Be a Social Seeker, Part 2

Dear Readers,

Last week, we explored how to search for a job on Facebook. Here, we’ll see how other social media platforms can help in your hunt for a new position.

Twitter_000015982279Twitter Tips

Twitter is probably the best for connecting with companies and people you don’t already know. You can develop a Twitter relationship, and hope it hatches into something more.

First, fill out your bio. Like everything on Twitter, you have to keep it short and tweet! You have only 160 characters to give your virtual elevator speech. As with Facebook and LinkedIn, you want to include a professional-looking head shot, maybe even the same one you use for other social platforms for the recognition factor.

Follow companies you have an interest in and the people who work at those companies, and engage with them. Retweet, yes, but add thoughtful commentary or ask a perceptive question. In your tweets, point to your LinkedIn profile or your personal website or blog, if you have one. But don’t just use Twitter for self-promotion; offer valuable content for your field or circle of interests.

Use Twitter Lists to organize the deluge of tweets into a collection of useful information for your job search.

Level Up on LinkedIn

Check out my past post about LinkedIn essentials. Beyond basic connections, you can sleuth out the HR contact or potential hiring manager for a company you are interested in working for. If you can find a connection to hand-deliver your résumé to HR down the hall, your chances are much greater to get your foot in the door. Your connection may even have some insight about the job that’s not available in the ad.

You can also check out people who currently work at a company to see what their career paths have been. Perhaps one of the companies in an employee’s previous experience is just the place for you to apply now. Similarly, try an advanced search for people in or near your zip code who have the same skill keywords as yours.

In a Forbes article, William Arruda advises, “Ignore [Anita Clew’s and] LinkedIn’s advice to only accept connection requests from people you know” because LinkedIn’s search algorithm favors those who are in your network. Chances are, you don’t yet have a connection to the person who may hiring you next. (Okay, I may just have to update my rule to not accept all requests.) Arruda urges you to shoot for 500 connections, as that number seems to pack some psychological magic on those who view your profile.

Explore LinkedIn’s Alumni feature, recommends Wayne Breitbarth, author of The Power Formula for LinkedIn Success. Be sure to also join your Alumni’s LinkedIn Group. Speaking of Groups, join any that are relevant to your industry and skills. LinkedIn allows you to join up to 50 Groups. To get the most networking value, be an active participant in your Groups.

linkedinmemeAs mentioned in Part 1, 94% of recruiters are active on LinkedIn. HR professionals are checking out your LinkedIn profile whether you are actively looking for a job or not. If you have a good enough profile, you may be contacted by a recruiter. Wouldn’t that be the ultimate outcome in passive job searching!

Pore over Pinterest

You’ll have a better chance finding a job ad on a coffee shop bulletin board than a bona fide job opening posted on the Pinterest. But there are atypical ways to use this digital bulletin board in your job search. Search for career-oriented keywords, such as “résumé” or “interview” and you’ll find a wealth of informational gems. The individual “pins” are visual bookmarks that, when clicked, take you back to the original site. You can follow Anita Clew on Pinterest, and check out my boards that contain past blog posts, as well as ideas on interview and office attire, work lunches, or even inspirational quotes to keep you going when the job or the job hunt gets you down. To get started on Pinterest, here’s a beginner’s guide.

Enter the YouTube Universe

Just like Pinterest, you can use keywords to search for videos to further your career knowledge and sharpen your job hunting proficiency. But YouTube is also an opportunity to upload your own video résumé or introduction. After all, Justin Bieber got his big break by posting a recording of his performance on YouTube! You’ll want to keep your video about 60-90 seconds in length and as professional as possible (call in favors from any friends with film experience). Include a link to your YouTube video in your cover letter, and you’ll seen as innovative with leading-edge skills.

Get started in your social search by choosing the one social media site that you are already enthusiastic about and employing it in a new way… for your employment.

Readers: Which social media platform has been most helpful in your job search?

Do you have a job-related question? Ask Anita.

Subscribe to receive weekly emails with career tips and advice for job seekers, employed people, and managers and supervisors.

RELATED POSTS:
Loving LinkedIn
Facebook: Friend or Foe?
Help People Help You Find a Job
Online Reputation Monitoring

Be a Social Seeker, Part 1

Dear Anita,

I just heard that a friend of a friend got a job through Facebook. I never thought beyond LinkedIn for job searching on social media. Do you have any tips on how to use Facebook or Twitter in my job search?

