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Social Media: The New Job Search Frontier

Recently I did some presentations and a webinar on social media for my clients and a couple of community organizations, including the Kiwanis Club of Brampton.  These presentations offered simple strategies to build a LinkedIn Profile, how job seekers can use social media to market themselves to employers, and how professionals and entrepreneurs can benefit from having an online presence.

Many people are nervous at the mere mention of social media. They are afraid people might misuse their information; they want to guard their privacy, or they are just plain overwhelmed with so many of these tools from which to choose. One webinar participant wrote me to say, “I am scared of a free service that takes my data to make money and promises not to share my information.” She then asked if I thought she was paranoid. Privacy is a legitimate concern, of course, especially since we know, or have heard of many online horror stories, but one does not have to become paranoid.

At one point, I was hesitant to use Facebook, for example. Although I have had an account since 2008, I did not start actively using it until 2010, when I began to see additional benefits other than getting updates from my nieces and nephews. So, social media is scary, and it might look like a time-waster sometimes, but is that enough not to test the waters? From a job seeker’s perspective, is it worth missing out on potential job opportunities, or connecting with a couple of influential decision makers? Wouldn’t it be nice to address someone by name at one of your target companies instead of “Dear Sir/Madam”?

There are many advantages to using social media. During a LinkedIn conference in Toronto last week, the keynoter said, “If you have hired more than 10 people through LinkedIn, stand.” Over 600 HR professionals and recruiters stood up. In other sessions, presenters spoke about how companies can build their employer brands on LinkedIn by reaching out and engaging potential employees through Career Hub Pages and Groups. The overall message from my perspective as a career coach is that job seekers need a LinkedIn presence, for starters.

I also learned that Canada is the 5th largest country on LinkedIn, and that IBM is one of the most active companies on LinkedIn, with over 280,000 employees and 650,000 followers. Want to join IBM? There are lots of people with whom you could connect!

Here’s a summary of some major social media tools:

  • LinkedIn – known as the number one social media tool for business, it has over 150 million members. Not only can profiles be created, but resumes can be uploaded, and by following Company Pages, one is able to keep track of new hires, promotions and the overall health of specific companies.
  • Twitter – a free micro-blogging platform that sends short messages using 140 characters. Recruiters, employers and HR professionals are quite active on Twitter and quite often use it to announce  job vacancies.
  • Facebook – permits businesses to establish a presence and allows people to “Like” and follow those businesses.
  • Pinterest – a content sharing service that allows members to “pin” images, videos and other objects to pinboards. At first glance, one may wonder how effective this is as a job search tool, and the jury is still out on this. However, if you are the creative/artistic type, you can certainly market yourself or your business with it, so, join Pinterest and ‘get ‘Pinspired’!
  •  Google+ – another content sharing service, with an added feature called ‘Hangouts’. It’s a new video service where one can hold meetings, arrange study sessions, family meetings, or social gatherings with up to 10 people. Some companies have already started to conduct interviews with Hangouts.
  • About.me – serves like a parking garage for your online presence. It is a personal page that points people to everything you do around the web. It can be useful as a link in an email instead of uploading your resume and your other documents.

I believe the new job search or business frontier is through social media, and job seekers and entrepreneurs need to leverage its use. None of us can afford to be left out, especially as online interactions are becoming as meaningful as in real life. Does this mean social media is the ‘be all’ of your job search or business? No! What it does is help you build relationships, engage in conversations, and demonstrate your expertise. This will (over time), lead to opportunities, value and profitability.

Still scared? It’s time to jump on the social media bandwagon. Experiment and see which ones resonate with you, because these tools have become major players in how we conduct a job search, how and where we do business, what we purchase, and who we connect with.

Comment below and let me know your thoughts.

What’s all the Hype about Pinterest?

Last year, it was Google+, now it’s Pinterest! Social media is exploding at an alarming pace that it’s becoming quite difficult to keep up. At the same time, as a career coach, I have to know what tools are available so I can guide my job-seeking/career transition clients accordingly.

With that, and as an early adapter, I jumped on the Pinterest bandwagon and requested an invitation. A couple days later my request was granted and I created an account, curated my websites, then decided to explore the tool in more depth. It has visual appeal, for sure, is great for graphic content and creative job seekers could find ways to build their resumes. As a matter of fact, I found one resume I thought was unique and pinned it to my board.  So, since my foray into the tool two weeks ago, here’s what I found:

  • It is a virtual Pinboard that “lets you organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web. People use pinboards to plan their weddings, decorate their homes, and organize their favorite recipes”, and may I dare say, create somewhat of a resume.
  • It drives more referral traffic than Google Plus, LinkedIn and YouTube combined. Shareaolic Report. If it drives more traffic than LinkedIn, should job seekers be playing in that space?
  • Techcrunch reported that it had 11.7 million unique visitors, faster than any other standalone in history. It was also named by Techcrunch as the fastest startup in 2011. How many of those visitors were recruiters and hiring managers?
  • Their goal is to “connect everyone in the world through the ‘things’ they find interesting.” A bold goal!

In a couple of days I will be speaking to a group of communications, advertising and marketing professionals, and with such a creative bunch, you bet Pinterest will be a part of the discussion!

Can job seekers use this tool to maximize their job search? What are your thoughts?

By the way, if you wish to come along for the ride, you can click here to follow me on Pinterest.

 

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