The days of scouring the Want Ads for employment have come and gone. Your new best friend in the job search is the Internet, and if you’re not using the full power of this amazing resource, you’re missing out. Sites like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and even Pinterest are part of the new Human Resource Manager’s toolkit, so you have to cultivate a presence on these, and other applicable sites. But how exactly should you incorporate the Internet into your job search? Here are a few suggestions.
The Internet is an information-rich resource that helps you prepare for the job search, and its most important component, the interview. Far too many applicants neglect to learn about prospective employers, which can be glaringly obvious during an interview when they’re asked “What do you know about our company?” If you can’t answer a simple question like this, chances are you’ll be passed over for consideration. With only a modest investment of time, you can use the Internet to learn all you can about the companies you’re interested in by following their social-media pages, reading their websites, and looking at their competitors.
One of the largest benefits of incorporating a social media component into your job search is the ability to make meaningful connections. While you’re conducting your research, make a point of connecting with individuals employed at the organization you wish to work for. As you’re researching a company’s social media pages, make sure to like some of their posts, leave a comment or two, and re-tweet what you find interesting. You never know who might be watching, so a random interaction could yield benefits. Also, if a company you’re interested in is sponsoring an event, show up (if appropriate) and meet some of their representatives. They can serve as a good “in” to connect you to the people who actually do the hiring. Afterward, in the spirit of the digital age, be sure to connect with any contacts you’ve made on LinkedIn.
Social media has made it extremely easy to build an extensive network. Lots of recruiters, hiring managers, and networkers use LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook to discuss industry updates, share their thoughts, and aspects of their personality. That sounds great, but what if you’re new to using social media? Not to worry, there are a number of great resources you can use to help you navigate your way through these sites. Mashable.com offers beginners guides to many of the popular social media sites. You can access this information by Googling ‘Mashable Beginner’s Guide to Social Media.’
It’s also important to create a ‘social web’ where you can direct contacts to sites where they can learn more about you. In today’s business world, people are brands. A ‘brand’ is the positioning you use to differentiate yourself from others, and social media sites can help amplify your brand. For instance, YouTube and Pinterest may be great options to showcase who you are, and your accomplishments. On these sites you can provide a brief introductory video, your resume, or anything else that shows your skills, personality, and capacity. Have you conducted seminars? Post the presentation on-line. Have you coordinated community events? Share pictures describing the event and its attendees. The sky is the limit. The larger your brand’s on-line presence, the greater your chances to be noticed, since recruiters are increasingly searching the Internet to find suitable candidates.
Another great way to amplify your brand is to participate in blogs, chats, group forums, and webinars. There are thousands of blogs on the Internet, and chances are that there are some that pertain to the industry which you’re interested in working. The same goes for on-line chats, groups, and webinars. By participating in these conversations, you increase your exposure. You can make a name for yourself to hundreds, if not thousands of people in your specialty. As I mentioned earlier, you never know who’s watching. By offering your insights, you just might make an impression on someone who can help you in your employment search.