Social Job Search InfographicDear, Social Butterfly,

I was surprised myself to see that, according to Jobvite, a whopping 76% of social job seekers found their current position through Facebook. While I couldn’t ferret out a statistic for how many people actually found a new job through LinkedIn, success stories are easier to find. And Jobvite does indicate that 94% of recruiters are active on LinkedIn, so don’t abandon the popular professional networking site just yet.

Pew Research Center found only 13% of LinkedIn users check their account daily, 25% check weekly, and 61% check less often. By contrast, 70% of Facebook users check the site daily. So it makes sense that people who are more active on Facebook may benefit from including their online friends in their job search tactics.

Facebook Job Search Tips

Conduct a Facebook makeover, including a more professional profile picture to replace that blurry selfie. Use your About section as a mini-résumé. Be sure to include all past workplaces and college information and, just like LinkedIn, add keywords about your professional skills.

Be aware: 93% of recruiters are likely to look at a candidate’s social profile and 42% have reconsidered a candidate based on social content. The three biggest offenders, according to Jobvite: illegal drug references (83%), sexual posts (70%), and spelling/grammar (66%) which narrowly beat out profanity at 63%. Go through several screens of past posts (this could be up to a year’s worth, depending on your Facebook frequency factor). Delete any posts you wouldn’t want a hiring manager to see (or “Limit Past Posts” under Settings). Untag yourself in unflattering photos and enable the setting that allows you to review tags people add to your posts before appearing in your newsfeed. If you have some friends with no regard for social etiquette, you may also want to enable the review feature to keep offensive comments from appearing on your wall.

If your job search is on the down-low, even if you are not Facebook friends with your boss, you may be a friend of a friend so there is always a possibility the word could get back. Double-check your Privacy Settings and take the extra few seconds when posting to use the audience selector. Create a Facebook List to group your business and networking contacts. Then, when you post something career-related, you can use the audience selector to share it with your professional list, and your Aunt Bessie won’t see the latest industry article that she has no interest in.

But keep in mind, good old Aunt Bessie may live next door to the CEO of a company that’s hiring for your position! The Status Update (to Friends and Family only if you’re currently employed) is the most obvious way to use Facebook in your job search. While you don’t want to overdo posting requests for career help, remember that out of sight is out of mind, especially in the fast-moving social feed.

Like the companies you are interested in working for on Facebook. Many savvy businesses are publicizing job openings across all social media.

Facebook’s Graph Search in the bar at the top of the site allows you to type in phrases such as “People who work at Facebook” or “Employers in San Antonio” to see what connections pop up. Not nearly as powerful as LinkedIn connections (and glitchy since a recent upgrade for mobile devices), this Facebook search may still yield some useful contacts to Friend or Message.

No matter the platform, social media can definitely be your friend in your job search. Next week, we’ll look at Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, and some beyond-the-basic tips for LinkedIn.

Readers: Have you use Facebook to successfully land a new job? Tell us about it!

RELATED POSTS:
Lessons on LinkedIn
Facebook – A Hiring Manager’s Best Friend
Run Better Meetings
Top 10 Interview Fails

Finding Job References

I’ve had a few questions in the past weeks about references:

I went online to apply for a job. I was able to fill everything out on a job application except for a reference list. The application requires that I list three references with name, phone number, and email. I do not have that kind of information to give, especially email address. I cannot submit application without all the required information for references. How can I work past this issue?

Multiracial Thumbs Up Against Blue SkyDear, No References,

You need to get some younger “Millennial” friends with computers! Other people who may not have ready references include:

  • Young workers
  • Recent graduates
  • Stay-at-home parents or caregivers entering or reentering workforce
  • Employees terminated from one or more jobs
  • Bridge burners (you stormed out, or just didn’t appear for work one day without giving notice)
  • Self-employed individuals

Are references required fields in the application? If you cannot submit your application without filling in all of the blanks, try entering “N/A” (for Not Available) or type in “Upon Request.”  While some applications specifically request “professional” references, personal or character references may be accepted by other companies.

The professional references that hold the most sway are former supervisors. Peers or coworkers who can attest to your work ethic are also suitable references. Testimonials from clients or customers would also be impressive, especially for self-employed entrepreneurs seeking jobs.

