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Network your way to success

Network your way to success

Previous research has shown that nearly 75% of companies check out potential candidates using social media sites (Bullhorn Reach Report 2012). LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and even YouTube are all useful for networking, researching and jobseeking.

LinkedIn is specifically for professional networking, but the others should not be ignored. You may feel that you want to use Facebook informally to connect with friends and colleagues, but with 900 million users, businesses are keen to take advantage of the site’s popularity to connect with customers and potential candidates. If you’re not using social networks as part of your job search strategy, you really are missing out.

That word ‘strategy’ is key to your job search. You need to have a strategy in order to think about what you are trying to achieve by using these sites. And with all good strategies, it should be specific, measurable, appealing, realistic and time bound. If you have no strategy, you’ll feel you’re not getting anywhere and quickly lose heart.

A few general tips to get you going:

Seek out your target employers and individuals – If they use social networking sites, you should be following their every move and, if possible, use the relevant platform to engage them in conversation. Social networking sites are also a great way to fi nd a named person within an organisation.

Take it offline – Your goal, eventually, should be to speak to any contact you make face-to-face or at least over the phone. Don’t hide behind your computer. Use a professional picture – This doesn’t necessarily mean wearing a suit and a cheesy grin on a white background. As long as the picture represents the type of person you are, this will suffi ce. Aim to give rather than receive – Don’t connect with groups or individuals and then simply ask for a job. Build a relationship and demonstrate your interest first.

LinkedIn

Create a strong profile – In your profi le you need to use keywords which summarise who you are and what type of opportunity you’re looking for. Have your ideal employer in mind. If they are searching for an ideal candidate, will they fi nd you? Give recommendations – You may not have a huge amount of work experience, so in addition to former or current colleagues, you can recommend old classmates or lecturers.

They will hopefully return the favour and recommend you too. The more quality recommendations you have, the more impressive your profi le will be. Join relevant groups – Join groups on LinkedIn (and Facebook) related to your sectors of interest and engage in discussions with other members. You can more quality recommendations you have, the more impressive your profi le will be. Join relevant groups – Join groups on LinkedIn (and Facebook) related to your sectors of interest and engage in discussions with other members. 

You can also use the platform to find out more about the sector and how someone like you can break into the industry.

Facebook

Check your privacy setting – Whether recruiters should or shouldn’t be checking you out on Facebook is not the issue. Assume that they all do and then respond accordingly. If they were to look at your status right now, what sort of impression would it make?

Create Facebook lists – If you wish to keep your professional brand apart from your personal one, create seperate lists for your friends and professional contacts. By doing this, you can restrict access for work contacts so they can only see the information you want them to see. Simply go to your account, click Friends and then Create a New List. Fill in your professional details – On your profile it’s important to put in your company details and a brief description of what you do rather than what you are (many job titles mean nothing to outsiders).

And it’s important that you complete your school and university details too which means that you can be found by old classmates. They could be great people to network with. Ditch the games – You may be addicted to Mafi a Wars or Farmville but it won’t look good to potential employers if you apparently have this much time on your hands. Remember, it’s all about your brand.

Twitter

Use the hash tag (before a relevant keyword) to find interesting people to follow on Twitter.

But don’t simply follow them. Twitter is all about brief conversations with interesting people so make sure you mention people or direct message them too. Retweet – If a key contact tweets something interesting, retweet it to your followers. It shows your contact that you appreciate what they say.

They will see this and take note. Hyperlink your CV – Add the link to your personal profile on Twitter and LinkedIn. This makes it easy for employers to contact you if they wish to. It also demonstrates that you are social-network savvy which will impress them. There’s no need to include a Facebook link, as this is private.

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