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Five ways to jump-start your job search with social networking

July 15, 2009

If you’re looking for a job, congratulations! Or condolences. Either way, it’s a challenge, given the down economy and the sheer number of other applicants out there.

But you can stand out, simply by using free social networking tools. Remember: You need to have a strategy; otherwise, you may feel like you’re moving in too many directions at once.

Five easy ways to get started:

1. Treat your LinkedIn profile like your resume. But not just any resume: Flesh it out. You’re not limited to one to two pages, like a paper resume. Brag on yourself a little, and be clear about how you helped bring in revenue, make project deadlines or other ways you helped your boss, your company, your team and yes, yourself. [See my LinkedIn profile for a sample.]

2. Clean up your Facebook page. As a former hiring manager, I was thorough in checking applicant’s backgrounds. I didn’t just call references and order college transcripts; I looked at your online presence, too. So, please, please, clean up your Facebook page. Or change your Privacy Settings (under Settings in the upper right). Look at your profile page and ask yourself: “Would I hire this person?”

3. Tell a story with your blog. If you’ve started a blog to market who you are as a professional for hire, tell me a story. What drives you and makes you better than the thousands of others out there who do what you do? How have you handled sticky situations in the past? How would you make Company A outperform Company B? Here’s an opportunity to go beyond the typical resume and cover letter to give a fuller picture of your talents, your creativity and your experience. Make the most of it.

4. E-mail three people in your Rolodex a day. The old rule is call three people in your Rolodex each day, which, by the way, is still a good rule, even if you love your current job. But sometimes e-mail is easier if you’re not a “phone person.” Ask how they’re doing, and what they’re up to. (And yes, e-mail can also be social networking, too!)

5. Don’t forget offline networking. Twitter and blog and e-mail all you want, but real connections happen in the real world. When possible, go have coffee with a stranger and discuss ideas and your industry. And write thank you notes for informational interviews and referrals (or at least, e-mail them). People are more likely to help out someone they’ve met and gotten to know better than a faceless entity on a computer screen.

How are you using social networking to advance your career goals? Let us know in the comments.

Want to learn more? Check out our class on
“Finding Your Dream Job Using Social Networking”

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