Job Hunting with Social Media

These are some of the notes from the “Job Hunting with Social Media” class tonight. Please add your feedback and resources in the comments!

Whether you’ve been laid off, fired or you’re looking to upgrade your current job, social media networks and tools make it a whole lot easier to look for a job on-line. Not only do you have the potential for using your own network to find something, you can use your extended network to help in your search and use social media tools to find the right places to look. Now instead of mailing out resumes blindly you can take a pro-active approach. Use attraction based marketing by building a personal brand on-line that pulls the jobs to you.

Your Social Media Presence
Social media also makes it a whole lot easier for HR to research who you are and get a little background. Maybe more than professional background, so it’s very important that you get out there and see what your social media profiles and presence looks like through a recruiters eyes. Do some searches on yourself. Try Google first because it’s the most common. Dig more than a few pages down and see what comes up. Then give Yahoo and MSN a try too. You very well may find different information.

Make a list of the positive and negative references out there and make a plan to deal with them. Ask your college room-mate to take down the picture of you dancing on the bar in a toga with a beer bong. Some things may not be correctable. Have your explanation ready so you’re not caught off-guard. Odds are you won’t need it but be prepared.

Balance out negative things said about you on sites like MySpace and FaceBook by asking your friends to post referrals or positive comments. “Just checked out Anna’s portfolio and she positively ROCKS!!!” can’t hurt you, especially if it’s true. If you have enough positive comments and information about you, the one bad reference will dissapear under the avalanche of positive information.

Check your credit score and clean up those records too. It’s quite common for an employer to run a credit score.

Your profiles
If you’re new to social media this is a good time to get involved. There are a host of options out there to help you put your best foot forward. Crating a Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin profile allows you to reach a variety of people. Create the profiles carefully and choose the people you connect to with an eye for professionalism. I can’t get into friending strategy here, but remember you want to focus on quality not quantity and make sure to build your relationships so people are in a position to recommend you.

Resumes
There are a wonderful array of tools to create a resume on-line. You should think about who you’re going to be talking to and create a resume that suits the need. Maybe you’ll have a different resume for each field you’re qualified in.

VisualCV Create a resume and upload portfolio items, PPT slide sets, Audio or Video to enhance the presentation. Layout is modifiable and the user can download as a PDF to print or email.

Razume helps you build your resume and then you can get crowd-source reviews from other users in the community. Fine tuning with this kind of input from your peers can really make a difference. The site also offers job search right on the site.

ResumeSocial is a social resume community similar to Razume, but it’s got the added benefit of user reviews of your cover letters, follow ups job search and a career center with useful tips and info.

Networks
Some networks will be more useful than others depending on what your needs are. You may want to look at some forums or blogs where people in your industry hang out. If your business is corporate, you may want to connect on the professional networks like Xing and Linkedin.

Linkedin
One of the best possible tools for networking with fellow business people. Set up your profile before you do anything else. Get a picture and your resume up to date. If you have a visual CV, link to it. Use the tools available on Linkedin to show off your Power point slides through Slideshare. Import your blog rss feed or your twitter stream.

Now go through your contact databases and start connecting with people. Once connected, take the time to look for the real gems you’ve worked with and give them a recommendation on the site. Do not expect they will automatically recommend you back–but if it’s appropriate–ask for a recommendation. If a former employer or co-worker turns up, connect first, ask for a recommendation second. Not everybody responds to requests like this quickly. It can take a week or more to hear back from some, so be patient. If you’re in a hurry and you have their contact info email them directly and tell them you’re on the market, what kind of job you’re looking for and ask them to post a recommendation. Don’t be shy.

Linkedin Answers are another way to get out there. Answer questions in your field with thoughtful and helpful answers. Ask provocative questions that show you’re at the top of your field. Scan both questions and answers for people you want to connect with and message them through inmail or the QA system. Think your responses out carefully. Fact check and check for typos before it goes live. Don’t be obviously self promotional. This is the age of “give before you get” and you need to be giving, useful and helpful at all times.

Linkedin Groups can be hugely helpful for networking, establishing your authority and getting seen. Find networks in your field and join. Read them for a few days before you start talking to get the lay of the land and understand the ecosystem of the group. Every group will be different depending on who is involved.

It’s OK to let people know you’re looking for work, but be careful how you say it. Be up-beat and positive and tell people what you’re looking for. Limit how much of this you do to within reason. People will eventually ignore you if you “spam” them with requests for help. Look for groups for entrepreneurs and investors too. Who better to know who will be hiring soon? There are also groups specifically for job seekers.

