Is Your Facebook Profile Job Search Ready?

Posted on February 3, 2014. Filed under: Career Management, Job Search Tips, social media | Tags: , |

social media job searchA lot of people think that even though they have made their FB profiles “private” and have shared nothing more than their undying commitment to their favorite TV show or pictures of their children, that there is really nothing more to be done to their profiles when they launch a job search. As this infographic from Purdue University’s Center for Career Opportunities shows, there are a few other things to think about.

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Social Media Job Search: It’s All About Layering

Posted on June 26, 2012. Filed under: Job Search Tips, Personal Branding, social media | Tags: , , , |

social media layeringby Sheree Van Vreede (@rezlady)

Many people ask me which social media site I think is the best when it comes to a job search. On the surface, it seems like a logical question. After all, who wants to spend time on sites that aren’t effective? And let’s face it, social media is time consuming.

The problem with the question, however, is that it completely misunderstands social media.

Social media is about marketing.

Most people fail with social media (or at the very least give up trying) because they only see it as a networking tool, a place where they can connect with old friends (Facebook), colleagues (LinkedIn), build followers (Twitter), etc. Although networking is certainly part of it, it’s not the essence of it. Social media is about marketing, pure and simple.

But it’s not your old school MBA program kind of marketing (although I am hoping they are catching up); it’s one that takes your networks and creates communities of influence and engagement that “market” to one another…not in a “sales pitchy kind of way” but in a “value proposition kind of way.” At least that is what social media marketing should be anyway.

Therefore, the social media job search is not about using one particular site.

(It’s also not about becoming a rock star.)

The social media job search, just like social media marketing, is about layering.

Yes, layering.

Like any good marketing campaign, it starts with a message. Not a slogan…a message.  That message is then distributed across social media, but not as advertisement, more like as an ongoing story that recognizes the environment it is in.

For instance, say you are an IT project manager. Maybe you aren’t actively looking for a new job, but you’re starting to get the itch. At the moment, you have a Facebook account that you basically use to post pictures of your kids, a LinkedIn account that’s halfway filled in with connections to some colleagues, and you opened a Twitter account, but you don’t really know what to do with it. Right now, social media hasn’t been anything more than a basic networking tool for you.

Here’s where layering comes in.

You begin by developing your value proposition and personal brand message. In other words, what problems do you solve? What unique expertise do you bring? Think about how you can articulate that, and how you can use the different social media environments to do it.

Now let’s begin with LinkedIn. The first thing you can do is post that messaging in your profile. Then you can write blogs (using WordPress or Blogger), which you can feed into your LI profile, that detail some of your knowledgebase. You can also join groups where you can share your expertise on this subject. Another great option is to upload some presentations that you’ve done that again reinforce your main message.

After that, you take it further and go on Twitter, where you can tweet out links to your blog posts and LI updates. You participate in a chat or two each week that provides a forum for you to share your background knowledge and meet others with similiar interests.

Then you go to your Facebook account, where you look for industry groups you can join. You also find apps that let you upload some of your professional background info in a more casual way (like talent.me). Maybe you go a step further and feed in some images from Pinterest that make jokes about or highlight people like you (techies, organization freaks, etc.). It reminds your friends in a more casual way of the work that you do.

And so on. And so on.

I know…here’s the burning question…does all that lead to a job?

Well, the answer is the same as it is for the thousands of entrepreneurs out there trying to make social media work for them: “It works for some.”

It works for those who have a consistent, clear message and who figure out how to articulate that message, leveraging their communities across social media. It’s a lot of work, but it can work and has worked. But it starts with an understanding of what social media is and is not. And it requires a shift in thinking about marketing and messaging. It also requires a fair amount of research, finding and developing your target market and how to reach them.

It also isn’t something you can do overnight. It takes at least 6 months to build these layers on a basic level, and to build communities around them.

Sounds like a job in and of itself? It is. In my view, it isn’t so much as a job search tool as it is a career management one. It’s something you put in place and keep in place as you move throughout your career.

The ITtechExec Way

To arm yourself with more tools in your technical job search arsenal, we offer a free Technical Jobs report & Personal Brand Assessment to our followers. We also offer a 10% discount. Take advantage of our offer just by signing up to follow this blog or go to our website ITtechExec (be sure to indicate in the “How did you hear about us?” box that you found us through our blog).

