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Using Social Media To Improve Job Chances

December 8 2011 - An analysis of 100 polls conducted by worldwide job search engine www.SimplyHired.com has shed some light on the impotance of social media in the process of job-hunting. Gautam Godhwani, co-founder and CEO said:
"The slow recovery of our economy has changed the way job seekers look for jobs as well as what they look for in the work they choose. Today’s job seekers rely more heavily on social networking and referrals to find a job. In addition, job seekers are looking for more than just financial security - they prefer jobs that fit their personal requirements, whether that means location, benefits or even the company’s recycling policy."
Some of the highlights of the survey:
  • 51% of employees were hired through a friend’s referral
  • Among people using social networks in their job search, LinkedIn was most effective (54%), followed by Facebook (22%)
  • 82% of job seekers would prefer a lower-paying job they loved than a higher-paying one they didn’t like
  • 41% of job seekers with children would prefer to work full-time - even if money and childcare were not issues
  • 18% of recent graduates had a job lined up upon graduation
Until recently, the rules of the game were simple: post your resume or CV on a host of jobsites and recruiters would come looking for you. But the game has changed and is continuing to evolve, according to recruiters at MRINetwork, one of the world’s largest search and recruitment organizations.
Tony McKinnon, president of MRINetwork said:
"Social media sites have become increasingly important platforms for finding jobs by facilitating connections and demonstrating the achievements and interests of job seekers. But capturing the attention of prospective employers and recruiters - who have made the sites a routine part of their searches - has also become more difficult because of the overwhelming amount of information available."
He offers several useful tips to adapt job seekers' messages so they are more likely to 'go viral':
  1. Keep it simple. Text should be pruned to a core message and always stick to the point. Don't leave room for misinterpretation. McKinnon advises that any superfluous or flowery language and clever wordplay should be removed. "Remember, too, that your audience may include many for whom English is a second language." But, he cautions, brevity should not come at the expense of clarity. People should be able to tell:
    • what your message is
    • why it is important
    • why it affects them personally, and
    • what they should do about it
  2. Tailor the message to your audience's needs. The people you want to reach need to see what's in it for them. McKinnon says "Relate to them by tying your story to what drives them. Make it about them and what they should do about it." He suggests the use of pronouns such as 'you', 'your', 'our' and 'ours'.
  3. Consider your timing. Your message could be drowned out if you post at a time when many others do the same. You may get noticed more if you post at an earlier or later time, even if there are fewer people reading their online sources then. Experiment with different timeslots.
  4. Be selective in choosing your channels. The three most popular channels are Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn but influential people may be looking at other channels as well such as:
    • Blogs: try blogsearch.google.com, technorati.com, twingly.com, and make friends with key bloggers and try some cross-posting.
    • Groups: with millions of groups a little browsing should locate the most popular ones to join. McKinnon also suggest joining suitable groups on Facebook and LinkedIn where you can post messages and develop a following.
  5. Craft an interesting story. McKinnon says that, fundamentally, people care about people. WWe all seek connections, so don't just push a bunch of isolated facts. Craft a story and keep spinning it as you send out your messages. Not all your content has to be tied to one single thread, but weaving it into many of your posts will give readers continuity and help keep them coming back for more."
  6. Push to get the word out. McKinnon observes that it is hard to predict what might go viral and get noticed.He recommends enlist the help of friends, colleagues, and other people in your network. Use every method you can think of, for example: turning your message into a blog post on your own blog, or asking other bloggers to post it or publish a link to it on their blogs. Ask your Twitter followers to re-tweet it. Post it on friends' Facebook walls and ask them to share it with their friends. Post on LinkedIn Groups and send a message to your LinkedIn network to post it as a status update.
McKinnon concludes:
"As recruiters, we know how difficult it is for job seekers to capture the attention of the people who can help them the most. But if you plan your approach, focus your content, pick your medium, and involve your friends, you can significantly increase your chances of getting through the noise."

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