Did you know that 85% of available jobs are never advertised? Yes, it’s true. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 15% of today’s career opportunities ever make it to the job boards. And – when they do get advertised, the competition is fierce.
So why do so many job seekers spend so much time searching job boards for work? My guess is that it is the path of least resistance. It is easier to sit back and wait for jobs to become available; but is it smart? Not so much.
I often teach clients better ways to effectively use their network to make things happen instead of waiting for the phone to ring. Learning the ins and outs of using social media for job search can be quite an undertaking. Between LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook, the three main social media sites, there is a lot to understand. My argument is that you cannot be reactive when it comes to your search strategy. You must be a proactive job seeker to get ahead.
In addition to the main social media sites, there are a variety of niche sites that can be very useful for making connections. Forums in finance, technology, marketing, or other specialty areas can be a rich source of networking contacts.
The key things that you need to know in order to proactively search for a job using social media are as follows:
1. Create/Update your LinkedIn Profile. Join LinkedIn groups and participate in discussions to meet others. Reach out to potential hiring managers and colleagues you have worked with in the past. Find out where they are now.
2. When networking via LinkedIn, you can also reach out to people you don’t know. Run a search for all former employees at your past jobs. The mere fact that the same firm employed you both gives you a common point of conversation. Don’t be afraid to send and introductory InMail and ask for a referral.
3. Another way to grow your network on LinkedIn is by contacting people who know the same people you know. By taking a look at the connections of your connections, you may be able to identify numerous potential hiring managers. Ask your connections for introductions.
4. If you are not yet savvy when it comes to Twitter, consider going to You Tube to view videos on how to get started contributing as part of the Twitter community. Start to follow people that are experts in the same space where your interests lie.
5. If you can tweet or retweet valuable information, you will be able to slowly get followers. As you participate in conversations, you will meet new people to add to your network who have the potential to help you identify potential job opportunities.
6. While Facebook has not historically demonstrated great value as a place to network for career search, they do have plans in the works to increase their focus on job opportunities. If you have a Facebook profile, make sure that all photos and content are completely appropriate viewing and reading material for all that visit your page. You don’t want hiring managers to think twice about you as a candidate. This extends to people you are connected with who might have pictures of you on their profiles.
7. When it comes to using other niche sites for networking, participate in relevant discussions about topics where you are knowledgeable. Post a professional photo of yourself. Let the group know that you are actively seeking a new role.8.If the forum allows you to send individual messages and provides you with a list of the members, you should reach out to a few select people to see if they have any job leads for you. Engage in open conversation. It is likely that you will be able to serve as a source of information to others as well. Networking involves give and take.
While social media can expand your network way beyond the local community, this does not mean you shouldn’t participate in area activities and networking events. When job seeking, it is best to divide you time up appropriately. Leverage various social media resources while keeping in mind the traditional avenues for uncovering potential opportunities.