Job_Reference_MemeIf you don’t have a bevy of professional references, find character references from other acquaintances. Teachers, college professors, or guidance counselors are great references for students and recent grads. Members of civic groups, church, or volunteer organizations may be able to attest to your attributes that would be work-relevant. As a last resort, use personal references, but definitely not your mother, your fiancé, and preferably not your BFF (unless he’s the president of an impressive multinational corporation). Think of your accountant who does your taxes, your landlord, or the long-time family friend who is an upstanding business owner in the community.

Be sure to ask these individuals for permission to include them on applications and your reference list. Ask “Do you feel you know me well enough to provide me with a good job reference?” This gives the person an out if they are uncomfortable vouching for you.

One final note: do not include your references on your résumé. In our online world of searchable job boards, it’s a privacy issue.  When you do provide contact information, give work phone numbers and emails rather than personal whenever possible.

Dear, Anita,

On an employment application, is it appropriate to list Human Resource department, along with that office phone number, in cases where the company is a “branch” location and the corporate office is located in another area (i.e., city or state) or if your direct manager/supervisor is no longer employed by that company?

Dear, Long Gone,

I think that is wise, as the HR department can at least verify your dates of employment. If you have kept in touch with your direct supervisor (and he can give you a glowing recommendation), you may want to use him as a reference with his new contact information.

If you’re out of touch, search for former managers and coworkers on Google or LinkedIn. It’s a good networking practice to stay connected with folks from past jobs – before you want a favor like a recommendation letter. After you reconnect on LinkedIn, endorse skills in which your ex-colleagues excelled, and ask for endorsements in return. In addition to traditional reference checks, many HR departments routinely check social media.

Readers: Who was your most “creative” job reference?

Do you have a job-related question? Ask Anita.

Subscribe to receive weekly emails with career tips and advice for job seekers, employed people, and managers and supervisors.

RELATED POSTS:
Finding a Job Without Recent Work References
Reference Check Response
Responding to Reference Check Requests
Creating a Résumé from Scratch

I Resolve… to Get a New Job

Dear, Anita,

After being in a job that I’m not happy with, after much soul searching, I decided to quit and get a job I love!  It’s been a few months and I didn’t get many interviews during the holidays. Do you have any advice now that everyone is back to business? I’d love to start the new year out in a new job.

Dear, Shooting for the Stars,

I certainly don’t recommend quitting one job before getting another, but what’s done is done. Let’s start with a fresh approach.

Your CareerExplore Your Options.  What about your last job(s) made you unhappy? What tasks did you enjoy the most? To figure out what your dream job looks like, take advantage of some useful self-evaluation tools on  O*net OnLine, an occupation resource website sponsored by the US Department of Labor/ Employment and Training Administration.  Under Advanced Search, you can explore occupations based on your interests, skills, work values, and more. “Know thyself,” as the ancient Greek philosophers recommended. You don’t want to end up in another job where you’ll be unhappy again.

Résumé Review. Take a good look at your résumé. If it hasn’t been working so far, it may need a tune-up – minor or major. Review my post Reasons for No Résumé Response, have a colleague give you feedback, or bite the bullet and hire a professional résumé writing service like CareerPerfect to communicate your skills and experience in the best possible light.

Networking – Social and Traditional. If you’re an introvert, push yourself to do one networking task a week. Go to the chamber of commerce mixer or call an old colleague to ask if they know of any job openings. Haven’t completed your LinkedIn Profile? Checked the privacy settings on your Facebook page? Now is the time to make sure your social media presence is employer-friendly, with no embarrassing photos and off-color language. Google yourself; you may be surprised at the odd things that pop up. (Make sure your Amazon Wish List doesn’t contain anything weird!)

Learn a new job skill. If your newly discovered career goal requires upgraded skills, sign up for a class. If the training you need isn’t available at your local community college or job center, there are a myriad of options on the Internet.  While watching random software tip videos on YouTube can increase your knowledge, choosing a course that provides a certificate of completion you can tout on your résumé is preferable.

Create an action plan. You may have a long-term goal of becoming CEO of a company, but it probably won’t happen next week.  While long-range plans are important, it is equally important to break objectives into yearly, monthly, weekly, and daily goals. This segment from Kababayan Today gives some goal-setting tips for getting a job:

Readers: What is your work-related New Year’s Resolution? Do you plan to jump ship in 2014 and seek a new position? Take our poll above. 

