Thursday, February 16, 2012

How Using Social Media Networking Can Greatly Assist In Reaching (and Enhancing) Gainful Employment

Folks, in a slight deviation from the norm, I've decided to write about using social media networking to assist in reaching (and enhancing) gainful employment.  For those students who are reading this, you will soon be, if you aren't already, applying for summer internships, or jobs out of school.  For those veterans of the workforce, whether you are currently unemployed, or searching for different career opportunities, there is no time like the present.  In either case, you are looking to stake or advance your careers during historically trying times.  As such, I hope you find these suggestions helpful.      
   
In these difficult economic times, it is even harder to separate yourself from all those who are seeking gainful employment (whether you are new to the work force, or a veteran of it).  The submission of resumes and cold calls is a great start to your search for employment, but it is likely not going to be enough.  In this economic environment, you need to be creative in your efforts, and apply outside of the box thinking.  One way to increase your exposure to potential employers is through social media networking.  We often hear about folks getting into trouble because of their careless use of social media, and you certainly need to heed these lessons, and be smart about how you use social media.  But when used correctly, social media networking can narrow the marketplace (while expanding opportunities), and put you in front of people that otherwise would never cross your path.

There are numerous social media avenues that are available to assist you with your personal brand exposure, with LinkedIn, Twitter and Blogs, to name but a few. And it is widely held that using these outlets effectively, can greatly impact your career.  For instance, LinkedIn is a great place to build your resume and connect with people from all over the world in your industry, and areas of interest. Many industries use LinkedIn to search for out-of-state consultants, and to vet potential applicants in the early stages of the hiring process. This is particularly true for companies and law firms seeking outside counsel. Building a LinkedIn page takes very little time, and instantly places your brand before an infinite number of people that, in all likelihood, had no access to you at any prior point in time.

While building your LinkedIn contacts does take time, by simply creating the page, you have exponentially expanded your presence.  In essence, your LinkedIn page is your electronic resume.  By merely setting up and publishing the page, you are immediately making it available to the world (at least the internet world).  Imagine how much money it would cost to send your resume to the number of LinkedIn users with whom you will ultimately connect. It would be cost prohibitive, most likely, and it assumes that the recipients would read it (which may not be a great assumption).  LinkedIn allows your resume to be available at the end users convenience, which in these days of "instant information," could very well set you apart from those who need to react, by actually submitting a resume.  Moreover, LinkedIn provides a free service, and we can all appreciate "free" in these trying economic times.
 
Another great business tool, and possibly the fastest growing, is Twitter.  With more than 300 million users at the end of 2011, and growing immensely every day, Twitter is a great place to connect with people that can help you start your career or advance it.  I've been on Twitter since November of 2011, and have made numerous contacts that have developed into viable business opportunities and growth.  Simply stated and confidently so, there is no way these opportunities would have come to fruition if it weren't for Twitter.  One such example is outlined in one of my earlier posts about how Jason Gore used Twitter to gain entry into the Northern Trust Open.  Jason and I ran into each other on Twitter, which allowed me to, ultimately, draft an article that has now been published not only here, but (I'm proud to say) on multiple other blogs and websites.  Secondly, I think it's fair to say that Jason Gore may not have received a sponsors exemption into the the NTO without Twitter.  At a minimum, Twitter did not hurt his cause.

Many of you are already well versed in Twitter, at least on a social level, which is fine.  I'm suggesting however, that it can also be used for business and career development.  We see corporate brands using it all the time to advance their cause, and there is no reason why you as an individual shouldn't be using it for the same reason.  For those of you who aren't Twitter users, it's simple and easy, and well worth considering.  To begin with, by establishing a Twitter account, you are not committed to disseminating any information.  In fact, it might be best to establish an account and select a few choice folks and companies to follow, and monitor how they use it.  You will quickly determine those who are using it effectively, and those who are not.  Once you feel comfortable with the Twitter platform, it makes sense to start "Tweeting."  This can be done a few different ways.  First, you can freely issue a statement, about whatever subject you wish to discuss or opine upon.  Second, you can reply to a tweet, and engage in conversation that way.  Third, and a very good way to expand your brand quickly, is by joining a Twitter chat.  For example, I usually participate in #sbchat, #sportsPRchat and #smsportschat.  These are regularly scheduled weekly chats, where we meet up to discuss topics of common interest.  In these chats as you might imagine, we discuss sports business.  Whatever your topic (or topics of choice) might be, I'm confident you can quickly find a chat to check out.  

The point here is, Twitter is a another social media outlet that shrinks the world, and places you before contacts that you likely never would have met otherwise.  For me, that has certainly been the case.  Moreover, Twitter is another free platform to network, introduce and expand your personal brand. Quite simply, it is a platform that when used effectively, actually works, and works well.

The final suggestion that I have is for you to consider starting a Blog.  Quite frankly, blogs are the new resume (and in large part, the new website).  I know I suggested above that LinkedIn was the new resume, and I hold firm to that thought.  The point is, that in this day and age, having both a LinkedIn page and a blog is a great way to publish your brand (in a condensed and expanded format).  The LinkedIn page is like the forward to a book.  It provides just enough information, if done well, to entice the reader to read the book.  So, now that you've set up your LinkedIn page (written your forward), take the next step and consider "blogging" (writing your book).

One of my themes throughout this post is "free," which I assume you've picked up on by now.  Blogging, you guessed it, is also free.  Equally important however, is that it provides an expanded platform for you to introduce yourself, and your writing abilities, to potential clients and employers.  If a potential client or employer receives a stack of resumes, and/or conducts a search of potential employees on LinkedIn, the next logical step is for them to find ways to vet the candidates further.  By having a blog, and doing it well, you are demonstrating to potential clients and employers that you are serious and passionate about what you are doing.  More importantly, you are separating yourself from potential competition, simply by having a blog.  (While many people have blogs these days, many more do not). 

One of the largest deterrents to blogging, in my opinion, is the notion that the time commitment is enormous, and that you always need to have fresh content.  While you do want to stay dedicated to your blog, it is not imperative that you spend large amounts of time preparing the material, or that you post something on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.  Blogs, like most things, come in many different forms.  Some of the blogs that I review are simple daily snippets of news feeds, while others have more infrequent posts, that only appear when a relevant topic surfaces.  The point is that when you post, make certain the content is noteworthy.  Not only will it excite you to do the research (if need be) and writing, but it will keep your readers interested.  Logically then, interested readers means return visits to your blog and best of all, free "advertising", as your readers will inevitably tell others about your blog.  In essence, there is really no excuse not to have a blog these days, and one that is well done is likely to produce benefits that far outweight the effort of creating and maintaining your blog.

In today’s marketplace, you must be creative in order to find and secure (or enhance) employment.  When used properly, social media networking can help you advance your efforts in finding (and enhancing) gainful employment in these difficult times. That said, like anything else, you need to "feed and water" your social media presence in order to make it perform at its highest level.  I hope that the implication of all or some of these suggestions will help you do exactly that.

Author's Note: The premise of this post is using social media to network, not advertise.  Of course any of you that are using social media for networking and/or advertising are advised to do so within the guideliness of any ethical or professional obligations that you may be bound to uphold. 
          

2 comments:

  1. Thanks for this impressive post stating impact of social media networking.


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    1. Thank you. I'm glad you find it helpful.

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