Are you on LinkedIn? If you are job hunting or considering a career transition, utilizing social networking sites such as LinkedIn should be a key part of your job change strategy. (See our article "Resources for Developing Your Online Network" for links and descriptions of more than 25 different social media websites.)
Tips for Utilizing Linkedin, Facebook and Other Sites in Your Job Search
1. Let people know that you are available for a new job opportunity. One good thing that has come from our current recession is that there is no longer a stigma to being unemployed. Employers understand that many valuable, productive workers have been laid off due to companies' economic situations, not due to an employee's performance.
Let people know that you are looking for a new job in a professional manner. Terry Karp, career counselor and co-founder of the Bay Area Career Center in San Francisco says that 'one way to do this is to use LinkedIn's "professional headline" to establish your identity. Ms. Karp recommends adding the words "in transition" or "seeking a new challenge" to your title. LinkedIn also gives you the opportunity to fill in a status box. "Use this area to describe contract or consulting gigs you have as well as any volunteer work you are doing," suggests Ms. Karp. "This approach enables you to reinforce your brand through the headline as well as highlight current relevant projects."' (From "Promoting Yourself on LinkedIn" by Elizabeth Garone in WSJ.com)
2. Use "status updates" to remind your network periodically that you are looking for a position, the types of jobs you are targeting and the companies of particular interest. You will also want to monitor the status of others in your network so that you can forward job leads and/or network connections that could help them. The people who benefit most from networking are those who give the most to others. People naturally want to help those who have helped them.
3. Expand your network. The bigger your network, the more resources you can access to help you in your job transition. In networking, it is not just who you know right now that matters; it is who they know-your second- and third-degree contacts-who are most likely to be the connection to your new job. Here are some key ways you can grow your network:
- Complete your profile. The more complete your profile, the easier it is for others to find you.
- Invite everyone you know to join your network. Brainstorm your current contacts by categories: connections from schools you have attended, work, church, professional groups, community activities, parents of your children's friends, etc.
- Join relevant alumni groups, business groups, interest groups, etc. on LinkedIn and other sites;
Set a goal to add 5-10 people a day to your network in the next week. Before long, you will have a robust community of people with whom you are linked.
The Power of a Focused Job Search
Using social media to network is a strategic way to get into the "hidden" job market; that is, to find jobs that are not advertised or not even yet created. The majority of jobs-including many of the best jobs-are not advertised on the Internet. The keys to finding jobs in the hidden job market are to know (1) the specific type of job you want ("an event coordinator for a nonprofit organization," not "something where I can use my organizational skills") and (2) how to market yourself successfully for that type of position.
Not sure you know how to get into the hidden job market effectively? If you would like to find out how career coaching could increase the success of your job search efforts, we invite you to sign up for a free consultation session to discuss how our professional career counseling/coaching services could help you obtain the work you would love to do!