How to Find a Job (and Enhance Your Career) Through Social Media
June 11, 2013
We mostly think of social media as being a playground for teenagers, college students, and young adults. But it can be a lot more than that, particularly as it relates to your career.
Social media provides a quick and fairly easy way to get connected with people who you might not ever meet in your everyday life. That gives you an opportunity to get to know other people in your industry or career field â€“ including some of the major players â€“ and that has serious implications when it comes to finding a job.
Find a New Job
Itâ€™s not uncommon for people to use the social media as a way of finding a job. In fact, that might even be the social mediaâ€™s primary career use â€“ at least at the moment.
It provides a job seeker with a way to network with other job seekers and even with potential employers. Not only is this a quick way of reaching the people who do the hiring, but it saves you a lot of time and effort that you would have used to make phone calls, write letters, and even pay a few visits back in the days before social media existed.
Some employers are even rumored to troll around social media websites looking for prospective candidates to fill jobs. If youâ€™re in the right network groups, and you are not too â€œover the topâ€ in trying to find a job, an employer just might find you and invite you to come in for a chat.
But you already know all of that. Letâ€™s take a look at a few ways that the social media can help you to enhance your career â€“ even if youâ€™re not looking for another job.
Develop Industry Contacts
Youâ€™ve heard the saying itâ€™s not what you know, but who you know, and social media can certainly help you with that. Nearly everyone who is anyone in the business world has some sort of social media profile. They may have it on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or some other business related social media, but theyâ€™re out there somewhere on the web.
If you can reach some of the people who are more influential in your industry, that opens up all kinds of possibilities. Instead of going to the social media only when you need to look for new job, try spending some of your off-hours time using the various media sites to just chat. Keep your conversation business related, and just try to join in discussions wherever they are. You’re not looking to get anything here, but just to participate.
Itâ€™s amazing how open influential people can be when they sense you are not looking for something from them. You should use those discussions to build relationships and build trust with various well-positioned people in your industry. This might give you a handle on what is going on in the industry that you wonâ€™t read about in the newspaper. You might be able take some of those ideas and perspectives back to your own employer and make suggestions that could help your company move forward.
Often, just being able to drop a name or two from a major competitor can make your employer take you a lot more seriously. At a minimum, your company will respect the fact that you know some important people, and that you take a deeper interest in their business than most other employees do.
Success in a job is often about properly positioning yourself. Developing relationships with important people in your industry can do nothing but improve your position.
Become a News and Information Source
If youâ€™re having difficulty making contact with influential people, then you may want to shift your strategy to one of drawing them to you. You can do this by becoming a source of news and information within your industry. That doesnâ€™t mean that you should become the equivalent of a newspaper journalist on the social media, but what you can do is take the relevant stories of the day and offer your own analysis.
Most social media networks have various discussions going on where the participants are giving their own opinions on significant news. By contributing to these groups on a regular basis, you can become something of a center of influence within the network. You might even consider becoming a forum- or discussion-leader on one or more important network groups.
This kind of social media participation will accomplish two things:
- It will draw people to you so that you donâ€™t have to go looking for them, and
- you will be in the thick of whatâ€™s going on in your industry, and that will raise your value with your employer.
People represent opportunityÂ â€“ the more you know, the more opportunity you will gather. Itâ€™s all about getting connected. If you know enough of the right people, you will become more valuable just for that fact alone. Youâ€™ll get to know the â€œWhoâ€™s Whoâ€ of your industry, as well as become a source of information and ideas.
Find Potential Clients for Your Company
Still another possible social media use in your career is using it to find potential clients for your employer. Anyone who is self-employed or in sales is familiar with the idea of using social media to generate business. Employees typically donâ€™t. Just the fact that you are out there using the social media to increase your employerâ€™s business will make you stand out above the rest of your coworkers.
This may involve networking outside of the groups you normally would if you were looking for a job. You want to target groups of likely customers for your employerâ€™s products and services. For example, letâ€™s say that you are a real estate appraiser looking to get business. Two excellent groups to connect with would be mortgage brokers and real estate agents. Who the target groups would be in your case depends on what industry you work in. Find out who the likely target groups are, then start networking with them.
Once you get into networks where potential clients and customers are likely to be, use the same methods described above to make contact. That means that you â€œtalk shop,â€ and build relationships. As you do, you can think of yourself as a representative for your company in that network group.
If you can bring a few customers or clients into your company â€“ even though you donâ€™t work in sales â€“ you will raise your value to your employer. In the process, you may even create a new position for yourself, like becoming your companyâ€™s social media manager. And for what itâ€™s worth, some companies do actually have such a position!
How has social media helped your career path? Leave a comment!
All posts by Kevin Mercadante