Social Media and Your Job Search

A while back, I was a pretty hesitant to expand my online social network beyond Facebook. I found Linked In to be too complex and could not wrap my head around twitter. And I started to run out of passwords that I could easily remember.

But, after much ridicule from a dear friend, I did open a twitter account – and have not looked back since. I have found so many intelligent and interesting people that I follow. It’s basically my newsfeed to the world.

So now here I am, on Facebook, twitter and writing this blog – and unemployed. I started wondering how I could use my social media tools to help in my job search. A quick search and I found that Mashable.com (Dan Schawbel, who I follow on twitter) has already covered the topic.

His article is very in-depth and he makes some great points. Take a read if here: http://mashable.com/2009/01/05/job-search-secrets/ . I mostly agree with his points, but of course, had some comments to add.

Video Resumes: This seems to be an emerging, if not already well-established trend. I, myself, am not quite ready to post my pitch on YouTube for the entire world to see. You walk a fine line with video resumes. If your production quality or editing is terrible, it really brings down your overall value and impression. If you stutter or are in any way physically awkward, well, that stays with people.

Google Alerts: I didn’t see this in Dan’s blog. I have gone in and set up alerts for any news or updates from Google on “Vancouver Advertising Agency” and “Women in Business”. This is also a great way to stay on top of your local markets and trends.  http://www.google.com/alerts

Twitter: I totally agree that you SHOULD seek out and follow (but not stalk) the folks from the companies of which you would like to work for, but don’t forget to also follow local recruitment agencies. In Vancouver, Smart & Savvy: @smartsavvy

Facebook: I noticed Facebook is much less of a professional tool. It weighs more on the social side. I personally do not use it for business connections. Someone could tag you in an unflattering photo, or post something really offensive on your wall (unintentionally, of course). Then, once again, your image could be somewhat tarnished in the eyes of your potential employer.

Face-to-Face: I’ve been a volunteer with the National Advertising Benevolent Society since 2004-ish. And I have just joined Vancouver Internet Marketers which looks really promising. If nothing else, it will keep my mind active and get me out of the house.

Now, all of these tips and tricks are great. But nothing replaces good, old-fashioned “social networking”. In the past ten years, I only scored one job by applying online and holding my breath for an interview. The rest were all through friends of friends – or business acquaintances. Get out there. Attend events. Find speaker series. Go for after-work beers with your employed friends. That’s where I’m headed.

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