomless pit of resume rejects. Basically, the competition is fierce.

There’s no doubt that social media has started to change the game of job hunting. Today, you can find just about anything on anyone using a variety of social sites. We’ve all heard the horror stories about employers finding questionable photos of applicants on Facebook or tweets about how they aren’t working on the job. If you’re currently job hunting and haven’t cleaned up all your profiles – do it now.

On the other hand, social media can actually work in the favor of job seekers. Kate-Madonna Hindes (or @girlmeetsgeek) is a writer, speaker, and resource professional for the Workforce Center of Minnesota. She’s a social media enthusiast and knows a thing or two about helping job seekers stand out to employers. Not to mention, she’s one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet.

So I decided to ask her if she’d be willing to provide some ideas and tips that I could share with all of you. I’m so grateful she agreed to help out. She’s passionate about what she does and is someone that people in any stage of their career can learn a lot from.

Here’s what she had to say:

Why should job seekers embrace social media?

I understand the questions of “why,” but instead I think we should all be asking “why not”? According to Mashable, 81% of employers are already screening their candidates online. The big word for companies right now is “innovation.” Innovation to me, means being fluid with new ideas and technology- a faster runner in a race. Don’t jeopardize your potential employment by not being willing to become fluent in change or innovation.

How can you make your social media profiles more attractive to employers? What are they looking for in an online presence?

They’re looking for a well-rounded candidate. It’s more than simply just filling in the blanks. Recruiters WANT recommendations. They want your strengths to shine out from others’ words. It makes you more believable as a candidate and one that doesn’t seem like such a risk. We’re coming out of a huge period of financial risk. Companies are hiring contract employees more than full-time employees. Make yourself worth their risk.

What are some common mistakes job seekers make on social sites? (Beyond avoiding posting inappropriate pictures of yourself or tweeting about how you don’t like your boss)

Biggest mistake? Not being on LinkedIn or Twitter. Both have recently partnered with Google and Microsoft Bing to offer profiles near the very top. You want to be found: Because you want the job.

LinkedIn is the major professional social site. Many people have an account but don’t do anything with it. Any tips for how to get more out of a job search using LinkedIn?

LinkedIn isn’t for getting the job, it’s for getting the connection. Jobs come and go- connections stay. To be successful at online networking, especially LinkedIn, you need to bring something to it’s table. Simply filling out a profile and expecting someone to hire you will never happen. Go under the Answers tab, answer the questions and set yourself apart by proving you know your content. Recommendations are especially important. Upload your resume using Box.net. Never mistake online networking as more important than in person actual networking. A face is much more important than a profile. LinkedIn helps you get yourself in the networking circle.

Are there any strategies or sites you would recommend for reaching out to potential employers? Is acceptable to contact them through social media?

Hiring managers and recruiters are busy. Any job posting could generate thousands of resumes. What better way to make a statement than to connect with them through social media  first? Value their time: bring something to their table and give them a reason to give you a second look. When you use social media you broadcast what you know and what you bring. It’s almost a no-brainer that they’ll want to connect with a fluid innovator, such as yourself. Remember: content and connection win the meeting while your personality and knowledge land the job.


9 thoughts on “Getting social with your job search

  1. Katie-
    What an honor it was to be able to talk with you about Social Media. Thank you for taking the time to give your readers an extra ‘ooomph!’ in their job search. You, are a rockstar. :)

    -Kate

  2. Katie, I second your observation that Kate is not only full of helpful tips but she is one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet. I’ve known her since I was a teenager and can agree wholeheartedly. Her kindness is matched only by her enthusiasm. Quite a combo!

  3. Katie- Great idea for a post. I completely agree that using social media in your job search is a MUST. Maybe not in every field, but definitely in communication/pr/marketing. I’ve found multiple relevant job postings, landed a couple of interviews and have even been approached about a few different projects by people I’ve connected with on Twitter or people who have seen my blog.

    I love that Kate says LinkedIn isn’t for finding jobs (although there are some good groups on there with job postings, like Heather Huhman’s). When I explain how Twitter has been valuable in my job hunt to friends, they often ask why I’m not using LinkedIn for those things. Both LinkedIn and Twitter are important, but some people don’t understand that they’re different tools with different uses.

    Good ideas Katie & Kate!

    • I get what both you and Katie are saying here, but I do think LinkedIn is for getting the job because the nature of job searches dictate that more often than not you need those connections to acquire the job. I’ve had quite a few out of the blue offers because people stumbled across my profile or answers where I’ve helped others.

      One of the best tactics is merely finding the company you want to work for and then using LinkedIn to find someone in a similar position to the one you’d like and connecting with them under the premise that you’d love to learn more about what they do and their role in the company. Most people are happy to help and you end up forging a connection that can likely benefit both parties AND land you the job.

      Like I said, I suspect we’re in agreement, I just took issue with the way the idea was conveyed I think. Kudos to both of you (for a great post, and solid insights in the comments).

      • Ryan – Thank you for stopping by! I’m a big fan of your blog :-)

        I definitely agree with what you and Abby are saying. I personally really like LinkedIn and think there is a lot of value with being on the site. But like any social site, you end up getting the most out of it by being active. Like Kate says, using the Answers feature and participating in discussions are going to help you stand out more to employers. And it sounds like doing that has even helped you stand out based on your out of the blue offers – which is so awesome! It means you’re doing something right.

        I decided to ask Kate about this particularly because I’ve talked with a number of job seekers and employers alike that do not see the benefits that can come from using LinkedIn. My hope was that her thoughts on this will motivate others to really dive into the site and see how they can gain ground with their job search.

        And thanks for including the tip about reaching out to people who work at a company of interest. That’s such a good point and a strategy that many probably don’t do enough.

        Again, thanks for the comment and being a part of the discussion!

  4. I dig it. I think “why not” is the perfect question and we should all be at that point now.

    I’m also in the same boat for the Linkedin question. I’m usually not sure what to do with it.

    ~Andy

  5. Pingback: Tuesday Blogversation: 5-4-2010: Kate-Madonna Hindes | iamdez

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