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Dear Bev: How Should I Use Social Networking In My Job Search?

Creating a strong online presence is key to a successful job search in the digital media industry. Not only is social media an integral tool for recruiters to find viable candidates, but it's also a great way to show an employer that you're well connected and versed in the space.

A recent Career Development event held by Advertising Women of New York addressed this subject for job seekers and media executives looking to build a professional reputation online. I gathered a few new pointers from fellow recruiter, Regina Angeles.

LinkedIn
You probably have an account on this site already, but so do 65 million other members. So how will you be found in the sea of profiles? Keywords.

When searching for candidates, recruiters and employers plug relevant keywords into LinkedIn's search function and develop leads for potential candidates. If you're profile isn't chock full of all the important words that describe who you are and what you do, you'll probably get lost in the shuffle. Think about what value you can add to an organization or department. Is it revenue generation? Team leadership? What are your key skill sets? Sponsorship sales? Cross-platform marketing? Get specific with your keywords and experiences and you'll be on your way to optimizing your profile.

Another way to increase your visibility on this network is by getting your professional network to recommend you. With the click of a button, you can request a brief recommendation from your colleagues and clients. They serve as a quick reference guide for contacts in the industry and how well-respected you are. Also, having three or more recommendations makes you three-times as likely to pop up in search results. Take the time to request them; it's worth it.

Twitter
You've heard about the importance of this social network a million times. Still struggling with how exactly it pertains to you? You're not alone. But if you're a job seeker, there are more than a few tangible ways that Twitter can help. Don't be afraid to make an account and learn the ropes.

Angeles, multicultural recruiter and CEO of TALENT2050, offered great Twitter tips, like the new site www.tweetajob.com. Sign up to receive relevant job postings sent to your Twitter feed. Likewise, most big job boards have twitter accounts that you can follow to make your twitter feed a veritable real time feed of all new opportunities you might want.

Job Boards vs. Social Networks

Speaking of job boards, don't forget about these tools as well. But dig deeper than Monster and CareerBuilder, there are a multitude of more focused niche sites (Angeles recommended IvyExec and Doostang.) But don't just rely on seeking jobs, start seeking employers.

This is a point I make to candidates repeatedly and one that Angeles mentioned, too. Use sites like Linkedin to research companies rather than just positions. Find out about the kinds of companies you want to work for and use your professional network to find someone there to connect with. This is where the networking really comes into play.

Use LinkedIn and even Facebook to network as you would in the real world. Send people messages rather than passing a business card. Reach out to see if they can provide you with a helping hand. Getting your foot in the door is a lot more likely with a personal connection, while responding to a job posting on one of the big job boards rarely produces results.

Don't Wait to Be Found

So you signed up for Facebook and LinkedIn and you made your first tweet. Why aren't recruiters knocking down your door? You need to engage with social communities, not just become a stagnant member. Actively using these tools is key to making them work for you. Update your status on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter with a link to an interesting article. Start speaking to your network and they'll speak back.

Angeles wisely emphasized knowing your audience within your social networks. Are you looking to find a job in digital media? Show that you know the space by sharing relevant information about news in the industry. Looking for consulting clients? Speak to that audience by establishing yourself as an expert in your field. Share valuable industry information, perhaps a blog post you wrote on new industry trends. (Hint: blogging is another great way to engage in social media. There are plenty of free sites to help you get started: wordpress.com, typepad.com, and blogger.com are just a few.)

Another great tip Angeles provided: Link your social media networks all together with a service like HootSuite. Update your status or post a link on one site and it will push the update to all of them, saving you time and making social networking more manageable for a busy schedule.

AWNY will be holding 2 more events on Career Development. Check out www.AWNY.org for more information.
Find out more about improving your social media presence at www.dearbev.com/services

Tags: employment
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