Social networks are the new job boards. Recruiters and employers heavily rely on business communities such as LinkedIn and are even exploring Facebook and Twitter to extend their search for talent. Business groups on social networks are exploding and the want ads and job boards are becoming a thing of the past. If you are in the market for a new position, it is critical that you use these networks to your advantage. Here are a few tips on some of the more popular sites.
LinkedIn is the Taj Mahal of professional networking. It is the most established and utilized source there is today. Recruiters are using it in lieu of resume databases and will run keyword/job title searches to contact potential candidates. One of the great things about using LinkedIn for your job search is that it is also used for so many other functions. It is a veritable “who’s who” in the business industry and the yellow pages of any gifted sales person. To best utilize this resource for career opportunities, you must ensure that your profile mirrors your resume. By highlighting all of your relevant skills and experiences, recruiters and prospective employers searching LinkedIn will more easily find your credentials. Also, some firms will use it as a part of their background check and if your profile doesn’t match your resume it may give employers some pause and affect your credibility. Make sure your online profiles truly match your experiences.
One question that is commonly asked about is limiting your connections – specifically with regards to recruiters and users that you do not know. There is much fodder about this and…it is entirely up to you but the bottom line – no one can see exactly who your connections are. You have control over who sees what by adjusting your settings. Additionally, recruiters cannot contact people in your network without your permission – you must be introduced. The bonus of opening your network is that the more people you are connected to, the more visibility you have. It isn’t about building a close personal relationship with everyone in your network – but rather finding the right people to build relationships with, and if you limit your network, you are limiting your opportunities.
With Facebook expanding its reach into the business world, more firms are building profiles and fan sites and more and more people are finding employment through Facebook. Keep in mind that when you are looking for a job, recruiters and prospective employers will look up your Facebook profile - so you may want to take down a few of those party pictures – do you really want a hiring authority to see you over served? If you just can’t take those photos down - at the very least make your profile unsearchable. The same goes for Twitter. Potential employers may read your tweets – anything that you do on the web is searchable – and employers are trying to learn as much as they can about you. Take control of your online personal brand in this competitive job market and make sure your online profiles give your best impression!