Social networks aren't just for posting fun photos, stalking exes and sharing your every thought through tweets and status updates. These online networks are also an excellent resource for finding jobs. The three most popular means by which people search for jobs via social networking are LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.
LinkedIn is a social network focused less on socializing and more on business networking; it is a much more adult environment than Facebook or Twitter. Joining the network is free and you can post your resume there and adjust your settings to open you up to receive job opportunities and requests for applications. The key is to make as many connections as possible through LinkedIn with people you've worked with in the past, friends, former classmates, acquaintances and even former professors. As you meet more people through networking in person, add them to your LinkedIn network. You may even be able to get an old classmate to connect you with his or her hiring manager on LinkedIn to give you a leg up for a job.
You can let your LinkedIn network know that you are looking for a job by posting status updates about your job search and even by sending individual messages asking about possible employment in that person's industry or for a connection to someone who has more information. Saddleback College recommends reaching out to former employers or professors and asking them to post a recommendation on LinkedIn for you, so that potential employers searching for new hires won't overlook your profile. Aside from using LinkedIn as a networking tool to get leads for jobs, you can also search its employment listings for openings in numerous industries.
Facebook and Twitter
Facebook and Twitter are generally used more for informal social purposes than for job hunting, but more and more people are using these social networks to find jobs as well. If you plan to use Facebook as a networking tool, it's a good idea to keep your profile clean and free of offensive content that could scare away future employers. Avoid posting compromising photos of yourself getting drunk at parties or wearing revealing clothing—basically anything that could make you look unprofessional.
Using your settings, check the box that says you are open to networking. Use status updates and tweets to keep your followers and friends aware of your job hunt and reach out to friends and acquaintances who are employed in industries where you wish to work, asking for leads on jobs or for the name of a person who might know about a job. Ask them to keep their eyes open; many people who you keep in touch with on a regular basis on Facebook and Twitter will go out of their way to help you find a job if they can.
- Time magazine discusses how individuals are using Twitter and Facebook to find a job.
- Bloomberg Businessweek explores social media and the job search.