Never has there been a time when networking is more important. Because of COVID, getting out and meeting people took a backseat to staying healthy. Social events, conferences, and job fairs across the country were cancelled. And the unemployment rate skyrocketed to the worse it’s been since the great recession in 2007.
A 2019 Job Seeker Nation Survey reported that 50% of job seekers heard about their jobs from a friend, 37% through their professional networks, and 35% learned about the job posting through social media. A Monster.com survey reported that 80% of employers are using social medial for recruitment.
This is great news for you as a job seeker!
But before you jump on networking sites for jobs, make sure your social profiles are up to par. Once you’re ready, follow the tips below for using networking sites to find a job.
LinkedIn is the world’s largest network for finding work with over 600 million current users. But for LinkedIn to work, you need to work it. Optimizing your profile should be number one on your list. Here are five quick tips to optimize your profile:
- Update your photo.
- Update your bio and contact information.
- Use keywords relevant to the position(s) you want.
- Get recommendations from people in your network.
- Incorporate work samples into your profile (and your feed).
Once your profile is optimized, begin to use the powerful social networking tools afforded through LinkedIn. Join groups and become active in those groups. Comment and offer advice that is sound and will be appreciated. Avoid over-marketing yourself and your skillset. Instead let your comments speak for you.
Incorporate work samples into your LinkedIn feed. This can be tricky if you’re under a non-disclosure. However, if you have rights to your work, you can display your work in your newsfeed. For example, if you created a marketing campaign for a company using bright colors you can include the final product in your newsfeed with a heading “using color in marketing.” Then describe several ways color can enhance or distract from marketing messages. Be sure to include a copyright or other insignia showing that you created the original piece. (Hint: even if you can’t show your client’s work, you can create a fictitious piece to post, just make sure to let your audience know it was created for demonstration.)
Create your network by reaching out to first-, second-, and third-degree connections. You can ask to connect, ask for advice, or for introductions to hiring managers. Look for college alumni – even if you didn’t know each other in college, alumni from the same alma mater are usually happy to connect.
Facebook is one of the oldest networking platforms. It has changed significantly since inception in 2004. Facebook has enabled people to connect and stay in touch from all over the world. Again, make sure to update your profile. In the case of Facebook, make sure that the photos on your personal page reflect how you want to be seen. Sure, spring break on a houseboat in Lake Havasu was amazing but might not score brownie points when you’re in the market for a new job.
To use Facebook as a networking site for jobs, join groups. Search for groups in your profession. Ask to join. Once you’re a member, engage in conversations with other members of the group. Most groups won’t allow self-promotion. For example, let’s say you work in recruiting. You won’t be able to comment, “I own an employment firm in the tech industry. I’ve placed employees under the circumstances you just described.” But you can post, “I worked with a tech employee in a similar situation. We were able to modify her resume to show she had relevant XYZ experience. That might work in your situation.” Do you see the difference?
LunchMeet is a social networking app used to connect with people over lunch wherever you are. Use LunchMeet to set up and manage availability, send and receive messages for LunchMeets (face-to-face meetings), choose venues, and calendar meetings. This app is great for job seekers, entrepreneurs, and professionals. It is a way to build your network, one lunch at a time – and a great way to never eat alone (a book by the same title was the inspiration behind the app).
As COVID restrictions lift, LunchMeet offers a great way to begin to network with people you otherwise would not have met. Plan to meet for an outdoor dining experience.
Using forums is an overlooked opportunity to build your network. Forums connect people under a common topic. A forum is used to ask and answer questions. There are a lot of different forums available in the tech industry. iLounge is an example. Forums usually do not allow self-promotion. However, many have a member area where you can link to your website.
Using forums to network isn’t as quick as using LinkedIn or LunchMeet. Forums build community over time by posting, giving feedback, and helping people solve problems. If you’re the type of person that enjoys solving problems and you have expertise, consider boosting your career by using forums.
Networking sites for jobs have allowed people from all over the world to network from their living room. These sites are more than job boards. They are a way to connect with the people that will be hiring, referring, and making recommendations. Treat these sites with the same respect you would treat any in-person networking event.
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