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How “Social” Is Your Job Search?


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Social media is perfect for amplifying a message.

Many of these messages are relatively unimportant in the big scheme of things. People share cat pictures and give fashion advice (etc) for a bit of fun – these messages might have their moment in the limelight, but then they fade into the ether. Much of social media is fleeting and far from all of it will have a lasting impact on our lives.

However, there is one message that social media can help you to amplify, and it is a message that everyone will need to get “out there”, often frequently in todays dynamic business and employment environment.

“I’m extremely competent and engaged and you might want to hire me” (or propose new opportunities).

Now, this is the thing with social media – if no one cares about you, no one will listen. You might have a LinkedIn connection list of 2,000, but their feeds will be filled with thousands of other messages…. Noise is just noise when you don’t know who is speaking. On the other hand, if you are well networked within your industry (and within your country), social media can be incredibly powerful when you need to take the next step in your career.

It is all about social currency.

If you write a regular and interesting blog, it is likely that your network will be able to get to know you. If you comment on the blogs and updates of others and try to be as helpful as possible, this won’t go unnoticed. If you respond to recruiters requests for “do you know anyone who…”, then they will be much more likely to help you in your time of need. You have to invest in your social media presence in order to reap the rewards.

It sounds like a lot of work, but gradually increasing your social media reach could be what makes the difference between finding an average job and finding that once in a lifetime opportunity. You need to be taking maximum advantage every time that the pivotal moment comes, and the return on your social media investment will be heavily correlated to the amount of time you have spent building your networks.

Also, I should state that this is not just about LinkedIn (though looking after your profile is important). Increasing amounts of recruiters are using other sources (ie Twitter – a useful tool in this area despite the share price!) to find relevant people. Your Facebook activity will show your employer a different dimension, so make sure that it gives a positive impression. In the age of Big Data, pretty much everything that you do online is searchable and quantifiable. This creates an opportunity for all – to show what makes you stand out – that far outweighs the perceived negatives. How many employers really aren’t going to hire someone because of a “tipsy” photo? We are all human!

As a last point, increasing amounts of employers are seeing your social media “net worth” as a hiring point in itself. They want their employees to become their advocates and help to spread the word about their employer brand. Your contacts could be potential customer or influencers. So being active on social media might not only help you get your foot in the door, but it may well also be part of the reason that someone employs you.

There are many reasons to make 2016 the year that you think carefully about the impact of social media on your future career. If you have a network that cares about you, the impact could be very considerable indeed.