Using Social Media in Your Job Search

As you probably know, each week I reach out to our recruiters at VMware to provide me with a tip to share with our communities. This week’s #careertip is brought to you by another brilliant VMware staffing professional, Kylie Tobin. Kylie is a recruiter in Cork, Ireland:

“My career tip is how to enhance your use of social media. It has never been more important to create a strong, professional online presence. More and more employers are using social media to find potential candidates. Make sure your profile is up to date specifically LinkedIn, Google +, Facebook, Twitter etc. On these sites highlight your career-oriented professional self, get recommendations from colleagues, start discussions in relevant groups, Be Active!  and provide links to these on your CV/resume.

Use social media sites to help you in your job search. It is important to have the right key words on your profile this will increase your position in searches (search yourself using key words that a recruiter may use and see where you come up in a search) check your spelling and presentation, have your contact details clearly visible, update your education, qualifications and skills, expand your network connect with people whom you worked with previously (they could be working in your preferred company now), and have a nice picture!

Once you have identified target companies connect with people in these companies especially with those you are interviewing with. Research the company and the people. Use this knowledge in your cover letter or the interview. If you have something in common with the interviewer then use this. I recently interviewed a candidate who knew I had been in Australia and I was really impressed he had done his research.  It can be a great way to make an interviewer remember you!

Remember if it is on the internet then potential employers will see it, if you don’t want people to see it then don’t post it or make sure to take the time to set up your privacy settings appropriately on Facebook and Google+ .”

Follow  Kylie on: 

Linkedin: The Old Online Professional Networking Model?

I had an interesting conversation about Linkedin on Twitter today when I saw someone in my Twitter feed post that they closed their Linkedin account. I was  a bit shocked to see that and knowing the kind of money companies spend to advertise and source this network for talent, mine being one of them, I was curious enough to probe further as to what these IT professionals didn’t like about it and what other social media they were using for professional networking.

reillyusa

reillyusa: RT @rjweeks70: Closed my LinkedIn account. What a colossal waste of time that was over the years.

willstaneywillstaney: @rjweeks70@reillyusa Would love to know why you feel Linkedin is a waste of time? Companies spend A LOT of money to find talent there.

rjweeks70rjweeks70: @willstaney@reillyusa The interface is awful. There’s no actual useful information there, just regurgitated twitter streams.

willstaneywillstaney: @rjweeks70 That’s good feedback, thanks. Do you find other social networks more effective? Which ones? cc: @reillyusa

rjweeks70rjweeks70: @willstaney@reillyusa The social network we’re using is remarkably effective. I’ve learned more from Twitter in a year than LinkedIn in 6.

reillyusareillyusa: @willstaney@rjweeks70 I would argue, weakly perhaps, that the # of inbound “connect with me” emails I get from ppl I don’t know is the prob

reillyusa

reillyusa: @willstaney@rjweeks70 I don’t categorize LinkedIn as social, it’s professional.

rjweeks70rjweeks70: @reillyusa@willstaney Agreed, the number of folks who want to connect without any actual previous connection is also a problem.

rjweeks70

rjweeks70: @reillyusa@willstaney For instance, I wouldn’t add either of you on LinkedIn based on this twitter conversation, but other people will.

 

This raises a lot of questions. Obviously, there are a lot of choices out there for social networks now (Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Quora, Google+, etc etc) and that’s A LOT to manage. Maybe a shift is happening. Are we beginning to see people have social networking site overload, forced to start weeding out the networks they feel less essential to focus on the ones they do? Christian Reilly (@reillyusa) said he didn’t even consider Linkedin a social network! Is that assuming we do not socialize when we are being professional? Are we not being professional when we socialize?

Are social networks becoming more of a preference choice? It’s almost impossible for a person to be fully active on all of them. So like car brands or cell phone carriers…they are going to have to chose the few that they like the best to get the most value out of them. None of them will have “everyone” so is it becoming even more essential for recruiters and companies to have a presence on many to be able to engage and find talent they’re looking for? I think so.

