Social and career networking sites are critical tools for job/internship seekers and employers. LinkedIn reports that recruiters’ use of social networking increased a phenomenal 57% over the last four years, which means that you cannot afford to ignore this trend. When you consider that 46% of US companies source talent via social networks, it becomes imperative that you boost your social networking skills and the amount of time you spend on networks like LinkedIn. When using social media, think about your goals and how to present a professional image. Remember, many employers check profiles on popular networking sites before making interviewing and hiring decisions. In fact, employers have been Googling job applicants for years to learn more about their online career brand.
Why Use Online Networking Tools?
Online networking helps you learn about industries and organizations. You can meet networking contacts or people who can help you find work. Organizations also use these sites to learn about potential employees. Networking sites are a great way to market yourself. A professional online profile can result in career success. However, photos in bad taste, use of inappropriate language, and poor spelling can leave employers wondering what type of employee you might be.
Which Online Networking Tools Should You Use?
There are many social media and networking sites that can help with your job search. Here are a few of the most common ones:
This networking site consists of millions of experienced professionals representing hundreds of industries. You can use LinkedIn to:
- Showcase your skills, career goals, and work experience.
- Connect with others in your field by adding them to your group of connections.
- Join groups and discussions of interest to you and your career goals. Find LinkedIn groups in your industry, or create your own networking group. Groups are also a good place to ask questions and learn about job leads.
- Join the Rutgers University Alumni Group on LinkedIn to connect with Rutgers Alumni in diverse career fields to network and conduct informational interviews.
- Ask internship or work supervisors, professors, and co-workers for recommendations or endorsements on LinkedIn. They can post comments about your work on the site for all to see.
If you use it to stay in touch with friends and family, play online games, and post your pictures, keep your privacy settings as high as possible. Your profile may include a great deal of private information that would be illegal for an employer to ask. Some of it may hurt your chances of landing a job.
If you choose to use it for career purposes, it is important to clean up your profile. Remove any posts, comments, photos, or online games of which employers will not approve. Also, be careful about which groups you join and how you act online. Like and follow organizations of interest to learn more about them.
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Twitter has become a useful tool for job seekers and employers. You can search for tweets about job openings, follow organizations of interest and industry professionals in your field, or send a link to your resume in a tweet. Common hashtags used for job searches are:
Blogs are a great way to attract readers and recruiters in your field of interest. Follow blogs that are relevant to your career interests and the job industry you wish to pursue. Keep up-to-date and look like a “subject matter expert” with “career ready” skills.
The Mobile Job Search:
Mobile device traffic continues to drive the preference and needs for short, lean text in job search-related communications such as emails, cover letters, resumes, bios, and LinkedIn messages. Cover letters should be shorter and more streamlined. Resumes are trending toward shorter summaries, paragraphs, and achievement bullets with less text density than was acceptable in the past. All of these same documents should be designed in mobile-ready formats. This means that any included photos, images, graphs, or charts should be suitable for mobile consumption.
One of the best ways to build and promote your career brand is by developing a professional website that showcases your key accomplishments. You can buy a domain name and publish your resume. Publish your career portfolio, detailed employment or internship experience, professional articles, photos of projects and other keyword-filled materials that will lead prospective employers looking for someone with your qualifications directly to your site.