By Tara Lane, Staff Writer
Finding a job in a down economy can seem overwhelming, endless and discouraging. As opposed to the last major economic downturn, job seekers can tap into peer and employment networks using social media. Not only can one expand their search throughout the country, it’s also easy, fun and effective.
Facebook doesn’t have to be just for uploading photos and taking quizzes—it can be a valuable asset to the job search for any age group. Facebook’s largest area of growth has been with those ages 35 and above, many of whom have valuable networking connections. Posting a link to a portfolio or resume is a good place to start, as well as sending out a message to those friends who may be able to provide help in your search.
LinkedIn is another growing network that provides and unique and powerful way to network and search for jobs. It is a professional network where users can be recommended by their colleagues and peers–a very important aspect in any job search. Many influential people are members of the network, and can play a big part in the job hunt, as long as it’s done right. The helpful “Answers” section allows professionals from all areas and industries to weigh-in questions asked by other users. This can be especially useful to someone looking for suggestions about networking or who are looking for insight into their field of work. Another helpful tool on LinkedIn are groups, which allows users to connect to an even wider audience and network with others as well.
Innovative Job Sites
Monster, Career Builder and Hot Jobs may provide a few leads, but they don’t provide many options beyond the ability to e-mailing a resume to some unknown person. In this climate, entrepreneurs have created and developed new job search and career networks that benefit frustrated job seekers at the same time. Sites such as CareeRealism, Career Rocketeer, Come Recommended, and Brazen Careerist provide a 2-in-1 option for career minded individuals: a unique social networking opportunity combined with powerful tools for the job search.
CareeRealism offers job seekers an opportunity to have their resumes and cover letters reviewed to find areas of improvement. Brazen Careerist, one of the hottest career networks on the rise, offers a unique blog network of people who were once in the same position. Come Recommended challenges applicants to seek recommendations from former colleagues and employers before gaining full access to the site as way to screen applicants, but also to motivate applicants to get a head start on the job hunt. Employers have access to these sites as well, so they can browse through a pool of potential applicants whom they know are serious about the process and their futures.
More and more companies are turning to Twitter as a way to get the word out about job opportunities. Not only does it save them time and money, it expands the applicant pool by thousands. Mashable recently posted a list of companies actively advertising job opportunities, as well as advice on how to make your Twitter profile job-hunt friendly. Just as on Facebook, letting people know you’re looking for a job can have a great outcome. Someone can simply “re-tweet” your message, giving you more exposure in just a few seconds. One of the best ways to network on Twitter is to follow influential people in your field and communicate with them through the service. Many of these influencers also post links to helpful articles about the career field, advice on branding yourself for the search, and even leads to the jobs themselves.
With social media, you can still be visible without being physically there, by putting yourself out there and getting the attention you need. New technologies have given job seekers young and old a great opportunity for networking and job hunting beyond the classifieds. Leveraging these technologies to your advantage is key for making them work for you. Although it can be a long road, it is almost always worth it.
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