Spreading gossip, playing games and posting party pics on Facebook might be fun, but none of these activities will help you with your career – unless you’re trying to stymie it. But that doesn’t mean a social media site can’t be an effective job hunting tool… if you know which to use and how best to use it.
And it should be of no surprise that the best one to use is not Facebook. Nor is it MySpace, Twitter or FourSquare. In fact, if you’re serious about using social media to job hunt, you’ll want to set strict privacy settings on all those personal accounts or delete them completely. (You don’t want an HR person to view them and find some reason not to grant you an interview.) Then open a free account at LinkedIn.
LinkedIn boasts more than 100 million members; including executives from each of the Fortune 500 companies. Most LinkedIn members disclose where they currently work and where they have in the past. They use the site in a variety of ways, including to brand themselves, search for new jobs and to plant networking seeds that may bloom into big opportunities over time.
The following are 7 Ways You Can Use LinkedIn To Advance Your Career:
1. Spread The Word.
Much like “friending” people on Facebook, LinkedIn lets you invite people into your professional network. Through a simple search, you’re likely to find a seemingly unlimited number of present and past colleagues. Add everyone you’re on good terms with and let them know the type of job you seek and your long-term career goals.
2. Get Recommended.
Ask the people who join your network to recommend you. Positive recommendations from your past bosses, peers and/or staff members verify you were a productive and valued employee. (Don’t worry – you’ll be able to review and approve the post before making it public).
3. Check Them Out.
Find companies employing people in your field and with your experience level. One way to do this is to search for people who work near where you live and have a similar skill set. Then check out all the companies (past and present) that hired them.
4. Check Them Out Again.
Don’t just find out which companies hired people like you – find out why they were hired. You can do this by browsing through employees’ personal profiles and job experiences. This can give you insight into how you can better adjust your resume (and profile), as well as what kind of education, training and experience a company favors.
5. Get To The Top.
If you’re lucky, when you search for the type of job you’re interested, you’ll discover you know someone who knows a Hiring Manager. (LinkedIn’s method of revealing this is called “degrees;” as in the old game, Six Degrees Of Kevin Bacon.) But if this doesn’t happen, you may find that you at least know someone who’s working at a company that’s hiring. If so, ask him or her to walk your resume to the Hiring Manager, as hand-delivered resumes almost always get more attention than those that pile up in inboxes.
6. Get Small.
If you’re having problems finding a job at the big company – go small. And yes, a great small (and especially startup) company is hard to find, but they can be worth the search. Simply search companies by “number of employees;” narrowing the results by the industries you favor (e.g., heathcare IT, security, etc.). Or, try typing “startup” in LinkedIn’s advanced search page.
7. Find A Monster Opportunity.
While LinkedIn’s reputation is for helping people network themselves into a job, it also has a section where you can simply apply for openings. Much like Monster or Careerbuilder, you just tell LinkedIn the type of job you’re looking for and it will give you a list of matching job postings for which you can instantly apply.
These are just seven of many ways LinkedIn can help you land your next great job. So if you have more ideas – or have successfully landed a job using social media – please tell your story in this article’s comments section.
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