Have a question you would like to ask? Visit http://anitaclew.com/ask-anita/.

Want to receive these tips by email? Simply subscribe for once-a-week advice for career success!

Lessons on LinkedIn

Hi, Anita:

I have just joined LinkedIn to aid in my job search. As a novice to the entire site, I was hoping you could offer some advice on how to take advantage of the introduction feature that is available. Some of the lingo is foreign to me and any insight would be great. Thanks for your help!

Dear, Learning LinkedIn:

Linked_In_GlobeCongratulations on joining LinkedIn. It is a great tool that will aid in your job search and help you build a strong professional network. For those of you who are now just hearing about LinkedIn, it is a business-focused social networking website that connects users with other professionals, recruiters, and companies of interest.  The site offers many tools with the basic free service that everyone should take advantage of.

LinkedIn works through connections. These are to LinkedIn as friends are to Facebook. When you have identified another user with whom you’d like to “connect,” you can make a Connection request, which the other user can accept or deny. An accepted connection is considered 1st degree.

Outside of the 1st-degree circle of connections, you have

  • 2nd-degree Connections: Think of these as a friend of a friend. They are directly connected to one of your professional connections. Keep this in mind when I discuss LinkedIn Introductions.
  • 3rd-degree Connections: Consider these as your 2nd-degree connection’s additional connections. To make it simple, think of this as your co-worker’s friend from graduate school’s boss.
  • Out of Your Network: These LinkedIn users are not currently connected to your 1st-, 2nd-, or 3rd-degree connections.

What I think is a great tool available on LinkedIn is Introductions. We all know that having a person on the inside of a company we want to work for is a step in the right direction. One of your professional connections may be willing to facilitate an opportunity for you to meet an insider who can help you land your next job opportunity.Linked_In_Road_Sign

Here is an example. You want to work as an Administrative Assistant at The Select Family of Staffing Companies and hope that you can find that opportunity by speaking with the head of Human Resources, who you don’t currently know. Your friend Steve, however, is connected with the head of HR at Select. What better way to catch the HR Director’s eye than by having her trusted friend Steve “introduce” you two?

So how do you find these introduction opportunities? I thought you might ask!

  1. Start by going to Company Search and entering the name of the company for which you want to work. If you need to refine your search, you can choose the following parameters that meet your search needs: location, industry, and/or relationship type (2nd or 3rd connections).
  2. Once you have located the company, look to the fair right of the screen and find the “How You’re Connected” section. Click on 2nd-degree connections.
  3. Here, you will see all the people at the company with whom you share common connections. Select the individual to whom you would like to be introduced and hover over to the right of the “Connect” button. A dropdown menu will appear. Click “Get introduced.”
  4. Select from the list one of your closest, most trusted connections and ask for the introduction.
  5. Enter text into the subject line and why you want to get introduced.
  6. Finally click “Send Request” and wait for a response – and hopefully a foot in the door.

I hope this helps you understand just one of the great tools available on LinkedIn. For more information, LinkedIn has put together a short video on how to make the most of the site for your job search:

Readers, what are the tools you use the most on LinkedIn? Have you found it useful in your Job Search?

Best wishes,

Anita

Have a question you would like to ask? Visit http://anitaclew.com/ask-anita/.

Want to receive these tips by email? Simply subscribe for once-a-week tips and tricks for career success!

Job Seeking On the Go

A reader writes…

Hi, Anita:

I am currently on the hunt for new employment opportunities and, with my busy lifestyle, I am finding it difficult to look for jobs while I am out and about. Recently, I have noticed that a number of companies have developed applications for mobile devices.

What are your thoughts on these applications, how will they help me, and where should I start my first download to maximize my efforts?

Dear, Tech-savvy searcher:

Thank you for the question about such a hot topic, considering 77% of job seekers use mobile job search applications. Nowadays, you can find a mobile application for almost anything you can imagine. Everything from child distractions to restaurant finders to major time wasters! All are right at your fingertips. But the best SF Mobile Appthing to come to job seekers since the résumé are employment apps for mobile devices.

