‘Social Media and the Job Hunt’ or ‘Don’t Look Now, But Somebody Changed the Rules!’

The Social Media Web

The Social Media Web

I can remember writing my first resume.  I painstakingly typed it out (Yes, on an actual typewriter.  Don’t mock me.) along with a cover letter and hand-delivered it to my prospective employer; Baskin-Robbins Ice Cream.  Well, those days are gone along with my habit of binging on 31 flavours  and an occasional ‘International Cream’ (They were laced with various liqueurs from around the world.  It was great.  You could be a rebellious bad ass and have ice cream at the same time.).

No, we live our lives digitally now and whether you like it or hate it, it ain’t gonna change.  The only winning strategy is to roll with the times and acknowledge that having a strong web presence across a variety of social media platforms isn’t just a bonus, it’s pretty much a necessity.  Sites like linkedIn, facebook, youtube and twitter are allowing people to find out about and connect with each other to a degree that would have been almost inconceivable just even twenty years ago.  (Some of us were still getting used to having a bank card back then.)

Upon graduation now, my best prospect for finding an employer or for having them find me, is to

Dan Schawbel of mashable.com has written an excellent article entitled ‘7 Secrets to Getting Your Next Job Using Social Media’ that provides a solid outline for developing and managing a social media-based job search strategy.  http://mashable.com/2009/01/05/job-search-secrets/ The 7 secrets he outlines are as follows:

  1. Conduct a people search instead of a job search
  2. Use attraction-based marketing to get job offers
  3. Be proactive on Twitter
  4. Capitalize on LinkedIn
  5. Advertise your brand using AdWords and Facebook Social Ads
  6. Construct a video resume and upload it to YouTube
  7. Subscribe to blogs that have job listings

Of particular interest to me is number 2.  This is a fundamental swing away from the classic job-search model.  Whereas I had to go out and pound the pavement for that first job, proactively seeking out employment, now the prescribed strategy is to have a well-planned and well-groomed presence on the web and use that to attract employers to you.  Businesses large and small are using sites like linkedIn as resources for finding just the right person to fill spots in their organization.  This change in the nature of the job market is explained here briefly in the following video.

“That’s great”, you say! You love social networking!  And it is great.  It’s never been easier to connect with people, or people that know people, than it is today. We have the whole world at our fingertips and that is an incredible resource.  There are perils though and we need to be aware of them.  Because just as easily as a potential employer can find your resume, they can also stumble across that picture of you from that night when you went to your buddy’s, got really hammered, passed out on his couch and he drew kitty-kat whiskers and the like all over your face.  Some employers may find that entertaining or think it shows your humanity, but don’t count on it.  It doesn’t mean that you have to whitewash your facebook account or go page-to-page untagging yourself, it is just a reminder that Big Brother may indeed be watching!

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4 Comments

  1. Hey Ia! nice blog you have here. You obviously enjoy what you are doing.

  2. The more employers use social media as a means to find workers, the more important your online ‘first’ impression is.

    Do people actually draw on other people’s faces when they pass out?

  3. That was cool and useful information to share with us. I will keep that in mind 😀

  4. I agree with what you say Ian about how we have the world at our fingertips. It is actually quite impressive when you think of it, we can contact people close or far by a press of a button. I also agree with what you said about how employers can also notice the somewhat ridiculous things you’ve done with friends, which could turn out in you losing that job.

    The other thing that came to mind about what you said about attractiveness. This is great because if you create an amazing looking portfolio website for example to attract employers to you through social medias such as linkedIn, Twitter, Facebook; although this also increases your competition. If they can find you easily through those means, then they can also find hundreds of other people just as easily.

    We would have to make our portfolio websites exceptional to make ours stand out more than anyone else’s.


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