Posts Tagged ‘social networking’

Social media isn’t just a means to announce to the world that you just had some bad brussel sprouts at lunch. There are lots of ways you can use Twitter, LinkedIn and even Facebook to do an effective job search. Here are a few:

  • Make sure you use keywords and phrases most relevant to your field in your LinkedIn profile (I’ll assume you already have one – if not, get it up there yesterday!). More and more employers are trolling LinkedIn to find candidates, before even posting a job on job boards like Monster. They do a search for specific skills listed in profiles, and have been known to contact applicants whose profiles come up as a result. So if you’re looking for a job as a contortionist, be sure to include “twisting,”  “bending,” “extreme stretching,” and perhaps “overextension” in your profile.
  • Use your connections on LinkedIn to help you network your way into companies you’re interested in. It’s a professional networking site; that’s what it’s for. Hunt around in your connections to see who they’re connected to (1st or 2nd-level connections) to find companies to target in your job search. Ask the people you’re already connected to to introduce you, which consists of sending a message on LinkedIn saying, “My former colleague Joe Shmo would like to connect to you on LinkedIn,” or some such wording, and they check off the option that matches how your connection knows you (you’re Joe Shmo in this scenario).
  • When you want to apply to a particular company, do a company search on LinkedIn and see what current or former employees are in your network of connections. If several people come up who are not current connections, they’re probably connected to you by 2nd, 3rd, or 209th degrees (kind of like the Kevin Bacon game). You can connect with them in the aforementioned manner, and politely inquire as to relevant info about the company you’re interested in. Unless you’re connected to them by the 209th degree, in which case you’ll be staring at the LinkedIn screen until your eyeballs fall out.
  • Follow companies you’re interested in on LinkedIn, and “like” a post here and there. It’s a good way to get your name floating around in their online subconscious, network your way in and keep updated on what they’re up to. If they have a page, but haven’t posted anything in 3 years, that’ll tell you something (like they need you desperately if you’re a social media manager, so hurray for you!).
  • Join groups on LinkedIn that relate to your field. Make intelligent comments; share interesting and helpful info/links. This’ll help you build a positive reputation and possibly get you noticed by prospective employers or helpful contacts. So be sure to keep the embarrassing and insipid stuff to yourself.
  • Open a Twitter account, with a job title and tagline that best represents you professionally. It will also help you build your rep, and employers do searches on Twitter too. (twitter too – I felt like Judy Garland for a minute there. Sans pills, though.)
  • Use Twitter to follow employers you’re interested in and find info relevant to your field. Twitter’s about links – to job boards, to positions listed on company websites, to articles about what’s happening at a particular company or in a certain field, and anything and everything else you can possibly think of (and some things you’d rather not).
  • Use Twitter’s job search function – Use keywords (yeah, that again). A ton of stuff will come up on you – some of it like the garlic pasta you had last night, but some useful links too, like job listings and company info.
  • Better yet, use hashtags with keywords. If you’re not familiar with hashtags, it’s the Twitter term for putting a “#” before a keyword (as in #copywriting jobs), and is often used for events/tweets relevant to a specific topic. More relevant stuff will tend to come up than if you just use the keywords without the hashtags. Why, you ask? Beats the sh*t out of me.
  • Tweet info relevant to your field, or links to other jobs for fellow job seekers. Be a helpful little twit. Sorry, just had to say that.
  • Let your Facebook friends know you’re looking, and what you’re looking for, and what your particular areas of expertise are. Unless you’re currently employed and don’t want your employer to know you’re looking, in which case ix-nay on the obsearch-jay.

straitjacket guyA comedic look at job search and success – “What Color is Your Parachute” meets “This Is Spinal Tap,” if you will. This combination of comedy and advice gives helpful tips to anyone who is searching for a job, or hoping to hold on to the one they have. Topics include contemplating your navel to find your life’s work, idiot-proofing your job search, online disasters, strategic schmoozing, resume do’s and don’ts, interviewing horrors and how to handle them, how to hold on to your job, reflections on bizarre jobs, and weird work stories.

