How social networking sites can help you find your next job

Using Social Networking Sites to Find a Job

by Jennifer Elliot

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It is no secret that the American economy is ailing and faces serious challenges and uncertainties. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the US unemployment rate in April 2012 stood at 8.1 percent, the lowest it has been in the past three years. However, it must be noted that this figure is rather misleading. The slight decline in the April unemployment rate was primarily due to the fact that 342,000 people left the labor force, which means that the BLS stopped counting them as unemployed individuals. The number of employed people in the US actually dropped by 169,000 in April. Currently, over 5 million people have been unemployed for at least 27 weeks.

Recent college graduates must contend with an incredibly grim job market that has not been kind to them. Half of college graduates are currently jobless or underemployed. While the job market remains relatively strong for those with degrees in science, education and health fields, arts and humanities degree holders are struggling mightily. The fact that the total student loan debt in the US surpassed $1 trillion this year just means that all too many college graduates face a brutal financial reality.

During these tough economic times, it is important, more than ever before, to utilize creative approaches in your quest to land a quality job that is an accurate reflection of your skills and abilities. Once you get your foot in the door somewhere and prove your worth, amazing opportunities can rapidly open up for you.

What are some creative approaches you can use to land a job? Social networking sites are incredibly powerful tools you can take advantage of in your job hunt. Let's take a look at how you can use social networking to market your skills and talents to the world.

Network on LinkedIn

Networking is absolutely the most important factor in landing a quality job. It has become standard practice for a job seeker to create a LinkedIn profile, as there are 50 million professional LinkedIn users. Your LinkedIn profile is an excellent space to post your resume and showcase your skills and talents to the world. It is important for you to "connect" with former employers that you can use for purposes of acquiring letters of recommendation or even as introductory sources for new job openings. In order to provide your profile with a competitive edge, you may want to read about SEO practices or hire an SEO expert in order to optimize your profile. This way, your personal LinkedIn profile will appear at the top of search engine rankings, which could really boost your job hunt.

Tweet Your Way to a Job

You may be surprised to learn that Twitter is an incredibly powerful tool you can tap to provide a spark to your job hunt. You should signup for a Twitter account and follow professionals who belong to the same field you are pursuing. This can really provide you with daily inspiration in terms of staying on top of your field. Twitter allows users to post "tweets" that contain a maximum of 140 characters. There are several Twitter accounts dedicated just to providing job listings by field, company, region, and more. You should absolutely follow these relevant Twitter accounts and even signup for mobile alerts. Another tactic you can use is to create a professional blog in a relevant field that can be marketed through Twitter and via Tweets. Prospective employers may be impressed with your writing and blog maintenance.

Take Advantage of Facebook

There are several applications available on Facebook that you should use to help your job search. One of these networking applications is BranchOut. You can import your LinkedIn profile to BranchOut in order to have a professional profile on Facebook. You should also add the BeKnown application, Monster's Facebook app that allows users to search and apply for jobs without leaving Facebook. You could even create your own Facebook page that just promotes your career aspirations. Are you interested in landing a modeling job? Create a Facebook page that showcases your portfolio and invite others to join your page. You never know which modeling agency could come across your photos.

Sell Yourself through YouTube

If you really want to get creative in your job search, you may want to consider adding YouTube to your arsenal of tools. One definite way to use YouTube in your job search is to create and upload a video resume. The key to an effective video resume is to keep it appropriate, relevant to a specific job, short, sweet and to the point. You will want to target a specific niche and really convey your skills and talents to prospective employers in the field. Also, you must absolutely avoid simply reading your resume or cover letter, as this will be very boring and pointless. Remember to dress appropriately and be yourself. You can place your final YouTube clip on the various social networking sites.

Pin Your Way to a Job

Pinterest is the latest social networking phenomenon and one that you should take advantage of in your job search. Pinterest is a pinboard-style photo sharing community that allows users to create and manage a collection of images that are themed around interests, hobbies and more. You can create your own personal collection of different themed pinboards, such as food and fashion, for example, and then "pin" or "re-pin" relevant images to your various pinboards. Pinterest is not limited to image-based pins, however, as you can easily create text and video-based pins. You could transform your resume into a text pin or that video resume into a video pin. Companies have begun to recognize the value of Pinterest as a marketing tool. Visit the pinboards of companies you are interested in working for in order to get a better understanding of its culture and priorities.

In this tough job market, it is important to take some creative steps to maximize your chances of landing a quality job. You can use LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and YouTube to market yourself to the world and improve your job hunt. Prospective employers may also be impressed by your efforts. After all, if you put in quality effort marketing yourself through social networking sites, they may believe this will translate into greater effort in the workplace.

Jennifer Elliot is a social media whiz and regular contributor for Jennifer has successfully marketed her freelancing talents through social networking sites in order to acquire a large clientele that spans across the globe.

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