Finding a new job these days can be time-consuming and stressful, so I advise people who come to Continuing Studies’ Adult Career and Special Student Services department to take advantage of every tool available. This includes using social media such as LinkedIn and Facebook.
Is it really necessary to explore and use these newer online strategies? In a recent online survey, 89 percent of employers responded “yes” when asked if they use social networks to recruit new employees or if they planned to begin using them in 2012.
Not only are employers researching candidates and prospecting for new hires through social media, they’re posting positions and promoting their companies. The trend is clear: social media are here to stay.
LinkedIn offers a more professionally focused site. One great way to use it is to note which employees of an organization are on LinkedIn and to check if you have mutual connections. This can help you strategically grow your network and help you learn more about an organization.
The Groups feature of LinkedIn offers another way to connect with people in your field. One person who attended the Job Search Support Group that I lead said that this is how he found his new job:
My initial contact for this job opening was through LinkedIn. The HR person was a member of a group I also belonged to on LinkedIn. She emailed me and wanted to know if I was interested in this job or knew someone who might be interested. I was not even aware of the job opening! From there we exchanged a few emails and then had a phone interview, followed by in-person interviews.
Another group participant told this story of success:
Last summer, a recruiter presented me to a company for a management position. I wasn’t planning on moving at the time so even though they liked my background, they hired someone else. Next, I noticed another position in the same organization came open in April so I sent my information directly to the hiring manager but got no response.
Three months later, as I was searching through LinkedIn I came across a name of someone who was on a committee with me in the late 80’s; we hadn’t been in touch for 20 years. He is a vice president in my field at another company. I connected with him and asked him for the name of someone I could contact at the company I wanted to work for.
He gave me the same name that I had already submitted information to, but this time I used the VP’s name and mentioned how we had worked together in the past. Because of this connection, the hiring manager suggested I send my resume directly to him. This time, the company called the next day and set up the first of a series of interviews that resulted in my securing this position. It’s not what you know but who you know.
One woman who is trying to join the work world after serving as a homemaker for more than five years also had a compelling story about how social media helped her. She explained:
A few of my references are people I still keep in touch with from time to time socially. A very important former supervisor, however, has climbed the ladder and moved to a different city since we last spoke. Through Facebook, I reconnected with her and asked her to be a reference.. When a perspective employer needs a reference, I am thankful she will be among them!
My one caution is that while social network sites may help you discover contacts, using these sites is only one strategy out of many. Face-to-face networking remains extremely important as well.
If you want to know more about looking for a job or changing careers, you can contact me at 608-263-7207 or firstname.lastname@example.org The Job Search Support Group meets weekly on Tuesdays, 10 to noon at 21 N Park St., Madison. Topics range from writing a resume and networking to interviewing and job searching. Everyone is welcome to join us.
Have you found a job using a social network? Tell us how you did it.