Questions usually come at the end of a presentation. With something like social media, I think it’s wise to ask questions in the beginning. But since this is REALLY about your job search, we need to get down to the answers about YOU. What brought you here today? What do you want to learn? What are your career goals? We have such a wide range of ages here today – new grads and older alums. But you’re all looking for the same thing. How can I make this social media tool work for me?
I bring these things up because they’re all obviously related to me but they also make up me as a social media professional. I lived in Boston when Facebook first started up in a dorm room at Harvard. I was using Friendster at the time when some friends asked me to join Facebook. I didn’t think much of it and now 6 years later, Facebook has enough users to be the third largest country in the world behind China and India according to Erik Qualman, author of Socialnomics. Now, how many of you have ever heard of Friendster? I have learned to love social media for the opportunities it provides us. We’re more connected than ever. Now, a week ago my life changed dramatically. I was happy in a position at Children’s Hospital but unfortunately my position was eliminated. Today, I’m like many of you – spending hours a day scouring websites and online ads for the next big thing. Social media has been a huge asset since the last time I was job searching. It has made it much easier to connect with the right people. So, as we’re going along today, I’ll share with you some of the practices that I’m using in my own search.
I think there’s a misconception out there that social media can do everything for everybody. While it’s a great tool to leverage to help increase marketing or advance your brand, it’s just that – a tool. Social media is only one tactic that you need to embrace as you’re on this journey to find your next job. It’s still important to remember the basics of your job search. There are four areas that I’ll cover today and within them I’ll highlight ways to utilize social media to help you standout from the crowd. First, creating your personal brand. Brands aren’t just for Coca-Cola or McDonald’s. Second, you need a quality resume and cover letter. Third, build a solid network of people. Fourth and finally, know where to look for jobs. These four areas are the essentials. It’s important to remember and realize that social media is just a tactic to help you complete the goals more effectively.
Without even knowing it, or perhaps you do, you have been creating your own personal brand in person and online. Now, you need to think and care about this personal brand. You need to nurture your online presence so you stand out in the crowd. You also need to care because people are always watching or listening to what you’re saying and posting online. And finally, if you’re not online already, you need to make sure you have secured your brand or at least make sure you know what people are saying about you. It’s important to think about your name as a brand. Every time someone searches for you on Google or mentions you in a newspaper article, they’re talking about a brand. If you haven’t started thinking of yourself as a brand, start. You’re your No. 1 brand champion. Practice that elevator speech. Work on your career objective statement. Be comfortable with yourself. This will help you spread the word when you’re ready on the social networking sites.
Many human resources departments are checking you out online. They’re using Google, Facebook, LinkedIn and other search tools to find out more about you. Think those photos you posted on Facebook from that weekend in Vegas are private? Well, if someone in the HR department is friends with one of your friends, they would only need to do a little digging before they found them through your friend’s profile. It’s important to understand how the security settings on each one of the social networks you belong to works. You also need to keep in mind that people can tag you in photos on their profiles and then their friends, or friends of friends can see them. Also, think before you Tweet. Not only do your messages go out to your audience of fans and followers, Google and the Library of Congress archive your Tweets. It’s important to be aware of your audience with all of the archiving and following. Your information can be viewed and scrutinized by just about anyone. Websites like www.archive.org’s…and this is cool but at the same time I can’t imagine how they even have the server space to do this…but, their “Wayback Machine” caches pages and their graphics. So, you can go back to 2006 and find something that was on a page that you thought had been long deleted.
The next thing with your personal brand. Check to see if your online presence makes the grade. Think like you were an employer. Boris Epstein, CEO and Founder of BINC, a professional job search firm, created this checklist for Mashable to help job seekers to make sure what they’ve posted online is seen by recruiters, and make sure that it’s seen well. It highlights ways that you can maximize your presence on Linked In, Facebook, Twitter, Google, your blog and other social media. Cindy has already e-mailed you this information. I’m not going to go over each one of these items one-by-one but take some time after the presentation to review the checklist. There are some key things that you should keep an eye out for with your online presence.
Even if you don’t have an active online presence, you still want to check what’s out on the Web about you. An easy way to monitor the conversation is Googling yourself. Simply type your name – I suggest using quotes to surround your search term. If you have a common name, you also might want to include your city or another search term to separate yourself from the other “John Smiths” out there. You can also set up Google alerts to e-mail you with notifications of when something new pops up. Most sites feed into Google, and Google will even include your Facebook groups and pages in your search results. It’s a good idea to find out what comes up in a search about you and how you show up to a stranger who would be researching you for a new position. Another easy way to monitor the conversation is search.twitter.com. Put in your name and see if you pop up in other people’s tweets. Do the conversations portray you in a positive or negative light? Depending on how other people view you, you may have to do some reactive PR to clean up what’s out there. Even if you decide not to create your own accounts on social networking sights, secure the domain names to ensure that other people don’t use your handle in the future. You may decide five years from now that a Twitter or Facebook account would be a good idea, but if somebody took your name already, there’s no way to take it from them. Use tools like NamesChecklist (www.namechecklist.com) and UD (www.ud.com) to see if your brand name, username, domain and vanity URL are still available on the worldwide web.
The second area we’re going to discuss is your resume. Take advantage of services like UWM’s alumni resume and cover letter service. Have someone review it for you. Make sure you’re tailoring your resume and cover letter for each individual position.