So you have a job — woo-hoo! You want to do your best to keep it. Here are some things not to do if you don’t want to skate too close to the edge of the unemployment line:

  • Wear clothing in the office that suggests you’re going straight from work to an audition for Sex and the City 3. While you don’t have to dress like a refugee from a convent, if you want to be taken seriously at work, keep the girls tucked in and save the nip action for a hot date. Not to mention the Sharon Stone-in-Basic-Instinct thigh cleavage.
  • Spread nasty gossip about your co-workers. It’ll come back to you, and not in a good way.
  • Be a clock-watcher. “Is it five o’clock yet?” Even if you stand all day on an assembly line with a hairnet on your head putting the caps on beer bottles, it’s not a good idea to imply that you think of your job as a prison that you can’t wait to be released from. If you do, I’m sure your boss will be happy to release you. Besides, if you feel that way, why the hell are you still there?
  • Scoff at the recordkeeping stuff. Hey, so you’re the creative type. We know you don’t care about all that boring data entry. Regrettably for you, though, that stuff almost always determines whether the organization makes or loses money, or keeps its funding if it’s a nonprofit. So if you screw that up, you not only screw yourself, you could screw the entire organization, which isn’t as much fun as it sounds.
  • Make racist, sexist or ageist comments. I’m going to assume you don’t work in an environment where ignorance is actively encouraged. Assuming it isn’t, any of the above could get you tossed out so fast your head would spin around like Linda Blair in “The Exorcist.”
  • Spend a lot of time texting your friends or shmoozing on Facebook. At this point in human evolution, employers don’t reasonably expect their employees not to touch their iPhones or look at non-work-related sites during work hours at all, but if you’re spending more time during the workday getting your friends’ opinions on your photo than actually working, don’t expect to be promoted any time soon.
  • Blatantly flirting with your boss, your staff, your co-workers, or your customers. Most of us flirt a little bit, without even realizing it. And co-workers do often date, even though a lot of companies frown on it, and it can certainly complicate your work life, especially if you break up and at least one of you doesn’t act like a grown-up (of course, if one of you turns out to be a psycho-stalker, that makes it even more difficult, but let’s leave potential restraining orders out of it for now). The thing is, if you sidle up to a colleague and whisper in her ear or grab your boss’s crotch under the table at a meeting, you can get yourself in pretty big trouble. Not only that, but you’d be perceived as ridiculously ignorant, since all you need to do these days to hear about sexual harassment is turn on Lifetime TV.

There’re things you just don’t want to do online when you’re doing a job search, if you don’t want to be left mangled on the side of the road. Here are a few:

  • Post photos of yourself drinking, smoking, taking a bong hit, making out with someone, doing lines off your pet iguana’s head, exposing body parts you wouldn’t normally expose in a job interview, engaging in bodily functions you wouldn’t normally engage in in public, or doing anything else you wouldn’t want a prospective employer to see. Yeah, I know Facebook is supposed to be for fun stuff and not for professional networking, but the hard reality is that a year ago, nearly 50% of employers recently surveyed confessed they peek on candidates’ social networking sites (more detail in this article —  And that was a year ago, so I’m betting that percent’s a helluva lot higher now. So get used to it.
  • Make snarky comments about your current or former boss, co-workers, etc. Just as this won’t win you any points in an interview, it’ll turn off prospective employers online, too, or get you fired from your current job. Not smart.
  • Talk about your job search online when your current boss doesn’t know you’re looking. Guess what? Your boss knows how to use the internet too.
  • Make racist/sexist/ageist/other “ist” comments anywhere online. Even if it’s not on your own site, comments on other people’s blogs can rear their ugly little heads in a search. So just don’t.
  • Post content with spelling and grammatical errors. Unless you’re made out of straw, you were not the “office manger.” Generally, employers want to hire people who are literate and pay attention to detail.
  • Lie. It’s just as icky even if it’s not on your resume. Don’t say on your LinkedIn profile that you graduated from Harvard if you didn’t, or worked for a company who never heard of you, or held a management position when you were an administrative assistant. It’s too easy to check that stuff, and most employers don’t like dishonesty.
  • Broadcast confidential information about your current or former employer. Talk about untrustworthy. Not cool.