4 Networks Job Seekers Should Know About

These networks can help you attract the right audiences for your skills and accomplishments.

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Miriam Salpeter
Miriam Salpeter
The Jobvite annual survey was recently released, reminding job seekers and trend-watchers about the continued importance of social networks. Jobvite polled more than 800 human resource and recruiting professionals in the U.S. Survey highlights:

• 89 percent will recruit via social networks this year

• 55 percent will spend more on social recruiting

• 64 percent use two or more networks for recruiting

• 78 percent expect increased competition for hires

[See 6 Ways the World of Work is Changing.]

For experienced job seekers, it’s important to remember this trend doesn’t actually represent such a divergence from the job search you’ve always known; the only difference is the tools. Networking has always been a crucial aspect of any successful job hunt. Today, hiring managers and recruiters no longer rely strictly on their close networks or people they know in real life to cast a wider hiring net. Instead, they have numerous options to engage and interact with an exponentially growing number of people on a variety of networks.

Don’t miss these networks to help you attract the right audiences for your skills and accomplishments:

LinkedIn

With over 120 million members, this network took an early lead as the go-to professional online home. While it’s great for job seekers, it’s important to remember LinkedIn isn’t only for job seekers. Participating and connecting online should be a continuous activity. Your goal should be to create an active network of people you can rely on when it’s time to make a career change or when you just need to rely on your extended colleagues and contacts.

LinkedIn’s features you’ll want to try:

Groups: This is a great place to meet people who share your interests. Don’t just join, add the logo to your profile, and move on. Comment, respond, and ask questions. You never know who may be listening.

Answers: This is a great place to showcase your own expertise and to find people with specialties you need to hire. I met my first online client via Answers, and you can, too. You can even subscribe to RSS feeds for Answers you want to track.

Follow Companies: Search for companies by location, industry, and size, as well as how you are connected. You can even review results including only companies where you have a direct connection.

[See 10 Smart Ways to Use Social Media in Your Job Search.]

Twitter

An open forum, allowing you to find and follow most anyone, Twitter is a favorite network because it really encourages engaging with new contacts. Used professionally, Twitter can be a gateway to opportunities you may not otherwise have known about. (You may not realize how many companies are using Twitter to recruit. The Jobvite survey says nearly 47 percent of respondents use Twitter.) Important Twitter features:

Your profile: It’s important to pack your Twitter bio with keywords. Include details to help people who may be looking for someone in your niche find you via Twitter.

Your tweets: Don’t just tweet about your lunch or your pet peeves. Send information, data, and resources others in your industry need to know. Be a fountain of information and watch your network expand.

Engage: Don’t be afraid to talk to people directly. Even people who don’t know you will receive your @ messages. Simply include a target’s Twitter name (for example, I am @Keppie_Careers) and ask a question or comment on something the person said or wrote.

[See How to Use Twitter to Change Careers.]

Google+

The newest and fast-growing social network combines some of the best parts of other social networks. In addition to opportunities to engage and interact with people you don’t already know, it offers you the chance to categorize your contacts and to both send out and view messages from people in those groups. A lot of resources to help job seekers learn about Google+ are popping up. Many recruiters are excited about the possibilities for finding people on Google+; Craig Fisher, VP of Ajax Social Media, recently noted on his blog, Fishdogs, that Google+ users, who are all early adopters, are likely targets for being contacted by recruiters.

Google+ features:

Public posts on Google+ can all be indexed in Google’s search results. This means your professional shares and ideas are more likely to be found by people you want to reach.

Tags: Be sure to tag people if you want them to know you are mentioning them. All you need to do is include a + before the person’s name in your post (for example, I would be +MiriamSalpeter). The person will receive your update and is more likely to notice your comments.

Hangouts: Use the Hangout button on the right side of the Google+ screen. This opens up a chat window where you can check your mic and choose who will be able to join the hangout (either by inviting individuals or sharing it with your circles). You may also host a public hangout. (See a list public hangouts at GPHangouts. Consider hosting a hangout about a topic of interest in your niche.

Facebook

With the largest social graph and the number of minutes per day people spend on Facebook, it would be a shame to ignore the professional opportunities it provides to network. Using Facebook for job-hunting should be a goal for all social media users. It’s important, since more than 55 percent of those in the Jobvite survey use Facebook to recruit.

[See How to Mesh In-Person and Online Networking.]

Facebook tools to help your job hunt:

Beknown: Monster’s relatively new application allows LinkedIn-like networking within Facebook. This is especially valuable and relevant for people who don’t have a large professional network already, and those more likely to grow one inside of Facebook Beknown allows users to separate their professional and personal Facebook identities.

Branchout: An early professional Facebook app, Branchout allows you to search jobs and identify inside connections leading you to opportunities. You may be surprised by how many inside connections you already have at thousands of companies.

Your updates: Use them to illustrate your expertise and know-how. Avoid complaining and sharing unimportant details about you on Facebook. It’s possible one of your old high school friends or neighbors you barely have anything to do with anymore will know about a resource or contact for you. Using the opportunity to attract attention to your professional endeavors can really make a difference on Facebook.

Don’t miss your chance to land a job. When you focus on the social networks that suit you and use them well, you help level the playing field in a competitive market.

Miriam Salpeter is a job search and social media consultant, career coach, author, speaker, resume writer and owner of Keppie Careers. She is author of Social Networking for Career Success. Miriam teaches job seekers and entrepreneurs how to incorporate social media tools along with traditional strategies to empower their success. Connect with her via Twitter @Keppie_Careers.