Once you’re satisfied with the content that is in your resume, there are many tools out there to help you get your name and resume to hiring managers. Here are a few free ideas to help you stand out from other applicants: Visual CV - A VisualCV is an Internet-based resume that lets you stand out from the crowd. You can: Include work samples, charts and graphs, audio, video and images. Share your VisualCV via e-mail, your unique URL or your social networks. Control who sees it. Get your own URL. The site lets you upload work samples such as charts, graphs, videos and more. WordPress – Many people know WordPress as a blogging site. However, it’s also a great way to make a cheap, professional-looking website to highlight your resume and your work. For about $12 per year, you can secure your own domain such as “christina-relacion-dot-com”.
The next area that social networking can help is to no surprise expanding your network. Social networking sites – while initially created to help bring friends and families closer – have now become an ideal and perfect scenario to build on your professional networks. So many employers want more than an employee. They want to see the person, the personality that they are hiring, as well. Having a life on social sites, while it can hurt your job search if used incorrectly – if used properly, it can also help you out by showing an employer that there is more to you than someone who clocks in at 8 a.m. and leaves at 5 p.m. These connections in your network are going to be the second line of your brand champions. These will be the people who will help connect you with the hiring managers and the new positions. These contacts are essential to making your job search a successful one.
There are four key steps to effective networking. First, you want to expand your network. Sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and even Twitter are great tools to help you accomplish this goal. Facebook is a great way to find out more about a potential employer, a hiring manager and the culture of a company. Reach out to people at a potential employer. Friend them, if possible. For instance, I’m interested with a position at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. I met Lee Aase – the social media manager last year at a conference. In the past year, I have joined his personal Facebook page and added him to my Twitter followers. Mayo recently started a social media center and his hiring consultants for three positions. After my recent layoff, I tweeted and messaged Lee on Facebook. He was able to give me more information about the opening. Former co-workers also are messaging him on their own to let them him know more about me. LinkedIn is a great way to get into social media if you’re leery about joining Facebook or Twitter, or just want to ensure you maintain a professional profile. I like to call it Facebook for Professionals. LinkedIn offers a great tool that allows you to receive an introduction from your connections to their connections. So, if you know you’d like to talk more with a contact of your friend Sally, she can provide you with the introduction. Your new network can also help you out by adding recommendations to your site. It’s a great way for you to publicly display your references. Second, prepare in advance. Before you even connect with someone new, think about what you’re going to say. Practice your 5 minute elevator speech and think about what you’re looking for from the contact. Do you hope they can help you land a position with a certain employer? Are you looking for advice for your next career move? Would you like to learn more about a new career path? You will also want to think of ways you can help out your new contact in return. Check out their website to see if they have any interesting projects they’re working on and that you might be able to assist with. Third – manage your expectations. Don’t go into your networking thinking this e-mail or tweet is going to get you your job. It’s a step on your way to reaching your goal. Finally, remember to keep the lines of communication open. After the initial meeting (Tweet, contact on Facebook, etc.) follow-up every now and again. Let them know how you’re doing and ask how they are, in return. A tip that I have – we all have the paper business cards in our pocket. Stand out in the crowd. Go virtual. Sites like twtBizCard and others are free. You can add links to your social networking profiles, phone and e-mail. Then, you can send them by phone – SMS messages, Twitter or e-mail to your contacts. It saves money plus it’s a green way of not printing all those cards that end up not being referenced. You could also add a link to your card in your e-mail signature. Lastly – I don’t have this up there but take risks. Making that first step can be nerve wracking since you don’t know the person you’re trying to contact. But, it could be the greatest step you ever took and it could land you that dream job.
This step builds off your network. You want to think about the people and employers or groups that coincide with your end goal. If you’re looking to be employed by that great social media company, know they’ll be posting their jobs on Twitter or other social networking sites. Not in print somewhere. Try and think logically about the habits and trends of your potential future employer. Finally, you want to ensure that you’re looking in the right places online. Many people have had success with Monster, Indeed, even Craigslist but there are other places to look, too. Twit Job Search – is a website that uses an algorithm to find every Twitter post that has a job search related subject to it. It’s not perfect but you can search for many different positions across the globe. Advanced search properties include everything from salary requirements to education. Big Shoes Network is a local e-newsletter blast for updates on positions. It shows positions in Wisconsin, Illinois from internships to management. If you’re already experienced with Facebook and LinkedIn, join groups of people with similar interests. Many professional associations have groups or you can find groups of, for instance, freelance writers looking for work. If you don’t know where to start, see where some of your contacts belong and test out some of their groups. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with testing out groups and leaving them. If you don’t find what you’re looking for after a while, don’t feel obligated to stay a member.
Social media is just a tactic. You want to use social media to: create your personal brand, help you with your resume, expand your network and look in the right places for positions.
Dan Schawbel is a branding coach. His updated book is due out in a few weeks. You can also sign up for career and branding information to be delivered to your inbox each month. Mashable is an overall great resource for all things social media. I recommend following them on Twitter, too, @Mashable. Finally, SlideShare is a free online resource that provides access to thousands of PowerPoint presentations. Find out more about social media, your brand, using social media for your job search and more. Some of the PowerPoint presentation even come with audio. It’s also a great resource to add your presentations to and highlight your work. It’s a quick way to add a presentation about yourself.
10 minutes question and answer session.
USING SOCIAL MEDIA FOR YOUR JOB SEARCH Follow me @CRelacion
Some free tools to help you stand out from other applicants:
www.VisualCV.com - Allows you to share your resume via e-mail or social networking sites.
www.wordpress.com - Not just a blogging site, but a great way to create a personal website.
Make the most of your network Make the most of your network
Effective networking ✪ Tip ✪ Create a virtual business card! Free sites like twtBizCard will send your online information to your Twitter followers. You can access through iPhone, Blackberry, Droid and other smartphones with Web capabilities.