Sink or Swim in Social Media

>>Social media is instrumental in changing lives around the world. Country revolutions have been organized using Twitter, birthday parties are overrun with guests who see an invitation someone forgot to make private on Facebook, and yes, even jobs are being landed through LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. While Gen X and Gen Y (and even younger) persons have smartphones attached to their bodies like a new appendage, Baby Boomers and others are asking, "What's all the hoopla about?"

>>We've entered a new age: no longer the age of Aquarius, now the age of "being found." In other words, in order to connect with anyone for almost any purpose, you need to have an online or Internet presence. This is particularly true for job seekers who just want a new job. When a recruiter or hiring authority has a job to fill, they first go to the Internet to look for viable candidates. Recruiters notoriously go to LinkedIn, human resource personnel will do a Google search, even Craig's list is being used as a candidate source.

>>What's interesting is how Twitter has taken off as a place to find candidates. My belief is that hiring authorities, in all their wisdom, want to get to know the "real" person before scheduling a job interview. So, they read a candidate's tweets which often reveal personal information that cannot be asked in a formal job interview. Scary, huh? (If you don't know what digital dirt is, Google the term and learn how to clean up yours if you are in a job search.)
>>Twitter encourages you to join special groups for online chats, find new people to follow with your interests, create lists of these people organized by categories for easy access to their tweets, share digital photos of whomever or whatever you wish, and much more.
>>LinkedIn and Twitter are my social media tools of choice when it comes to job search. LinkedIn is a very professional program where you post your profile including employment history. This service may be utilized for no cost. To "get found" there by hiring authorities, you'll want to join a few relevant discussion groups where you ask and answer questions related to your field of work – spotlight your expertise. Also, take advantage of the "answers" feature which everyone can see, not just your official connections. Books have been written about using LinkedIn. One of my favorites is: I'm on LinkedIn – Now What? by Jason Alba.
>>Twitter is more informal than LinkedIn. You set up your account with a brief public profile, and now you're ready to share all kinds of information with anyone who will follow you. If you want to use Twitter while in a job search, be sure your tweets are on the professional side, not too opinionated, and never, ever full of inappropriate language or photos (just ask Rep. Weiner about that!). Make sure you choose a branded approach to your tweets to enhance your reputation. Look for people to follow that will help you with their careerist expertise, company connections, and job search leads. Make sharing your goal – not always asking for help. Social media is somewhat of a passive activity, so remember that what goes around, will come around back to you. One of my favorite books on using Twitter is the Twitter Job Search Guide, by Susan Britton Whitcomb, et al.
>>So what's holding you back from getting on the social media bandwagon? Don't be afraid to jump on – you really need to get involved to enhance your job search activities. And don't forget to download your social media programs to your smartphone where you may access them at any time. Happy tweeting, and all that other stuff!

Wishing you career success in 2011!
Meg

SPECIAL NOTE: I am honored to be a member of the Career Collective, a group of careers experts who each month share their advice and tips to enhance the management of your career. Please link to their blog posts below. Your comments are invited and much appreciated. Please follow our hash-tag on Twitter – #careercollective – as well as follow each expert's individual tweet on this month's topic of "Social media – how to use it in a job search, how to get started, do's and don'ts." You'll be amazed at all the free career advice and knowledge that is available to you from these professionals in the careers field.

Make Your Career More Social: Show Up and Engage, @WalterAkana

You 2.0: The Brave New World of Social Media and Online Job Searches, @dawnrasmussen

How to Get a New Job Using Social Media, @DebraWheatman

Social Media: Choosing, Using, and Confusing, @ErinKennedyCPRW

How to Use Social Media in Your Job Search, @heatherhuhman

Updating: A Social Media Strategy For Job Search, @TimsStrategy

Your Career Needs Social Media – Get Started, @EliteResumes @MartinBuckland

We Get By With a Little Recs from Our Friends, @chandlee

Expat Careers & Social Media: Social Media is Potentially 6 Times more Influential than a CV or Resume, @expatcoachmegan

Social-Media Tools and Resources to Maximize Your Personalized Job Search, @KatCareerGal

Job Search and Social Media: A Collective Approach, @careersherpa

How Having Your Own Website Helps You, @keppie_careers

Social Media: So what's the point?, @DawnBugni

Tools that change your world, @WorkWithIllnes

HOW TO: Meet People IRL via LinkedIn, @AvidCareerist

Effective Web 2.0 Job Search: Top 5 Secrets, @resumeservice

Jumping Into the Social Media Sea @ValueIntoWords

Sink or Swim in Social Media, @KCCareerCoach

Social Media Primer for Job Seekers, @LaurieBerenson