Have you spent countless hours perusing job boards only to have your only ROI be two fruitless phone interviews? Have you walked into corporations in your spiffiest suit with a stack of crisp resumes only to have your Hail Mary rejected with a “Sorry, we’re not hiring at this time”? When all other conventional job search methods fail, do not give up hope. Perhaps it is time to turn your attention and efforts to a different medium of job search resources: social media.
People often times have an erroneous perception of social media and assume it serves strictly a social purpose. However, the lines between what is “social” and what is “professional” are blurring, and more and more people are using social media for very professional purposes. These platforms that used to be hubs for gossip and pictures of what happened last Friday night are now becoming venues for networking, job postings, and innumberable professional resources.
Below is an excerpt from a Mashable article on ways you can utilize social media to optimize your job search. In what ways have you personally used social media on your quest for that illusive dream job?
1. Leverage Your Social Graph
People get jobs through other people, not computers. By having a personal connection to the company you’re applying for, your chances of getting a job multiply. If all you do is submit your resume blindly on job boards, you won’t have much luck. Ten years ago, it would take you a lot of effort to ask your friends who they know and to remember where all your friends work. Now, you can tap your social graph on social networks and have all of that information at your fingertips. For job seekers, this means that you can get introductions to people who work at companies you’re interested in. For companies, this means growing your business though introductions instead of cold calls. The internet is your personal research laboratory. Here are a few tools that will help you tap into your social graph during your job search:
2. Use Augmented Reality and Job Search Apps
People are starting to use mobile applications to see job openings near them and apply with just a few touches of an iPhone or Android. In fact 20% of job seekers use their smartphone in their search for a job, reports LinkUp. “Augmented reality” blurs the line between what’s real and what’s computer-generated by enhancing what we see, hear, feel and smell. If you have an iPhone, you should download the “Layar” application. Once installed, click on “Layars” from the bottom menu and search for “JobAmp Mobile.” When you use this layar, you will be able to see all the companies near your current location and what positions are open at them. This information is very useful if you see a company you’re interested in when walking around your city.
3. Build Your Online Influence
More than a decade ago, if you had the right “hard” skills (i.e., C++ programming), you were almost guaranteed a job. You could almost trade your college diploma for a job upon graduation. Then, as the economy changed and became more competitive, companies started to pay attention to a new set of skills. Soft skills (i.e., communication, organization, leadership, etc) became increasingly important as a way to choose one candidate over another. Companies were interested — and still are — in passion, teamwork and cultural fit. In today’s world, not only do you need strong hard and soft skills, but you need to develop online influence. When two candidates look the same on paper and are both good communicators, the differentiator will be their online influence.
Online influence is measured in how many connections you have, who those connections are (and how influential they are), who and how many people are sharing your content and backlinking to your website and more. Klout.com, a site that measures online influence and gives you a “Klout score,” is becoming increasingly popular with employers. If you have a high Klout score, it can help you get hired over the next person. Online influence attracts employers, who are increasingly looking to hire professionals who are already well-known by their target audience. Companies understand that those with larger networks are more productive and can generate new business, recruit top talent and market their brand better than someone who lacks a big network.
4. Use Multimedia Instead of a Paper Resume
A recent OfficeTeam survey noted that 36% of companies think that it’s at least somewhat likely resumes will eventually be replaced by profiles on social and business networking sites. More and more professionals are using creative ways to promote themselves online. I’ve seen rap videos, dedicated Facebook Pages, a blog saying “hire me” and SlideShare.net presentations. These promotional tactics can be effective and even land some media attention, which could turn into a few job offers. Since very few job seekers take the time to invest in these tactics, they stand out and are shared widely.
§SlideShare.net. Develop your own PowerPoint presentation, upload it to SlideShare.net and promote it through your networks and on your website. Your slides can include information about your technical skills, projects you’ve completed, an endorsement from a manager and more. Here is an example.
§QR codes — Share a quick response (QR) code on your social networks to direct an employer back to your website. You can also put the code on print materials. Here is an example.
§Viral videos — Create a video about yourself, or multiple videos linked together, and use YouTube to promote it. You can also develop a video resume which will showcase your personality to employers, in addition to your skills. Here is an example.
§Creative websites — Use your creativity and establish a creative website under your full name (yourfullname.com). Here is an example.