Over the past 12 months, Social Networking has seen an explosion in numbers throughout the world. Sites such as Facebook and Twitter have enjoyed mass media exposure through celebrity users such as Oprah Winfrey and Ashton Kutcher, and have seen their user base grow at an exciting rate. In Australia alone, Facebook has already attracted over 5 million users and Twitter has grown over 1000% since the beginning of the year. With such astounding growth, it is no surprise that organisations are using this technology to reference potential employees as well as identify and develop relationships with professionals possessing certain skills. With this in mind, both passive and active candidates can use social networking sites to their advantage and find their next career opportunity.
Who’s who in Social Networking
So which social networking sites target the personal market and which are associated with the professional space? Sites such as Facebook and Bebo cater for the personal social networks, allowing users to post personal information as well as interacting on a more intimate level with others in their network. In comparison, sites such as LinkedIn and Xing are catering to the professional market, allowing users to promote their professional experience and develop business relationships. Twitter operates as both a personal and professional social networking site allowing users to broadcast their thoughts and opinions in 140 characters or less. Using a combination of social networks will allow you to not only demonstrate your professional experience, but will also allow potential employers to get a glimpse of your personality and unique attributes.
Tips for using Social Networking
Make yourself visible
Making your profile public will allow organisations and recruiters find your information and approach you about relevant roles. Make sure that you keep the information on sites such as LinkedIn current by outlining your work experience, work achievements and academic qualifications. This information creates the first impression that potential employers and recruiters will have of you.
Keep it professional
Regardless of whether you have private or public profile settings, be aware that potential employers and recruiters may still be able to access information such as your profile, pictures, and information such as name, title and organisation. It is recommended you keep this information professional regardless of your account settings.
Keep updating your status
The best way to promote yourself is to update your status regularly. Your status will allow employers and recruiters to get an understanding of your experience and personality as well as giving you the opportunity to build rapport with people on your network. Additionally it will keep you front of mind with recruiters or hiring managers connected into your network. Don’t be afraid to begin conversation or interact with people you are connected to, whether you know them or not. Remember that they are probably on the site to expand their networks as well.
Connect with like minded professionals
The purpose of social networking sites is to allow users to develop relationships with like minded people, be they personal or professional. With over 38% of Australians on Facebook and over 640,000 on LinkedIn, you should be able to search and connect with people you know in your business circles. These connections will make your profile accessible to a wider range of business contacts. Additionally, you can connect with recruiters you know and trust who will be able to assist you in your search.
Recommend good people
Employers and recruiters are increasingly using the “Recommendation” feature on LinkedIn to assist in referencing candidates and organisations. Request recommendations from trusted business contacts and recommend past colleagues or business associates you respect.
Should someone want to connect with you or approach you about business opportunities or career prospects, make sure you are contactable outside the social network. Using technologies such as Skype will allow you to communicate with others face to face, regardless of geography.
It is important to know that what you put in is what you will get out with social networking. Social networking sites are primarily designed to allow users to develop and maintain personal and professional networks and relationships, not as job or transaction sites. Therefore, using these sites to not only promote your professional experience but also exchange personal thoughts and ideas will make your commentary appealing to people in your demographic. Whether you are an active or passive job seeker, using social networking sites can compliment traditional job searching techniques and make you more visible to perspective employers.