It used to be that finding a job was fairly simple.
If you needed employment, you picked up the want ads to read what jobs were available. You visited a local employment agency to see what they had to offer. Or if you were really motivated, you got out your walking shoes and went around knocking on doors with resume in hand.
Well, the world of work has changed dramatically. And so has finding a job.
In today’s highly networked world, job hunting is a lot less about responding to published job ads and more about proactively connecting with the individuals and organizations who can help you land that coveted position. And increasingly, the fastest and most effective way to make those connections is with social media tools.
According to Wikipedia, social media is “media designed to be disseminated through social interaction, created using highly accessible and scalable publishing techniques. Social media supports the human need for social interaction with technology, transforming broadcast media monologues (one to many) into social media dialogues (many to many). It supports the democratization of knowledge and information, transforming people from content consumers into content producers.”
If you don’t think we’re rapidly morphing into a nation of content producers, consider the following:
- Sites like Facebook and Twitter now have more than 250 million users.
- The number of text messages sent each day exceeds the total population of the earth.
- Every minute of every day, 20 hours of new video are uploaded onto YouTube.
- Wikipedia has become the largest reference website in the world, attracting almost 700 million users in 2008. Written collaboratively by volunteers from all around the world, it currently has more than 75,000 active contributors working on more than 10 million articles in 250+ languages.
- More people have blogs today (31 million) than had an Internet connection 10 years ago. The search engine Technorati currently tracks more than 150 million blogs.
What does all this mean for today’s job hunters?
First and foremost, seeking employment in a digital world requires a very different approach. Corporations are rapidly learning how to connect with prospects, customers, vendors and other stakeholders through sites like Facebook and Twitter. And business professionals are doing the same with sites like LinkedIn and Plaxo. With so many different channels to explore and so many different ways to plug into the online world of social media, it makes sense to take your job search there as well.
If that doesn’t convince you, maybe this will.
Just a few years ago, savvy job seekers flocked to online job sites like Monster and Careerbuilder for the choice job listings. Now, most of jobs posted online aren’t even vacant. Many don’t even exist. Often, hiring managers don’t even bother looking at the resumes from online applicants. Instead, they get a list of referral candidates obtained through their employees’ social media networks. So it’s not surprising that recent studies have shown that 80% of all jobs are obtained through networking.
Studies have also shown that one in five hiring managers now conduct background checks using social networks, primarily Facebook. This number is bound to increase, so why not put yourself out there and give yourself a better chance of being noticed!
How do you find a job using social media? Start by adopting a “FIA” approach:
- Find. Identify people and/or companies for whom you would like to work.
- Interact. Connect with those people on message boards, by replies, and through private contact. Find ways to demonstrate your knowledge and be helpful to them.
- Ask. Ask if those people can help you get a job, either by appealing directly to them or posting in a space where they are likely to read your comment.
To build your presence, create social network accounts. Professional networking sites like LinkedIn and Plaxo each have more than 40 million users. More general sites like Facebook, MySpace and Twitter can connect you with millions more.
With the economy starting to turn around, companies will be hiring again, so now is the time to start marketing yourself with social media. Stay tuned for eight tips on how to do that in my next blog here and at www.MoreThanaMinute.com/morethanablog.
Holly Green is the CEO of THE HUMAN FACTOR, Inc. (http://www.thehumanfactor.biz/). Ms. Green has more than 20 years of executive level and operations experience in FORTUNE 100, entrepreneurial, and management consulting organizations. She was previously President of The Ken Blanchard Companies, a global consulting and training organization as well as LumMed, Inc. a biotech start up. She has a broad background in strategic planning, leadership and management assessment and development. Clients include The Coca-Cola Company, AT&T;, Dell Computer, Hilton Hotels Corporation, Nokia, Expedia, Inc., Celanese, RealNetworks, Inc., Microsoft and Google as well as numerous small and mid-sized businesses.
She is an author of a top selling book, More Than A Minute: How To Be An Effective Leader & Manager In Today’s Changing World and a frequent keynote speaker.