Will Google+ be the everything network that allows you to manage all of your life online in one place yet keep your different social groups separate but equal thus eliminating a need for separate “professional networks?” That remains to be seen but I will tell you that Google+, especially as it is now, with mostly early adopters and tech professionals on there is a tech recruiters dream pool!

With professional networks like Branchout, that leverages “personal” social networks like Facebook a better place for career growth? (Honestly, who’s more likely to recommend you for a job, your buddy from college or that random person you connected to or met at a conference on Linkedin?) Will Branchout eventually break away from their dependence on Facebook and offer a stand alone site that is compatible and pulls social profile data via applications within MANY social networks? Facebook & Google+? That seems like a better business model than Linkedin!

I’ve been seeing a lot of headlines lately that reflect that there are an overload of choices of social networks for advancing your career . I’m beginning to wonder if specifically career focused social networks are less appealing and/or are less effective because your career is one of many aspects of your life…not a completely seperate one. Also, it’s all just becoming too much to manage, right? People want at most a couple of networks that allow them to connect and share with both their personal and professional contacts. I think our personal and professional lives merge more than people believe are willing to admit.

So, how does Linkedin justify their stock price and being such a costly service to employers when there are so many FREE social networks like Twitter, Facebook, Google+ out there that could be just as effective for recruiting?

Some interesting reads related to this:

Could Google+ Be the Best Social Network for Your Career?

Facebook vs. Twitter vs. LinkedIn vs. Google+

More Employers Using Social Media to Hunt for Talent

Facebook Apps BranchOut and BeKnown Take on LinkedIn

Multiple Social Networks: The Places for Recruiters to Be

Is the CV dead?

 

What do you think? Comment below and lets talk.

BranchOut is No Longer “Friends Only”

Not even a month ago I posted a blog called BranchOut: The Professional Network on Facebook and a New Recruiting Tool? and I can say to you now–you can remove the question mark!

BranchOut just soft released a new connections feature allowing users to connect with people outside their Facebook network and share work history and education information with other Branchout users–even if your not Facebook friends. That makes this an even better tool for recruiters to connect with both passive and active candidates without worrying about ‘getting too personal’.
Rick Marini, CEO of BranchOut, told Recruiter.com,
“BranchOut heard the requests from recruiters that wanted a way to connect with other professionals within Facebook, in a safe and secure way, and I am very excited to announce the launch of BranchOut Connections. BranchOut members can now share their work history, education and skills data with others members, without becoming Facebook friends.  This is an important step for BranchOut to provide robust career networking functionality within Facebook.”

In my previous post I reflected on the reluctance of many recruiters to connect with job seekers on Facebook saying, “Recruiters have been really slow to begin utilizing Facebook as a recruiting tool because they are afraid of mixing business with personal life”. While I went on to stress that the lines between business and personal in the web 2.0 world is becoming more blended and recruiters should be more open to utilizing Facebook’s larger network to connect, this was a real obstacle that Branchout was facing. Even if recruiters wanted to connect with candidates…candidates may be afraid of connecting with them for those same reasons.

On Linkedin, professionals don’t think twice about connecting with colleagues or recruiters because there are no pictures tagged of you from that party last Saturday and your mom isn’t posting embarrassing comments on your wall that could potentially seen by a potential employer. Facebook tends to be a place for your personal contacts outside of work [You can set individual privacy settings for specific groups of connections or individuals you are connected to on Facebook but most people don’t take the time do it (only 1 in 5 users even take advantage of this feature) and it can be quite cumbersome to maintain.]

The post by Recruiter.com put’s it very well…

Recruiters always want to leverage the hundreds of millions of user profiles on Facebook. However, recruiters often find that recruiting on Facebook is like trying to fix a muffler with a toothbrush. BranchOut makes Facebook the right tool for recruiting and professional connection. BranchOut essentially overlays a professional platform on top of Facebook – adding user data fields for work history and professional description. It turns your existing Facebook friend network into a Linkedin-esque  professional network for work related discovery.

However, because BranchOut leveraged the Facebook friend mechanism as the exclusive method of connection, recruiters were still left in a bind. Users were beholden to expansion of their network through Facebook friending – which to many is as intimate of an experience as inviting someone into your home.

