In case you haven’t noticed, I just wrote a blog regarding the potential dangers of social media and your job search or your job status. A New York Times article from August 2009 even reports that “According to a new study conducted by Harris Interactive for CareerBuilder.com, 45 percent of employers questioned are using social networks to screen job candidates — more than double from a year earlier, when a similar survey found that just 22 percent of supervisors were researching potential hires on social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and LinkedIn.”
While I definitely would advise you against using a half-naked photo of yourself in a drunken stupor as your Facebook profile picture, I don’t think that Facebook is evil when it comes to your job hunt! In fact, quite the opposite may be true if you know how to tackle the issue properly. Many new college graduates (and other job-hunters out there) are able to successfully use social media to gain employment.
I did spend most of my last blog talking about Facebook, but Forbes.com suggests that if you’re among the millions of people looking for work, there’s one more social networking site you may have to join: Twitter.
Twitter is a social networking site that allows its users to send and read messages known as tweets. A tweet is a text-based post that can consist of up to 140 characters. Your tweets show up on your profile page, and they’re also delivered to the people that subscribe to your tweets. Your subscribers are known as your “followers.” You can set your Twitter profile so that only your followers can read your tweets or so that anyone can read your tweets.
One of my acquaintances was so broke following her college graduation that she began surviving on a particular brand of (relatively cheap) food. She tweeted about her new “favorite meal” and her eating habits so often on Twitter as well as on her personal blog that she was recently given the opportunity to organize and manage that company’s social media marketing. She’s now starting to receive offers from other companies to do the same for them as well. I do realize that this isn’t a “normal” scenario, but it’s again more proof that social media avenues can help people gain jobs.
Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and the like are now considered to be great methods of branding yourself or marketing yourself to potential employers. What makes you stand out from the crowd? Why would a company want to hire you? If you want to be seen and appreciated, make yourself appear worthwhile. This is why it’s a good reason to avoid posting “racy” photos or comments on your public profiles (unless that’s the type of work you’re looking for, I suppose).
As more and more businesses begin to use social media sites to promote themselves, they’re also using social media to seek out new employees. Many businesses — both small and large — are forgoing traditional recruitment methods and posting job openings on sites such as Twitter. Recruiters, who are the people out there that find employees to fill the positions needed for various companies, are also big on Twitter and Facebook. Most social media-savvy job hunters also use these websites instead of the classified ads.
There are several articles available online which describe this new popularity. “What we’re seeing now … a lot more people looking for jobs now, the younger generation being much more active and interactive with social networking/social media tools, and we’re starting to see the marriage of the job board and people trying to save money on recruiting agency fees and advertising. We’re seeing a lot more use of mining these social networks to find both active and passive candidates,” said Judy Sweeney, vice president of research at Taleo, a talent management company.
There’s even a service out there called TweetMyJobs which credits itself to be “the only global recruiting solution.”
I even read an article which listed the top employers who use Twitter to recruit for jobs. I was almost surprised at first: AT&T, Burger King, MTV Networks, even the US Department of State were all on that list, among many others! Even more proof that it is possible to use social media in your job hunt. Good luck!
Melissa Rhone earned her Bachelor of Music in Education from the University of Tampa. She resides in the Tampa Bay area and enjoys writing about college, pop culture, and epilepsy awareness.
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