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How Online Social Networking Can Help Your Job Search

Social media is not just a fad; It's efficient networking.

Social media is not just a fad; it's efficient networking.

There is so much noise about social media, it sort of feels like the self-fulfilling mantra from the movie Field of Dreams: “If you build it, they will come.”

Yeah, right, you say? Well, there are some real-world examples of people who are taking advantage of social media to land jobs and show their expertise. Take Brennan Carlson, a former Yahoo employee who landed a product-manager job after taking what a Computerworld article depicts as a “scientific approach” to the job hunt process using social media. From the article:

    Carlson’s initial action consisted of sending out about 60 to 70 resume/cover letter blasts to job sites, companies, etc., around the holiday season after the Yahoo Video layoff. When nothing came out of that, he took a more organized and targeted approach and sent out 103 blasts — but this time he used LinkedIn and other tools to research target companies, trying to find people who worked at the company who had a role in the product area he was interested in, or who worked as company recruiters.
    Three days after the blast, he sent out follow-up messages. “And the response rate from those follow-ups was much higher than the original sendouts,” he said, at 40% compared to the first response rate of only 5%. During this time he was maintaining his online profile, doing status updates on sites such as Facebook and Twitter “that were relevant and germane to my job search.”
    The result: he started working at one of his targeted companies, Lyris Inc., on March 23, four weeks and one day after the targeted resume/cover letter blast.

Pretty impressive results. But he’s just one guy, right? He got lucky, you say? Think again.

The article goes on to profile several more folks, all of whom were successful using LinkedIn and other social media to boost their profiles; connect with new and old contacts; get references and recommendations; and, most importantly, land new jobs.

Yet what makes something like LinkedIn pretty powerful, experts say, is the ability to see who within a company you know and how you might be able to get an inside reference to a position, then make a direct connection to a hiring manager via this contact. LinkedIn, for example, has built-in reference points to show who in your network knows someone in a company you could be targeting. As one recruiter from the article says:

    “I collect data,” said Gerry Crispin, owner of Careerxroads job placement consultancy in Kendall Park, N.J. He has been analyzing job hiring trends for 40 years and has conducted extensive hiring trend surveys for the past eight years. His data confirms that an in-company referral is priceless.
    Last year Crispin analyzed more than 300,000 job openings and how they were filled. His data emphasizes how crucial it is to use social networking sites for one specific purpose and one purpose only.
    “The only goal you have is to meet somebody, is to network to someone in the company you’ve targeted, so they can be your employee referral,” Crispin said. “Because when you have an employee inside a company refer you for the specific job that does come open, you’ll have 50 to 70 times more likelihood of being interviewed than if you do anything else.”

Still not convinced? Here’s more advice to think about:

The Best Online Tools for Executives

Around the Web: Job-Hunting Tools

Checklist: Clean Up Your Web Trail

What Do People Think About You?

[Image by 1000zenvia Flickr CC 2.0]

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