Extend Your Job Search with Social Media

Question

“What is the best way to use social media to extend my job search?” — Kellen from Reno, NV

Answer

Before the Internet and social media became popular, most of us did our job search the “old-fashioned” way.  This meant face-to-face networking, going through classified ads in print publications, and attending job fairs.  These options are still available, but using social media is essential if you’re looking for a position in today’s market.

Best Social Networks for Job Seekers

Here are some examples on how specific sites can work to your advantage:

  • LinkedIn: If you’re looking for a job, you want to create a profile on LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network. Signing up for an account gives you access to professional resources, connections with colleagues and a direct line to businesses looking for people to fill employment or volunteer opportunities. You can sign up for groups in your interest area, search for companies by name, keywords or industry; or check out LinkedIn Today which will give you the latest news and suggest industries based on your profile.
  • Facebook: While you may think of Facebook as strictly for fun, it’s actually a great networking resource. This month, Facebook rolled out Interest lists, which allows you to quickly subscribe to updates from experts and organizations in your employment interest area. Subscribing to these lists can help you stay up-to-date on the latest happenings in your field, as well as let you know about job openings at relevant organizations.
  • Idealist: Idealist is heavily focused on volunteer opportunities, social causes, and access to employment in nonprofit and community-based organizations.  On Idealist, resources are available according to areas of focus; you can also  post a listing or message to the larger network about your skills and interests.

And did you know? Goodwill has its own social networking site, GoodProspects, which allows you to join groups and discussions based on your industry interest and connect with a mentor to help guide and inform your career plan.  GoodProspects is also unique in that you can opt-in to receive career-related information and updates via mobile text.

Make Your Profile Employment-Ready

Once you’ve decided what sites you want to use, consider the following recommendations on registering and setting up your profile:

  • When you register, use a professional email address (something like firstname.lastname@emailprovider.com) for your contact information
  • Post a headshot photo; one that is not too casual and that you wouldn’t mind employers seeing
  • Take time to think about your interests and experience, and list those that might catch the attention of someone searching for your talents
  • Keep certain settings public. Employers and others can’t find you if you have your settings private. Allowing everyone to search for you, have access to your professional email address, and work history will be important as you network
  • Add your friends and other connections on the site
  • Get the word out! Letting your friends and followers know you’re looking for a job can help you learn about open positions before they get listed on popular jobs boards

If you’re ready to dive in, but need to brush up on your social media and Internet skills, consider taking advantage of the free online learning modules offered by GCFLearnFree.org. There are lessons on social media, Facebook, Twitter, blogging and more.