Job Hunting Tips using Social Media

Absolutely Abby in Fairport, NY

There are many ways to enhance your job-hunting process by using social media according to Abby Kohut aka Absolutely Abby.  She presented top social media tools to a packed group with standing room only in Fairport on October 9, 2012. The presentation topic was: How to Maximize Your Positioning with Social Media.

There was no surprise that LinkedIn was at the top of the agenda. Absolutely Abby shared some secrets that recruiters use to find candidates. While you go through these tips, think about how you can tweak your profile to take advantage of those secrets.

Box.Net and Slide Share

There are two locations on LinkedIn where you can put information to help recruiters and companies know you are the absolutely perfect – Box.net and Slide Share.

The major difference between Box.net and Slide Share is privacy. Slide share is public and searchable by everyone – even outside LinkedIn.

Box.net and Slide Share are great places to showcase:

  • Articles
  • Recommendations
  • Published articles – scan in PDF format
  • PowerPoint presentations
  • Source Code
  • Photos receiving awards
  • Videos demonstrating something you are good at

Think of Box.net or Slide Share as a “Brag Book” or portfolio of accomplishments.

For example, sales people use brag books in interviews to illustrate their results. Their brag book might contain award letters, charts showing their sales numbers year over year or in comparison to others.

Scientists or inventors might use brag books to show diagrams that includes proprietary work.

Include your resume in a box.net file if you have one resume. Abby Kohut recommends not including multiple resumes for different positions.

Always include your email address on your resume. Your email address should be professional – avoid an address such as hotchick@aol.com, instead opt an email address such as johnd@gmail.com. Establish a separate email address for all your job-hunting activity – it will be easier to shut down the address once you have landed at your new employer.

What can you share that tells a story to a potential new employer?

YouTube

Get yourself noticed by using YouTube – who knows your video may go viral! Access to video equipment is much easer – I picked up a Sony Bloggie recorder and have used it with groups. Here are a few types of videos you could make that would get a recruiter or company’s attention:

  1. Tell a story about yourself and explain why you are the absolutely perfect candidate for the job.
  2. Ask colleagues to make recommendations on your behalf so employers hear why you would make a great employee!

Don’t discount the impact of visual media – if it something you are comfortable doing – do it and do it well.

Fine-tune your LinkedIn Profile

Have a 100% complete LinkedIn profile; otherwise you will not come up high on search results. Make sure your email and phone number are visible in the written area, not just the contact area.

The number of first and second connections you have is equally important. The secret is to make it easy for recruiters to find you – the further away your connection to the recruiter, the less likely they will find you

It may seem redundant to use the same words over and over in your profile however; it is critical step to place high on search results for recruiters and employers. Your key words – the specific words that describe what you do or the skills you have – should be used anywhere from 10-15 times through out your entire LinkedIn profile

Here’s why….

When a recruiter or company does a search, they use those key words to get a list of potential candidates. The more times your key word appears, the higher you are on their list. The closer your connection, the higher you are on their search list results.

Let’s say you aren’t sure what key words you should have in your profile. Absolutely Abby has a great tip – www.wordle.net. Simply put in the job description or your resume and it will tell you what key words are found – then you can adjust as necessary. In your resume, your key words should appear at least 2-3 times.

Connect with a LION

LinkedIn has a subgroup of people known as LIONs, which stands for LinkedIn Open Networker. LIONs connect with anyone – which is why they have huge networks. Many LIONs are recruiters – simply because they want to expand their connection reach to look for candidates.

When you connect with a LION, you create more second degree connections because all their connections are now two degrees away from you!

Think about the LIONs that might benefit you the most, they may be people in your:

  • City
  • Industry
  • Function

Always have a Current Job Title or Two…

If you don’t have a current title on your LinkedIn profile – you are not included in search results! If you have Unemployed as your title, anyone searching for someone in your profession will not find you because unemployed is not their key word.

Absolutely Abby shares that you can have up to three concurrent jobs and recommends that you create a brand new job during your employment gap.  For example if you are an administrative assistant, you might use the following titles:

  • Administrative Assistant
  • Secretary
  • Any other job title that describes your work

Remember, you don’t know what key word the recruiter or company is using and they might use a term that is industry specific – just one more reason to use different multiple titles.