Last thing about Linkedin groups. Once you join a group and participate you can connect to the groups users through Linkedin. If you are an active and valued participant in the group they are more likely to accept the connection.

Xing
Xing has many of the same benefits as Linkedin, so I’m only going to add the ones that are special to Xing. Xings forums are an excellent place to look for jobs and there are some specific to job hunting. Their freelancer forum is particularly useful.

Slideshare
Slideshare allows you to upload presentations and share them with others. Maybe your presentations at your company were private, but these don’t have to be presentations you actually gave. Create a presentation about your area of interest that teaches something. Make the slides tell the whole story. You can add audio tracks if you want to, or just let people go through the slides to get the gist of it. Slides on SlideShare often get downloaded and used in presentations which helps you spread the word. Share your slideshare presentations with your networks and put them up on Linkedin.

Video
Are you able to do a video demonstrating a process or your skill set? How about a video presentation about how you see your market changing or opportunities? You could even do a video resume and post it on YouTube, Seesmic or Vimeo. If it’s appropriate do a series on 12seconds.tv with industry tips and tricks then post a widget full of them on your blog.

Searches and introductions
It’s quite common on Linkedin to leverage your network to meet new people. Are you looking to work with a certain company? Do a search in Linkedin and see if there are representatives of the company registered. If they are within the reach of your network you can ask a friend to put you in touch with that person. If not, you can often send them an invitation to connect or an inmail and reach them that way. Look to see if they have posted any questions and answer them, or send them an email asking for clarification or commenting on the question. Don’t stalk them, but be helpful.

Twitter
Twitter is an amazing networking tool and allows you unprecedented access to C level execs as well as recruiters and co-workers. Before you start connecting though, make sure you’ve got a well constructed profile. Build your profile out and link to your blog, a landing page with more info about yor, or your VisualCV or resume so people can learn more about you. Remember that everything you write on Twitter is archived in just a few minutes by the search engines. You can’t delete it from the search engines. Again, this is a huge opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge of your business and that you have your finger on the pulse. Share links to newsworthy items. Connect with friends who can help you. I’ll get to some search tools for this in a minute, but use search.twitter.com to find people talking about your area of expertise and dive into the conversation. A new Hashtag just showed up on Twitter this week called #Hirethisgrad users post their skill set along with the Hashtag and a link to their CV’s and people looking for those skills can easily scan the Hashtag for the skills they need. Follow @Twithire to hear about jobs as they hit Twitter.

Already established on Twitter? It may be as simple as letting your loyal followers know you need a job. Be specific about what you want in a job and ask for help.

Got a blog?
Start blogging about your field of interest. Demonstrate your authority. If it’s appropriate in your industry make your blog personal too. People will want to get to know you. Share your job hunting secrets or talk about changes in the industry that affect jobs. Again, keep it clean, don’t be negative. Feed your blog into your twitter stream if you have one. If your blog is established but not about your area of work interest. Start another blog. You can do a free one on WordPress in a few minutes and be on your way to creating a resource blog for your niche.

While we are talking about blogs, look for the ones that post job listings and subscribe. Jeremiah Owyang posts web strategy jobs on his site. The Social Media Club posts social media jobs.

Search
Listening is the number one skill you need to find a job using social media. Set up listening tools for the companies you’re interested in, the jobs descriptions or fields you’d like to be in etc. Share that info with your networks and suddenly you’re a resource people rely on for information in that space. Then when a job comes up in your search you’re informed and ready to go.

Don’t forget to search for yourself too. It’s not about ego. You want to know what people are saying about you so you can either put out the fire or join in the conversation.

  • Set up some Google Alerts.
  • Twilert will send you a daily, weekly or monthly email with the keywords or user names you want to track.
  • SM2 from Techrigy can give you a pretty in-depth look into conversations with tracking and statistics for free.
  • WhosTalkin can give you a way to quickly search a variety of networks to see who is talking about the space, company or person you’re interested in.
  • SocialMention looks for mentions of keywords in social media sites ranging from Twitter and blogs to forms and video.

Search for companies or individuals you want to connect with and then connect through the network or directly. Learn about the corporate culture ant a company or find out more about the personalities of the people you want to work with.

Links to Job posting sites

This Power Point from Warren Sukernek gives some great tips and tells the story of his job search using social media.