Monday, February 16, 2015

Social Media & Your Job Search: 3 Reasons You Need It—Now!

Author:  Ed Han
              Wordsmith, Recruiter, LinkedIn Advocate, JobSeeker Ally
              Translating business objectives into strategies & tactics

I've been a fan of social media in one form or another since October 27, 2007. That was when I first joined LinkedIn and it took me until April 2009 to join Twitter. It took almost a year after that to join Facebook—after I joined Google+, in fact.

We talk about social media at every meeting but I know I’ve seen more than a few blank stares when it’s discussed. So I know that for a lot of people who are reading this, social media consists of Facebook updates. Stop thinking that way, because social media is a whole lot more than merely FB.

Here are 3 reasons why you should be using social media right now as part of your job search.

It’s just networking

I don’t know why, but sometimes people get this slightly apprehensive, glazed-over look when the subjects of networking or social media crop up. So let’s simplify things.

Networking is about being a decent human being and having a conversation. You've basically been doing this all of your life: talking with people. Now, some people are shy—but take a look at our LinkedIn group for conversations starters—and closers.

Let me demystify “social media” for you.

It’s just people having conversations online. The absolute worst thing that happens when you talk with someone on social media is something you can ignore. It’s even safer than talking to someone in real life.

So if you’re one of those folks who have a hang up about this: stop. It’s like dancing in a club: nobody’s looking at you.

And networking is how people get hired

As a recruiter, I can tell you with 100% certainty that every single employer on the planet prefers to talk with candidates that are referrals. It’s really simple: they've been vetted. When you refer someone as a candidate, you’re putting your professional reputation on the line with that candidate.

In fact, that’s how I got my last position. I’d gotten to know someone via Twitter. Back in November 2012, I received a call from her asking if I knew anyone interested in a recruiting role. She briefly described it and I told her I was really interested. A few weeks later, I started. Ever since the first day I knew it was the position I wished I had been doing from the start, and am still slightly resentful that I found it this late in life.

So be a referral

The odds are stacked against job seekers. On average, there are 250 candidates for every position out there. Of those, 25% are considered by the hiring party qualified. Rounding down, there are on average 62 qualified candidates who are phone screened. For face to face interviews you aren't talking more than a half dozen prospects, tops. So there’s a 90% failure rate from the phone screen. And do you know who can often pass a phone screen more often than not? A candidate referred by an employee can, that’s who.

Social media sites work best when more people are more connected. That’s why every social media site you care about makes it as easy as possible to make connections with other users. LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, Facebook, Pinterest—all of them. This becomes particularly useful when you are targeting specific employers: then, LinkedIn & Facebook become a list of people with whom you might want to connect.

Now, remember that people generally only connect with people when they see a clear upside. So give them one. Connect with people on LinkedIn when you have a former employer, school or group in common: the reason there is obvious.

In closing

If you have any questions, ask!

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