In almost every industry, connections are the foundation of the job search from a hiring perspective. For example, a CEO hears of a mutual friend that has been doing incredibly well at a competing firm and tries to poach him. Or, a Hollywood producer takes a recommendation from a trusted friend for who he should hire as an assistant. Whether you know it or not, through your friends, you have created a network of connections that you can leverage to get a great job.
Social media, at it’s base, is built on the way that humans create connections between friends, mutual friends and between individuals and groups. In that way, it is one of the most effective ways to perform an alternative search for work. Should you rely solely on Social Media? Probably not. But it should definitely be one of the major parts of an aggressive search. When you’e looking for a job, you should run down every available avenue that is open to you.
One of the best sites to perform a job search via social media is Linkedin – the site that was essentially created for that exact purpose. First, narrow down some companies that you’d love to work for and then simply perform a search by typing the names of those companies in the search box at the top of the Linkedin home page. While some people that you know may come up, it’s more likely that people will come up who have friends in common with you. If you feel comfortable approaching the friend that you have in common – do it. See if you can arrange a lunch or a meeting with. An application that comes from someone within the company will carry much more weight than a “cold-call” application.
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Another, more alternative way to pursue a job is through Facebook or Twitter. Perhaps the most obvious way is to look for friends and people that advertise or list where they work. Try messaging them, asking about their experience with the company is. See if you can get them to offer to submit your resume to human resources. If you want to be even a little more risky – try reaching out to outspoken professionals that you seemingly dont’ have a connection with. Respond to a post that they make on facebook or twitter and try to get a conversation going.
Finally, and this is the furthest stretch, but social media democratizes the publishing industry. Anyone can publish their thoughts to the masses. Now, of course, large corporations still have the power to direct traffic to certain voices, but their power isn’t restricting anymore, they can’t stop you from getting popular if people love what you have to say. If you can do that, you can reach out to people who comment on YOUR feed. You can be the one to start the conversation and direct it where you want. This puts you in the best position of power where people who are interested in you are extremely likely to pass along a resume or bring you up to their boss. Becoming a social media gem (hidden or otherwise) is tough, but easy to leverage in the job marketplace.
Barrie Adams is an experienced writer/HR consultant with works currently published in Careers Africa and other related magazines and websites for Jobs in Nigeria Today