As you have mentioned, only a few companies have put their resources into developing productive and user-friendly applications for job seekers. And since yours truly has finally stepped into the 21st century and picked myself up a nifty smart phone, I figured it would be best to take a test-drive of these applications.

Some great things to note about job seeker apps on your mobile devices:

  •  Many of the best applications are FREE to users. Utilize the free options before trying any of the pay-per-download apps. I think you will be just as surprised as I was by the functionality of these free apps.
  • At all times, you are able to have the tools needed to apply immediately to an opportunity. You can provide contact information, apply with your LinkedIn profile, and more with a few taps on the screen.
  • GPS is often used to determine the distance that you are from a job you are interested in.
  • Scroll through and share positions that you, your friends, or your family may be interested in.
  •  If you are currently employed, you can discreetly search and apply for positions on your lunch break.

BlackberryMy friends at The Select Family of Staffing Companies have just released a mobile application (that you can download today by clicking the appropriate link) for iPhone, iPad, Blackberry and Android smart phones called Job Finder from Select Family. CareerBuilder also has a great app that is worth looking into. Both are highly ranked by users and provide job seekers with the tools to locate their next employment opportunity.

I challenge you to try tools such as Job Finder from Select Family or Jobs by CareerBuilder today and report back on how they benefitted or hurt your job search.

I can’t wait to hear what your thoughts are on this new technology!

Have a question you would like to ask? Visit http://anitaclew.com/ask-anita/.

Warm Wishes,

Anita

Networking Know-How

A reader writes:

Hi Anita! I am new to the area and in search of a new job. I have heard and learned from reading your blog that networking is one of the most important aspects of job hunting. Can you offer any advice to help break the ice and get the most out of professional networking?

Dear, Need-to-Network,

Thank you so much for the great question. I have said time and time again that networking is extremely important when it comes to finding your next position. The more people you know, the more likely you are to bridge the gap between Business Man with Cardbeing a stranger or being the candidate that comes highly recommended. Getting your foot in the door and your résumé to the top of the pile is an incredible advantage in today’s world.

First off, get yourself a professional set of business cards with your contact information on them. Even if you are not currently employed, you should still be prepared. Being able to exchange business cards is networking gold! Think about it. How embarrassing is it to be empty-handed when you finally meet the CEO of the company you are dying to work for and he/she asks for your info. You just blew that first impression. Companies like Vista Print offer deals where you get 250 business cards FREE! All you pay is shipping and processing. Now you have no excuse not to have them! Include your name, address, telephone number, email, and other vital contact information.

One of the big No-Nos in networking is focusing your attention elsewhere, as in playing with your phone or carrying on a text messaging conversation. It makes you look Thumbs up from Womandisinterested, unapproachable, and worst of all, unprofessional. Do yourself a huge favor and leave your phone in the car or keep it in your pocket on silent. You are networking to meet new people, not to catch up with old ones.

Many of us, including me (I know, HARD TO BELIEVE), can find ourselves at a loss for words when placed under pressure or in a new social setting. Before you go to an event, prepare and arm yourself with what we call an “elevator speech.” When a hiring manager or person of interest asks you “what do you do?” or “what are you future career goals?” you will be ready to give them a response with a punch. You will leave them with an impression that you are smart, confident, and maybe even their next star employee!

Keep your spiel short, sweet, and strong for the most impact. Also be ready with follow-up questions to keep the conversation moving. (Check out my “Sell Yourself… Quickly” post for more tips.)

Finally, don’t be afraid to speak up and talk to others. This is probably the most difficult part of networking. It would probably be easier to be a wallflower and blend in with the crowd, but that is exactly the opposite of what you are trying to achieve. If you see a group of people talking, pick up your head, perk up your posture, and stroll over and introduce yourself. The more you do it, the less awkward it gets. Before interrupting their conversation, however, do be sure you read their body language; if they’re having a serious and intense discussion, wait a bit before going over.

Check out this video on Networking’s Golden Rule for one final tip:

Readers, what tips and tricks have you found helpful during networking opportunities?

Have a question you would like to ask? Visit http://anitaclew.com/ask-anita/.

Disclaimer

Anita Clew's blog posts are intended for general guidance and should never be taken as legal advice. In all instances where harassment, inequity, or unfair treatment is believed to be present, please consult your HR Department or legal representation.
%d bloggers like this: