The job search process has evolved a lot over the last few years. Back in the day, I would simply walk from store to store and ask if there were any jobs available. The store clerk would have me fill out a form and I wouldn’t hear back from them. As I graduated college, I started proactively sending out my resume to various companies with the hopes of turning my degree into a full-time career. When I wanted a new job, I started submitting my resume online through various job boards and company websites. Today, many are preaching about the values of social media in the job search, but are sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter really going to get you your next job?
When I was unemployed last year, the first thing I did was apply for jobs on LinkedIn. My experience with LinkedIn was positive. I posted my work experience and started soliciting recommendations from former colleagues who knew what kind of worker I was. I felt that this was actually a better way to search for a job, as it provided potential employers with instant references, and it appeared that on LinkedIn, the more recommendations you had, the better your chances of being reviewed. I even received an email to begin discussions about a potential job. The conversation went nowhere, but I was satisfied with this tool.
I never thought Twitter could land me a job. In fact, when I was bored between job searches, I would use Twitter with the thought that I just wanted to accrue as many followers as Ashton Kutcher. Yes, this was my dream, and for some reason, I failed miserably. But now that I am working again, I see a lot of potential in Twitter. The fact that companies can instantly tweet jobs out to the public before they even go up on the site is exciting. I would encourage anyone who is unemployed to monitor a Twitter feed dealing with employment and take advantage of the instant possibilities.
Facebook is not for the job search. This is just my opinion, but I find it hard to believe that in the midst of people playing Farmville and sending out fake beer or hugs, they are conducting extensive searches and locating promising job leads. I believe Facebook is just to let off steam, vent about life, and post 30 pictures of yourself that look exactly the same, albeit with different clothing. However, in a weird way, it actually led to my most successful social media-based job search. While I was looking for work last year, I received an interview for a job as a press aide where the previous incumbent had resigned due to a backlash over inappropriate comments she had posted on her Facebook profile. On top of that, I applied as soon as I found out she had resigned, not even waiting for the position to be posted on a job board. That's the kind of speed of action normally associated with social networks, and it certainly didn't hurt my case.
Now, there are more social networks popping up that proclaim to help people find work. But are they truly effective? Vault wants to know your thoughts and is conducting a survey about social media. It shouldn't take much more than five minutes to complete, and as an incentive there are five year-long Gold memberships up for grabs. Share your social media job hunt stories with us.
--Posted by Jon Minners, Vault.com
Before reading, I encourage everyone to take Vault's Social Media Survey and let us know their own thoughts about using social networking tools in their job search.