By Keith Hosey
A non-computer user once said to me, “It’s a wonder with everything that’s on the internets, they don’t explode”. As simple as this outsider comment might sound, and may make you chuckle, it’s actually not a bad insight. There’s so much out there. Want to learn how to put more RAM into your computer? How about change the bulb in your LCD TV? There’s a how-to for everything on Youtube. So why wouldn’t you use the internet to help you find a job? I’m not talking about Monster.com or Careerbuilder; everyone knows about those. Studies show that well under 50% of jobs are found through those sites.
I’m talking about Social Media sites. Some people are scared of the words.
“I don’t have time to waste on that stuff.”
“All it is are stupid people and their opinions.”
Some people think all social media is good for is to post your vacation pictures on Facebook. Here’s the secret… There are real people having real conversations out there. Networking is still the best way to find a job and you can’t count out electronic networking. The flip side of that idea is that you need to be careful of how you present yourself, not only in person, but online too. According to Careerbuilder, more than half (53 percent) of employers research potential job candidates on social networks such as Facebook.
Good ole’ Fashioned Google
Have you Googled yourself lately? Do it, and check the first four pages. If your Myspace page’s friends’ comments about drinking and partying pop up, it might be time to close that account. If your name pops up and it’s associated with a specific disability group and you’re uncomfortable with that, at least you know about it and you can address that. The other great thing about Google is Google alerts. You can set a weekly/daily/real time alert email for anything you want. I’d set it for your name (I do it) at least. You can set it for industry specific keywords, specific companies, or even the words “jobs+(your hometown)”.
Last year Facebook became the fifth largest country in the world (if it were a country). No Joke. I’m waiting for my 96-year-old grandma to friend me. How many friends do you have? 50? 100? 200? More? Do they know you’re looking for a job? Let your friends work for you, but don’t overwhelm them. Nobody likes a needy person, so get on there and post content about other topics regularly, and your job search occasionally. The rule of thumb for companies to do self-promotion is 1:10 and I’d stick to that. One “help me find a job” to ten “check out this Youtube video”. Don’t forget that 53 percent of employers are checking your profile. Are your pictures of spring break 2009 visible to non-friends? What about your political/religious views?
If you’re a professional and you’re not on LinkedIn, I suggest getting a free account. It’s like a resume on steroids. You can connect with people you’ve worked with or know; it’s a professional Facebook. The great thing is that you can join groups, which all have discussions going on. I’m a member of quite a few and some are disability related. Many have jobs posted regularly. I’m a member of a Louisville group that has local jobs listed regularly. Invite me to connect with you and I’ll be happy to, check out my networks and groups. By the way, there’s a whole “Jobs” tab.
Are you an expert (or really good) at something? Are you blogging about it? This is a great way to get attention for your skills. Use Wordpress, Blogger, or whatever. If you know your stuff, write about it. What do you think I’m doing right now? I blog about disability, employment, and other topics because I just happen to know a little about these subjects. This is a great way to get some attention in whatever you know a lot about. I’m sure there’s something you know a lot about. Blog about it, and the practice of writing will make you better at the art of writing.
What is twitter? I think for many people this is an underestimated and misunderstood network, but I see jobs posted there every day. There are so many posted in my network. I follow 99 people, all who are not job related, and there are jobs there. Non-profit jobs, independent living jobs, social media jobs, because that‘s what topics I follow. Follow what you want. By the way, there are twitter accounts out there that tweet only job openings. Don’t want to sign up for twitter? You can go to www.search.twitter.com; then you can follow real time results like #jobs, #employment, etc. The hashtag (#) denotes a topic. You can use the same techniques as I mentioned for Google alerts, with industry specific keywords, specific companies, etc. Unprecedented access to experts. Many people will follow you out of courtesy if you follow them, this includes experts in many industries. You can ask questions or get help. I had a problem making a part of my website accessible and I threw the question out there. I got a response from @GlendaWH in Canada who connected me with @alzwell in California, who is an expert in accessible web design. The point is, there are real people out there and they may be able to help.
If I've left out anything, please let me know. I hope this helps you job seekers out there. Now, get out there and network… Happy job hunting.