Social Media and your job search

I’m quite sceptical of people preaching all the wonderful benefits of social media. If you are at a ‘senior’ level you have to be very selective and careful in using these channels. However I’m also convinced that if you disregard it completely you will miss out on opportunities and information in general. Here some experiences of a novice user:

After finishing an intensive six-week course on using social media in December, one of the goals that I have set for 2010 is to actively use it as a job-search tool. This year is supposed to be the year for social media, the year that Twitter finally takes off, so it is very important for me to fully utilize various tools to my advantage.

One of the most important things that I have been doing is Googling my name on a daily basis to make sure that I am not somehow associated to anything inappropriate. I have also created a Google profile so that I can easily be found by potential employers.

I have been adjusting my LinkedIn profile to makes sure it is optimal and effective. I had initially created a very detailed profile, but decided to pare it down and put an emphasis on my core competencies and transferable skills. I want to make sure that my profile triggers more conversations with potential hiring managers, leading to interviews. Of course, a detailed resume is attached to my profile so that I can easily make it available to hiring managers if they request to see it. I have uploaded a profile picture and requested recommendations from former managers to make sure my profile is 100% complete.

I have also joined a number of Linkedin groups associated with finance, prior employers, and school alumni. I follow discussions, ask questions and make comments. This is a very effective way of putting myself out there and being seen. Membership in groups such as those for former Bear Stearns employees also give me access to jobs that are posted in the group forums. I have seen a number of jobs posted by both companies and headhunters, which I have applied for and am waiting to hear back from the hiring managers.

Another tool that I have just started to actively use is Twitter. Although I established a Twitter account over two years ago, I did not actively use it until recently. I have come to the realization that Twitter can be a powerful job searching tool. There are lot of smart and helpful career advisors, bloggers and recruiters that I have discovered and now follow. The wealth of knowledge that these experts distribute with only 140 characters is amazing. And most are more than willing to give advice, whether I ask for it or not. Then there are recruiters that Tweet out job openings, again a great way to find jobs.

There are many other social media tools that I have yet to use. I have learned that I need to balance my time between traditional and non-traditional methods. I continue to make traditional networking a priority, and actively set up meetings and attend events where I have the opportunity to network.

One of the questions that they asked at the end of my social media boot camp was: How will you use what you have learned about social networking in your next job? It is clear that not only will social networking help me during my current job search, but it will give me an edge at my next job, regardless of where I end up. Social networking is coming in with a force to financial services, health care, media, and other industries, and we all need to adapt.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, Henry Chalian

Henry Chalian was a relationship manager at J.P. Morgan before his job was eliminated in May 2009 after seven years with the company. Mr. Chalian, 41, received a masters degree from the London School of Economics in 1995 and is currently completing a certificate of business excellence at Columbia Business School. He lives in Brooklyn, New York

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