BranchOut plans to launch more fully developed recruitment services in the near future, but now may be the time to start connecting. The early super connectors in any social network become the network hubs of the future.

Do you think this new feature will make BranchOut an even more viable competitor to Linkedin? If you’re a recruiter, I’d love to hear what you think about this new feature and if you plan to or currently use Branchout. Please comment below.

BranchOut: The Professional Network on Facebook and a New Recruiting Tool?

BranchOut, the fast growing professional network on Facebook is beginning to gain some traction but could it become a threat for Linkedin? They recently made it even easier to create a full resume on their site by syncing your Linkedin profile. I’ve been introducing this application to a lot of people in my Facebook and Twitter networks and so far the reaction has been very possitive. I just got a tweet back from one colleague that just joined it 30 min ago that said:

jakefrick: @willstaney 10 minutes later, i don’t know if i’ll check my linked in ever again

Of course, he was being sarcastic but there could be some truth to this. The average Linkedin user spends 15min a month on the site. If you’re a recruiter trying to send a message to someone on Linkedin about a job your trying to fill within a month…I hope you sent it during that 15 mins. Facebook users (almost 600 million strong) spend an average of 50 minutes on Facebook….a day!! You are much more likely to get a quicker response and more updated information on a social network that users spend that much time on.

BranchOut describes their solution like this:

BranchOut helps you expand your career network to include absolutely everyone you know on Facebook. It’s an incredibly powerful tool — but also a lot of fun to explore.

Every time a Facebook friend joins BranchOut, you see where they used to work, where they work now, and where their friends work. You’d be surprised how many connections you have at companies you’ve always wanted to work at — all through friends of friends. If you’re looking for your dream job, these connections can open the door.

Not only that, you can help your friends get the jobs they want and make yourself look good while you do it. Have an open position you need to fill with the perfect candidate? Post it to our job board and take the guesswork out of hiring. Your friends can recommend people they know and trust.

I’ve been researching this app a lot and there is a lot of buzz in the recruiting industry around it. I think there is a real benefit here. Think about the people who are most likely to refer you to a job. It’s not that guy who gave you a business card at a conference that one time that you connected with on Linkedin. It’s that friend you went to college with, your uncle in the banking industry,  or your old friend from highschool. People who can really vouch for you and are comfortable really reaching out to their network for you to help you land that job.  Your personal network. With the amount of users on Facebook this is a huge untapped resource for networking with people to help you find jobs at companies your friends or mutual friends work at. I was surprised I had 5,000+ PERSONAL connections at companies like Facebook, Google, Apple, VMware and other great companies to work for!

Recruiters have been really slow to begin utilizing Facebook as a recruiting tool because they are afraid of mixing business with personal life. Well, I say to that: In this day of age and in the generation to proceed us…there won’t be that much distinction between worklife and personal life. I don’t know why we pretend there is now! You commonly become friends with people you work with or end up working with friends. I wouldn’t post ANYTHING online that I wouldn’t feel comfortable with my boss seeing (or my mother for that fact…though she’s my Facebook friend too. And why not?). Anything you post on the internet runs the risk of being public or coming back to bite you so just use common sense.

Now think about it from a recruiting stand point. Companies spend big money on recruiter licenses to be able to search for and send messages to users on Linkedin. On Facebook…you can message just about anyone you want whether your friends or not (unless they turned that privacy feature on) for FREE. The facebook social graph is so much more complex because of it’s sure size that 6 degrees of separation works even better than on a smaller network like Linkedin.

As far as BrachOut goes, though, I think Linkedin really might have dropped the ball on this one. For years I’ve been wondering when a Facebook app for Linkedin would come out.  A colleague of mine, Simon Salt, Founder and CEO of Incslingers wrote a blog about this. Do you think Linkedin missed the boat by not integrating with Facebook sooner? It was bound to happen sooner or later.

Check it out here:

Has LinkedIn missed the boat now we have BranchOut?

So, what do you think? Will BranchOut end up being a major competitor for Linkedin? Will Linkedin surprise us with an integration with Facebook much like they did with Twitter? Comment below.