One of my favorite things to do is answer questions from reporters about how job seekers and small business owners can use social media. I just found these notes I made when a The Wall Street Journal reporterÂ asked for my thoughts about using technology for job search, and I thought they were worth sharing!
-What are some specific tips you have for folks looking to use technology & social media to effectively find and land a job?
The most important thing for people to remember is that social media and technology are best used to accomplish three things:
1. To demonstrate expertise.
2. To expand a network of people who know, like and trust you.
3. To learn new things.
With that in mind, job seekers should identify the online networks best suited to their own skills. Are you a great talker, but not a good writer? Think about starting a podcast or online radio show. If you’re great on video, use YouTube. If you can write well, blogging or networks such as Google+ or Twitter may be best for you.
Once you consider your own skills, use search tools to find out where your colleagues who are online spend their time. If it’s feasible, you should build a presence on those same networks.
Make a point to find and share information that will be helpful for your target audience. When you serve as a resource, people will appreciate having you in their networks. When you can impress people with your expertise and comments, you’ll win allies for your job search and potential referrals.
Always think about how you can learn new things online. Ask questions, make comments and listen (read) as much as you talk (post/write). When you do, you’ll benefit more than you may expect.
-What are some of the big mistakes youâ€™ve seen folks make when looking for a job?
One of the biggest mistakes job seekers make is they do not target their application materials and they fail to focus on networking, which is a known inroad to landing jobs. Another mistake? Job seekers don’t go the extra mile on either end of the job search process. For example, they don’t do enough research about companies to make sure they can create strong application materials. Or, when they land interviews, they don’t make a point to study up about the organization and rehearse telling why they are a good fit for the job. Finally, many job seekers lose opportunities when they don’t follow up after interviews with thank you notes or phone calls to indicate their strong interest.
Job seekers should remember that employers want to find and hire good employees. It’s up to the potential employees to make the strong case for hiring them!
-What advice do you have for seniors (who may have less tech savvy) but are looking to land an encore job?
The best advice is to get tech savvy. While ageism isn’t a myth, there is research that says employers do value the experience and maturity senior job seekers may bring to the workforce. (Employers may also appreciate the fact that these older workers are less likely to have childcare issues or other distractions some younger workers face.)
The key for older job seekers is to make sure their skills are relevant and useful. If they are not comfortable engaging in a video interview, for example, it’s a good idea to learn how to participate in one before an employer tries to set up such an assessment. Job seekers can get training at local colleges, community centers and from neighbors, younger family members and friends.
Alternatively, for job seekers who are uninterested in technology, make sure to focus on positions where the lack of technology skills will not be a drawback. Unfortunately, those jobs are fewer and far between. Another suggestion: make a strong effort to ramp up in-person networking contacts. If a job seeker can make a personal connection with an insider with an organization, it’s more likely he or she will be able to get an interview and be able to make a case for a hire.
-How can younger job seekers use technology to land a position (especially if they are say, recent graduates with fewer contacts)?
Younger job seekers can take advantage of connecting with networking contacts by following thought leaders and potential mentors on any of the social networks, especially Twitter and Google+, which invite and encourage people to connect with people they don’t already know. Young people can join in Groups on LinkedIn and ask good questions to show what they know and simultaneously learn something new. They should recognize that everyone they know can be a great networking contact. Don’t underestimate your ability to engage and interact. Jump in to networks such as LinkedIn with both feet and take advantage of tools such as LinkedIn’s “alumni” feature to help connect with people who graduated from your alma mater: www.linkedin.com/college/alumni.
It’s important forÂ young people to own their expertise and to look for opportunities to connect with people who will both teach them new things as well as be open to learning from the young professionals.
Be sure to take a look at The Wall Street Journal article.