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Five ways social media can help in your job search
October 12, 2011
Chris Woods is Group Social Media Manager at Regus, the leading workspace provider, with 1200 business centres worldwide.
1. Your CV on LinkedIn
LinkedIn.com has become the place to be professionally, online. If you are looking for a job right now – or plan on a career move anytime before you retire – then you simply have to be there. Employers and recruitment agents such as Birchwood Knight use LinkedIn as one of their most important tools for finding and contacting potential candidates. If your career history, skills and achievements are not to be found on LinkedIn, then you are increasingly likely to miss some excellent business opportunities.
Once you’ve registered a free account with the business social networking website, upload your CV in Word or PDF format and then follow the steps to fill in any gaps. It’s important that you keep LinkedIn up-to-date, just as you would your paper resume.
Alternatives to LinkedIn include Xing (big in Germany) and Viadeo (big in France and Italy). Both alternatives have growing English language presences so to maximise your job hunt chances, if you have the time, give them a look.
2. A fresh online presence in 10 minutes
It’s now common for candidates to feature a web link on their CV, so that recruiters can find out more about their potential future employee. This can be especially helpful for large companies who may have to sift through thousands of applicants and have their eye out for the little details that make certain candidates stand out from others.
For years – since the late 1990s – employers have hit the online search engines to find out what candidates in their ‘yes’ or ‘maybe’ piles are really like, both inside and outside of work. Therefore Friends Reunited (up until the mid-2000s) and since then, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Flickr and YouTube are all destinations visited by the curious boss.
Your privacy is important to you I’m sure. But you have to balance that with reality. One quick-and-simple way to tackle this is to take control of the situation. Think of yourself as a brand – surely you want to show that brand off in its best light?
If you don’t already have a website about you, then sign up for an About.me page. About.me is a simple, fresh looking, customisable page where you can add a picture of yourself or graphic that perhaps best explains your personality, along with links to where you are online and if you choose, your email address too. If you are happy for employers to visit your Facebook public profile or your Twitter feed, then add them to your About.me page. If not, then don’t. Sifting CVs is a time-consuming task and a busy recruiter will thank you for including on your CV a fast route to researching more about you.
3. Twitter subscriptions
Twitter is arguably the fastest way to find out what’s going on in the world. Companies monitor Twitter in real time to find out what’s being said about their brands; journalists use Twitter to be alerted to breaking news and to conduct background research on stories; and you can use Twitter to find out about job openings.
Many companies – including my own – now use Twitter to post job openings. So if you are targeting particular organisations in your job search, subscribing to their Twitter feeds could save you valuable time.
Both Twitter and Google Reader are accessible via your mobile device, so you can catch up on the latest jobs while on the move.
4. LinkedIn Groups
Sometimes getting that perfect job requires you to make a name for yourself first. This can be especially true in the communications sector.
Once you’ve been hired, employers will want you to make the best of your contacts, your knowledge of relevant industries and if you are the kind of person who already has your foot in a few doors, then all the better.
Just as speaking at conferences and attending networking events can raise your profile, joining and participating in LinkedIn Groups can do too. There are thousands of such forums on LinkedIn and getting involved in discussions relevant to the roles, companies or industries you are targeting can be worthwhile. You never know who’s listening.
5. Promote yourself with an infographic
We’ve all seen infographics online and in newspapers. Just as a picture can tell a thousand words, an infographic can help bring your CV to life at the same time as impressing upon future employers that when it comes to social media and taking advantage of the tools at your disposal, you are ahead of your peers.
Vizualize.me is a website currently in beta – meaning you need to request an invite to use it due to its ‘still in testing’ status. It allows you to bring your CV to life with graphics. Check out an example here. It helps if you’ve already started using LinkedIn as your online CV, as Vizualize.me can, with your permission, feed in your LinkedIn profile information to allow the infograhic to be created that bit faster. And the beauty of this new site – no design knowledge required.
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