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Facebook and the Midlife Crisis

Posted on June 13, 2012. Filed under: Job Search Tips, social media | Tags: , , |

social media

Social Media and the Midlife Crisis

So I thought I would write this tongue-in-cheek, self-deprecating post about my weirdness with hugging (I called myself a hugging snob) and how that equates to Facebook (then I called myself a Facebook snob)…and furthermore, how that equates to using Facebook specifically to build a quality network…A network that will be effective for you when it comes time for a job search.

That is what I do.

I learn about/experiment with trends so that I can advise job seekers on how best to employ them in their job search based on actual experience (that is the focus of this blog, after all).

Many of our job seekers at ITtechExec, technical pros with a few years of experience under their belts (those of us in our middle years, shall we say), come to us for help with personal branding but feel that social media, Facebook, in particular, is…perplexing, dumb, a waste of time, not worth its weight in stock. Yet they have ventured on to Facebook because they were told they should, especially in this job market, and they are finding themselves wondering how they got there and what they should do now. This same audience is questioning what makes for an effective network (or community) and how they can build that using social media as one option.

That’s the audience I was trying to reach with my post.

When I first joined Facebook, I accepted every friend invite. But as I mentioned in my first post, I didn’t really see as much value in it for job seekers as I did with LinkedIn or Twitter. So I deactivated my account (for at least a year and a half!). No one seemed to miss me. Then I decided I would give it another shot as I wanted to explore other aspects of Facebook that many people don’t seem to use as much, such as groups and branding pages.

But this time, I decided to take the opposite approach to it (one very few are taking). What if I kept my network really small, made myself difficult to find, etc.? Would I find the experience anymore effective? To do that, I picked ~45 people that I interact with on a REGULAR basis. I didn’t think about whether we were family, colleagues, etc., just about whether we actually interacted.

Considering that I had not been on Facebook in well over a year, who would even care whether they stayed on my list anyway?

What I discovered is that social media is having an even bigger pull than I realized. Who friends you, unfriends you, likes you, unlikes you, follows you, unfollows you suddenly gets linked in to deeper relationship issues, much deeper than it should. Here we are feeling snubbed…and exposed, especially when someone close to us uses Facebook or other social media in a way that seems like a personal attack.

So, as you can imagine, my use of the word “dumping” in my previous post really touched a nerve.

(If it makes anyone feel better, my own father “dumped” me from his FB friends, to employ his own “strategy,” and we still see each other at least once a week!)

No wonder I feel my midlife crisis coming on.

Social media is just a tool. Facebook is a more personal one, LinkedIn is a more professional one, Twitter is a more informative one, Google+ is a mashup one, and so on. But in the end, no matter what the environment, it is just a tool…nothing more. And there are no concrete rules for how you should use these tools. No one guru has the answer because no two people use the tools in the same way or for the same purpose.

One person might see Facebook as a way to keep in touch with everyone they have ever met. Another might see it as a way to share content with a specific group. Some might not really give it any thought at all. And others, like me, might just see it as something to experiment with because, after all, it is just a tool.

My goal was to see whether my strategy would work or have any value and how that could relate to the job seeker.

And value I did find. Engaged networks are invaluable…but they can come at a cost.

That doesn’t mean that people I “dumped” have no value or that I have some deep-rooted dislike for them.  Again, it’s a tool, remember? And a rather silly one at that. It also doesn’t mean that we won’t ever be closer or more involved with each other’s lives.

Facebook is not a marriage contract or anything! (At least not yet anyway…)

So my advice, especially for those of you entering your own midlife crisis, is to keep your Facebook network (LinkedIn/Twitter are another story) small if your intention is to use it for job search or related purposes. You no longer have to be as harsh as I apparently was because Facebook blessedly does allow you to “group” people now into different categories, in which you can set aside a core group that you want to interact with the most (and just ignore the rest, I guess; a more “polite” dumping, if you will).

Just don’t broadcast your strategy, even if it is for the benefit of others and is part of your job, like I did.

A wise social media strategist once said that we are all in trouble once we start taking social media too seriously. The future of world relations or at least your next family gathering could very well be at stake. 🙂

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