Social Networking Sites
Networking, or talking to people you know, is by far the best way to find professional opportunities and jobs. It is especially valuable when the people you talk to can personally vouch for your professional skills. Several groups have developed electronic networking systems, often with added social functionality. Each site has its own features and functionality, as well as a slightly different population and target market. All of these sites change with time so do your own research to find which, if any, will best meet your current needs.
LinkedIn.com is one such site that is extremely popular with professionals. It allows you to enter your professional biographical information and make connections with other people. You can then search the not only your connections, but their connections, to identify people with particular characteristics. You can then find out who can connect you to this new person, or provide you with information about them.
Other sites, like Facebook and MySpace, are designed to facilitate more social interaction online. MySpace has been around longer than Facebook, and is used by a slightly older population. You can use these sites to find people with whom you have connections (same school, major, etc.) and ask them to help you in your job search, but it is more difficult to find people who can connect you to them. You can also use these sites to check up on potential employers or interviewers - and they will use them to check up on you, as well.
Twitter is one of the latest sites to join the social media collective. It's a microblogging service that allows users to send 140-character messages. Savvy job seekers are "tweeting" (posting messages) to outline their skills, experiences and career goals, and links to their résumés. People are also using Twitter to follow companies of interest and to learn about networking events and openings. Twitter can do more than just post messages. It's generated vast array of third-party services, some of which come in handy for a job search. TweetMyJobs is one such application. Job seekers instantly receive a text message when a company posts a new job on one of the service's job channels, which is a specific Twitter account that only receives jobs for a given industry and location. A job seeker can also post his or her résumé, and it will be sent to Twitter. You can also set up a Twitter business card. Check out TwtBizCard, a simple service that lets you set up an electronic business card that can be easily tweeted to your new contacts.
Other ways to make the most out of your Twitter presence:
- Use a professional looking picture on your page.
- Include a link to your LinkedIn page, an online CV or a résumé, in your profile.
- Establish yourself as an expert in your field through your postings on Twitter.
- Before contacting a recruiter via Twitter, check out their bio, how long they've been around, whether they respond to tweets, look at their website, and ask your contacts whether the recruiter is credible.
There are a variety of Twitter accounts dedicated to providing job listings by field, company, region, and more. Use the Twitter search function and type in keywords important in your job search.