3 Tips To Improve Your Social Network Job Search

By: Mark Baber

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Job search related social networking is an important tool for many job seekers. The value and effectiveness of social networks in the job hunt lies in its ability to reach people-who-know-other-people who are hiring. It is a 'person-to-person' communications method, whose results - if logically organized in advance of the doing - in short time can supercharge a job seeker's ability to identify serious employment opportunities. The same holds true for most social networks, whether LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, YAHOO! or Google groups, or other smaller niche defined groups or forums.

Problem is... not everyone is willing to do the '... if logically organized in advance of the doing' part.

Without clear personal employment goals, all you seek is just another job, or just another business contact; that's okay, as long as you know that 'just another job' is what you'll get in the end.

If you want a career position, it is your responsibility to organize; it's really only a few simple tasks, like create a list of your practical job goals, include preferred industries, job titles, locations, salary range, and other job consideration specifics. The list is for you, not the members you'll reach out to. Then research a second list, too, of web addresses for specific social networks, forums, billboards and other groups, where you can find and reach out to individuals who may introduce you to a great job.

Use common sense. It's easy to get lost chasing multiple 'great job' leads from your new social group members, from people who may mean well, or may be opportunistic. In the end, too often, some leads - as illustrated by statistics below - have little result, or... more likely, simply do not closely match your 'goals' list, so waste time. Don't fall into that trap. Consider the practical nature of the three social networking tips below to help improve your job search results.

THREE KEY STRATEGIES

1 - Know Who You Want - which social members to approach, where to find them on social networks, what to ask of them, and what's in it for them.

2 - Know What You Want - be specific about the job(s) or industry(ies) you seek; create keywords relating to those.

(Do not send members your lists of career, job title, or vocation keywords, or resume type documents, only if requested by a group member replying to your inquiry.)

3 - Moderation - make every member contact positive. Be polite, be brief. Don't be a nuisance to others.

A smart way to start is to begin with people you already know. Consider people with whom you are already acquainted, whether they are directly tied to the job or industry you pursue, or not. People know other people. The hallmark action of social networks is to build a 'network' of friends, or member referrals, with whom you 'connect' to or 'subscribe' to. Sometimes the person who seems least likely to help is the very individual who knows someone who knows someone who can help get you hired. They may not even realize they know someone, until you ask them.

When you ask them, you'll likely do it online. Be brief. Get to the point quickly, and be polite and inviting and thankful, not too direct or demanding or expectant of their obligation to help you. Remember, start with mutual acquaintances. Ask who they know, list and contact those folks, introduce yourself, and name the person who referred you. Personalize each contact. Be brief. Offer to help connect and refer them to people in your own network of members. Inquire about any sort of connections they may need. And above all... be brief! And thank them for their time.

After you run out of known acquaintances and their referrals, if required, research and reach out to group members at the various social networks you have joined, who have similar jobs or duties or industry, or geographic similarities, school, service background, or human interest commonalities, or whatever, as you.

Consider pre-writing communications. Craft messages to cover topics you need to discuss. Save copies. Keep each message simple, easy to understand. Always use polite, mannerly message formatting, "Dear Sir," or "Dear Madam" or "Ms." A "Thank you," or other friendly regard upon parting. Proofread messages for misspellings and mistakes before use. This may seem too overdone for quick web chats or 'off the cuff' group forums, but don't be fooled. U.S. Department of Labor statistics (2009) verified that better than seventy-percent of job applicants are rejected due to poor use of language and misspellings and awkward grammar on hiring inquiries, emails, faxes, resumes, and other written documents. Go ahead, now that you know that, send another chatty, modern, acronymic text message or email, or chat exchange as a part of serious employment outreach, and your chances of joining that 'seventy-percent' mentioned above increase exponentially.

As a caution, also know that sometimes overzealous outreach to social group members, or posting of too many unrelated forum messages, can sometimes result in account suspension by group moderators. Group operators vary, but it's usually good advice to follow their rules.

WORKPLACE REFERENCES

Another ancillary usefulness of business, vocation, and industry related social networks is how they help you organize and mange your professional references. By 'joining' or 'connecting' to mutual social websites where those individuals have professional profiles. You can supply interested employers with an easy way for them to contact your references, and thereby verify statements about your skills, training and work history.

Workplace people who know and can vouch for you (where those individuals give permission to participate as a professional reference contact on your behalf to possible employers and interested parties) can help a job applicant communicate to job prospects specific workplace skills and strengths; and help address, and set minds to ease about, any uncomfortable or embarrassing workplace issues. Those references can address topics and help bridge hiring issues that arise sometimes, like a recent or unexpected resigning from a job or other job resignation issue, or a bad job reference that may have surfaced elsewhere - understanding that in some industries, even the hint of a bad work reference, whether true or not, can have devastating effects upon a job search. Too often, for too many good job applicants, the result of not organizing job references in advance, to support your skills and workplace proficiency, and to address other potential hiring issues, is that the companies you want - won't hire you; and companies you might have settled for - don't hire you.

Consider the ideas presented above if your goal is to improve job search results by generating one-on-one job hunt contacts within a social network environment. Organize your job search goals, and your inquiry messages, remain patient and polite. Follow these common sense techniques and you will increase your odds of getting hired soon.

Mark Baber, Job Placement expert and Radio Host of "The Job Search Show," is a 20 year Executive Search specialist and Recruit Consultant, and advisor to http://www.JobNewsRadio.com & "Hey,DoYaWannaJob?" MAGAZINE and Job Search Directory.

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