You already know you need a LinkedIn profile. And perhaps you’ve acknowledged that being active on Twitter, Facebook and Google+ can help improve your job search. Maybe you even have your own, professional website–a social resume. It seems there are new tools created every week to help job seekers connect with the right audience. It’s best to focus on social media tools that help to accomplish four key things: to expand your networks, to learn new information, to demonstrate expertise, and to be found. Here are a few tools that might help achieve these goals.
Expand your network via Tokkster. This beta-stage web plug-in allows users to chat with others who are concurrently visiting the same website. Asher Adelman, one of Tokkster’s creators, explains how the organization takes privacy very seriously. “We’ve designed Tokkster so that nobody’s data, browsing history or chats are ever collected, stored, or tracked,” he says. In fact, Tokkster users do not have names or “handles.” Instead, the app identifies you by your uploaded avatar, and all interactions happen in real time. Using Tokkster is the equivalent of walking down the street and interacting with people you meet—but, via a virtual, online, “street.”
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Once you’ve installed Tokkster, you’ll see photos of the other users who are visiting the same webpage as you. To start chatting with another user, all you need to do is click on their photo. Currently, this brand new application is available for Internet Explorer 7.0+, but Chrome, Firefox, and Safari versions are expected soon. This could be a great tool to expand your network; you never know who may be trolling websites you are reading. If you spend time on sites geared to your profession, you’ll likely be able to interact with new networking contacts.
Be found via Vizibility.com. When you use Vizibility.com, you can make it easier for people to access the information you want them to see when they search for you online. This is a helpful site for job seekers, and it's particularly useful if you have a common name. For example, the site’s founder James Alexander says that about 2,000 people on LinkedIn share their name with someone on the FBI’s most wanted list. Vizibility’s basic features are free, but the site also offers a paid version with more advanced options. The key is to first have some Google-indexed search results (for example, your LinkedIn profile, Twitter account, media mentions, and/or your own website).
When you register for Vizibility, you select the pertinent online results for your name. Those links are then included in a “SearchMe™button for Google,” so that people can easily find them. You can also include a link to this button on your online profiles, websites, resumes, email signatures and business cards. According to Alexander, one of the button's benefits is that it's optimized for search. Someone Googling your name may actually find your button in the results—with your selected search topics. Vizibility may help you take your “findability” into your own hands to make it easier for others to locate you—and the results you want them to find—online.
Access new information using StartWire. Chris Forman, CEO of the job search organizer StartWire, says, “Using this free tool, you can find out when your online applications are reviewed by thousands of employers and track your progress. StartWire users share where they have applied by emailing their ‘thanks for applying’ confirmations to email@example.com.” The tool then provides automatic updates, from an alert that your application was received to an update on the current status of the job posting. Forman says, “Using your application activity, we make ‘spot on’ recommendations to accelerate a user’s job search.” Recommendations could be helpful reminders and tips based on your current application statuses, or changes in job recommendations based on where you have shown interest and seen progress in your applications. Startwire takes into account not only what is on your resume, but they consider past job seeking history and future career interests.
Startwire’s site explains how the tool, “provides job seekers daily updates on their applications from most of the major employers in North America.” By enabling SMS and email alerts and growing an employer network, the organization is hoping to eliminate the application “black hole.” Using Startwire may help you locate potential insider connections and research opportunities to give yourself a leg up in the process.
Demonstrate your expertise with Pinterest. Pinterest has been getting a lot of buzz in the blogosphere. Like other networks (such as Twitter) that are not necessarily designed with professional networking in mind, Pinterest has interesting potential job search applications. Using the site (by invitation only, which you receive after adding your name to a wait list), you can create a virtual pinboard of interests about any topic. For example, if you are an interior designer, you can “pin” information and photos to demonstrate your expertise. You can organize and share information about any subject, especially visually oriented concepts and ideas.
Mashable outlines how the Pinterest site allows you to showcase what you know for other people: “To find other Pinners, access the Everything drop-down menu and filter Boards by category. When you see a good Pin, leave a comment, Like it, or Repin to one of your own Boards. If you find a Board that’s especially interesting, follow its updates, or head to the Pinner’s profile and follow all of her Boards. Like Twitter, it’s an open network, so follows don’t require permission, and you don’t have to follow anyone back.” While it is still in a ramp-up mode, this network has a lot of potential to help you demonstrate your expertise online.
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.