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June 25, 2009

Jobless? Social Media May Be the Answer!

In this post: Today’s economy demands a new way to capture jobs for recent grads and other job seekers …

Megan WuskeWe’ve heard it before, and we’ll continue to hear about it again … finding a job has been problematic for many. While reading though Seth Godin‘s blog the other day, I noticed a comment stating that only 20% of 2009 college graduates who applied for jobs actually have one. To me, this is a huge red flag. With my commencement ceremony under a year away, the reality that I need to begin to prepare myself for the competitive job market has hit me hard.

There are definitely jobs out there, but standing out in an ocean of qualified and experienced applicants can be difficult. Before I disappoint some of you (and I go into panic mode), trust me when I say that finding a job is not impossible. The key is knowing how to capture the eye of potential employers.

Expansive and unique resumes used to be a surefire way to get someone to notice you, but today’s market calls for some news rules. In our new age of technology, we have to be more creative when trying to capture the extra glance from prospective employers. Social media participation is the new resume for job seekers.

David Meerman Scott, author of The New Rules of Marketing and PR, advises job seekers to “Create information that people want. Create an online presence that people are eager to consume. Establish a virtual front door that people will happily link to, and one that employers will find.”

David is not the only person saying this. Microsoft, among many other companies, search the Web for potential employees when needed. If you’re not active or publishing on the web, you won’t be found for these jobs.

It may be daunting to get out into the social media world, but is definitely worth it. Social networking allows job seekers to have a direct line of communication to companies and hiring managers.

Here are a few tips to remember when jump starting your social media presence:

  1. Ensure your profiles are current. It is not uncommon for companies to Google a job candidate, and you want to verify the search results are current. Your resume on LinkedIn should include all of your latest experiences and your blog should been updated regularly. Also, it may be a good idea to de-tag yourself in pictures on Facebook that show you at your college’s toga party last fall or overindulging on your vacation to the Caribbean.
  2. Be active on Twitter. There are many recruiters that are vocal on Twitter, and you have the ability to connect with them directly. Communicate with them or comment on their postings, and you will be able to learn about their company and job opportunities instantly. Ever since I joined Twitter about a month ago, I have gained so much insight from the articles other people have posted and the things they write about in their tweets. 
  3. Start a personal blog. Make sure it allows you to showcase your interest in your professional field with a dash of personal twist to it. Your blog can revolve around your interests and passions, and also include posts on your expertise in your field. Through blogging, you can develop your own personal brand, showcase your creativity, and express your knowledge. This will attract recruiters to what you have to offer. Start a blog by using the programs WordPress or Blogger.
  4. Join in. Don’t forget to get in on the conversation with your fellow friends on Twitter, professionals on LinkedIn, or your blogging buddies in your blogosphere. Comment on tweets or posts that are interesting to you, share your opinion, and ask questions. 

These examples are only a few online tips, but the possibilities are endless. Get out there and play with what social media has to offer. Let yourself be creative and find your niche. It will be worth it.