Let’s say you are in job transition, what company names could you possible use? Here are some to consider:

  • Unemployed
  • In transition
  • Seeking Great Opportunity
  • “Your City”
  • Free Agent
  • Self-Employed (only if you are)
  • Consultant (only if you are)

If we put it all together, here are some examples of what it might look like:

Secretary or Administrative Assistant at HR Free Agent

Executive Coach or Career Coach or Organizational Development (OD) at Self-Employed

If you volunteer, list those companies and the job you are doing as a volunteer. If you don’t volunteer – think about doing it especially if you are looking to build skills in a new field. You’ll gain experience that will help round out your resume.

Hopefully you have found a tip or two to implement. You can find additional reference material in these Absolutely Abby recaps:

Social Media Applicant Screening: A Double Edged Sword

Is your prospective employer using social media sources such as LinkedIn, Facebook, MySpace, YouTube and Twitter to learn more about you? According to HRhero.com, companies are using these forums as inexpensive recruitment and retention tools.

Social media is becoming more main stream for employers to find prospective employees and to do background checks on them. “Three-quarters of hiring managers check LinkedIn to research the credentials of job candidates” according to a Jump Start Social Media poll on the use of social media in the hiring process. “Of the hiring managers surveyed, 75% use LinkedIn, 48% use Facebook, and 26% use Twitter to research candidates before making a job offer.”

What would they learn about you? As with most decisions we make, there are benefits and risks to revealing ourselves publically.

The Hiring Manager’s Advantage

If an employer finds you from a traditional channel, such as networking, newspaper solicitation or through a recruiter, don’t be surprised if they “Google you” or tap into some of the larger social media hot spots prior to extending an offer.

Employers are turning to the internet as a cost effective proposition to post jobs or place recruitment ads on many of the sites at little to no cost, unlike Monster for Employers where you buy job postings.

Job hiring internet surfers will look at your public profile to learn about your background or expertise before contacting you. Depending on what they uncover, you might never hear from them. Conversely, if they like what they see, it may solidify an invitation for an interview.

It is easy to find someone on the internet if they have a presence. In social media networking sites such as Facebook or LinkedIn, search by entering their name. Many profiles have pictures to assist identifying someone with a common name.

To do a general search, use your favorite search engine, Google, Yahoo, Bing or other application and enter the person’s name in the search bar. To narrow a search, use “quotes” around the search criteria.

Are you new to using social media as a recruitment tool? Click to Client gives an example of a step by step process for how to hire star talent.

The Job Seeker’s Advantage

On membership sites, the amount of information you share is an individual decision. Some people are open to sharing their public information; others are more private. There are options on most sites to hide your profile, making your information available to select users or no one at all…which may defeat the purpose of being on the site.

If your profile is public, consider it to be your calling card or brand statement. What you say and how you say it will shape or affirm the perception a prospective employer has of you.

If your profile has links to other websites, blogs or other recommendations, expect employers to visit them. For example, there are job seekers who start blogs – sometimes to promote themselves or maybe to share their passion around a special interest. If the purpose of your blog is to convey your knowledge and expertise, it may be a good move.

Recently, I met Dara Greiger who started a blog to raise awareness of her personal journey to conquer a mountain and raise funds for organ transplantation. I am in awe with her determination to climb both mountains.

On her blog and Twitter account she readily shares her success as a transplant survivor. If she was looking for a job, I wonder how prospective employers may see some one like her – do they see her as a more risky employee?

To me, she is someone who perseveres and meets her challenges – a sure sign of a winner. The challenge is that not everyone sees things the same way.

If your special interest(s) is a potential deal killer with an employer, reconsider how much you want to share publicly.

As the saying goes “a picture is worth a thousand words“. Plastering your party pictures or stupid moments on MySpace or Facebook could jeopardize your chances of the dream job. Employers ultimately want to hire responsible individuals who make sound judgments. It is unlikely employers will ask you to explain the photo; they will have already rendered a decision.

Legal Implications

There continues to be legal debate on whether or not companies should utilize the social networking sites for screening purposes. The information companies learn about a candidate could provide a basis for discrimination if someone is not hired. It is something to consider, though unlikely to impact how the internet continues to change how connect on a more global level.