The new era of job hunting has one important aspect previous generations lacked: the need for a strong online presence. It’s not just about having a Facebook. It’s about knowing how to use it, not abuse it. It’s about making a LinkedIn and actually linking in. It’s about Tweeting on-time and on-point. So before you dive in to a social media job experiment, take a moment to consider these dos and don’ts from the experts.
Do: Look at other LinkedIn profiles of people similar to yourself, says Chandlee Bryan, a professional résumé writer, career coach, former recruiter and Ivy League school career counselor. She’s also a co-author of “The Twitter Job Search Guide,” (Jist Works, 2010).
“LinkedIn is a giant database that can serve as a resource for creating your own profile and presence on the site,” Bryan says. “If you’re stuck trying to define yourself and what you’re doing at your job, look at someone else’s profile and you can learn how to present yourself better.”
“I had a client who started using LinkedIn and had 1,000-plus connections. They were mostly strangers,” Hellmann says. “It was completely useless to him.”
LinkedIn is ideal for maintaining relationships over time, and for that, a personal connection needs to exist, says Hellman.
“Look for ways to be of support, interest or entertainment,” Whitcomb says.
“It’s not just about posting that picture of you drinking on spring break anymore,” Forman says. “People are looking at comments and statuses and they’re wanting to see if you’re just being nasty for little reason. If they find a comment of someone flaming someone, they may say, ‘Is this the type of person I want in my organization?’”
“It’s akin to a single guy asking a friend, ‘Hey, know of any women I can marry?’” Whitcomb says. “Use open-ended questions to create dialogue and communicate in a way that encourages conversations. Ask for advice about the job search, referrals to networking contacts or insights on a particular company.”
People spend too much time hoping to be found on LinkedIn, Hellmann says. “It’s a passive job search instead of going after what you want. LinkedIn is ideal for an active job search. It’s all about leveraging your network and contacting people you don’t know.”
On the other hand, Whitcomb says not to expect any social media site to work in one da,y or even one week or one month. “Be strategic, be consistent and allow serendipity,” she says.
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