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Your Job Search, Your Computer Screen, and Social Media

July 6th, 2012

You’re on the job market and you don’t want to stay here long. So you’re using every tool at your disposal to find your way back into the workforce as quickly as possible. You’re making appointments with each of your contacts to ask for advice, you’re scanning job boards daily, and you’re following up on every conversation that might lead you to suitable employment. You’ve contacted your old bosses, your favorite professors, and (if you’re a new graduate), your friend’s parents. And you’re doing whatever you can to make the most of your internet resources, including social media. But before you rely too much on social media tools to advance your career, stop and think.

Social media can provide a great way to round out your job search, and it can definitely help you reach out to contacts you haven’t heard from in a while. But can Facebook and Twitter really provide a magic formula for instant job success?

Social Media and Your Job Search

Every day, we hear from job seekers (often new graduates and young people) who wonder why Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn aren’t launching their careers into the stratosphere. “I posted a profile,” they tell us, “but it doesn’t seem to be working.”

Our answer: Posting a social media profile probably won’t hurt your chances of success. But when it comes to the job search process, passivity, hope, and excessive time spent in front of a screen won’t get you where you need to be. Instead, post a profile and get quickly back into the real world. Pick up the phone and actively reach out to anyone you know who might be able to help you. Arrange “informational interviews”, or short meetings in which you sit down with your contacts and find out what they would do and who they would call if they were in your shoes.

In the meantime, use the hours between your meetings to search for open positions that match your qualifications and skills. When you find these positions, take decisive action. Research the companies behind these postings, tailor your cover letter directly to specific contacts at these firms, and polish your resume until it shines.

Each day when you wake up, develop a plan of attack that’s at least 80 percent action and no more than 20 percent social media and hopeful waiting. Put your shyness aside, be bold, go forth, and get away from your screen. Social media has its place, but if you make Facebook the cornerstone of your job search process, you may be engaged in the process for a very long time.

For specific tips and personal guidance, contact your local recruiting company in Fairfield County  at Merritt Staffing. We have the experience and resources you need to stand up to the challenges of your job search.

Mobile Job Apps: The Future of the Job Search Process

April 6th, 2012

You can’t carry your computer around with you all day, but your job search can and should involve resources you can access from anywhere. And for almost every imaginable aspect of your job search process, there’s an app. Some of these apps are vital research tools, and some just make the search process more convenient. Some are free, and others can cost 10 dollars or more to download. While you’re looking for work, it may be a good idea to focus on apps that are free, like the ones discussed here.

As you consider adding each of these apps to your job search tool box, try to stay focused on your long term goals and don’t get distracted. Your mobile apps should be supporting your search process, not getting in your way or taking up valuable time that you’d otherwise be spending in face-to-face meetings with your contacts. With that in mind, consider downloading free resources like these:

Mobile versions of job boards and networking sites

Monster.com, Careerbuilder, Indeed.com, and several other popular, widely-used job boards are now offering mobile versions of their job search tools for job seekers on the go. LinkedIn and Facebook are also available anywhere; keep them with you throughout the day if your job hunt relies on your social network. Just download them to your iPhone or Android phone for free.

Twitter and social media dashboards

Twitter can also be easily downloaded to your mobile device, and so can Tweetdeck and Hootsuite, which can help you monitor multiple social media feeds at the same time.

Apps that can help you manage contacts and arrange in-person meetings

Lunchmeet, which is free for the iPhone, can help you arrange meetings with potential employers or helpful contacts while on the go. Simply enter your current location and tell the app who you’re planning to meet (a friend? A former boss? A colleague or classmate?) The app will scan the area and help you find a suitable dining venue. If you’d like to go out for lunch but haven’t made specific plans with anyone, the app can connect you to other job seekers in the immediate area who might want to meet up, exchange contact information and compare notes. You can access the Lunchmeet tool through your LinkedIn account.

Some apps like the Blackberry Card Reader (which is not free at $9.99) can scan the business cards that you collect at lunches and networking events and then transfer that information to your contacts list.

Apps for document management

Job seekers often need to access important documents, spreadsheets and Word files while they’re out and about. Try Documents to Go, a free Android app that can help you store your vital job search materials in the cloud and access them from the anywhere. With this app in place, your resume, biographical info, spreadsheets and presentation materials are always just a click away.

For more information about mobile apps and other helpful job search tools, contact a staffing company in CT at Merritt Staffing and make an appointment with one of our staffing experts.

The Recruiting Process: Making the Most of Social Media

March 16th, 2012

Before the modern digital age, recruiting efforts were focused on cultivating a workplace brand and shaping job postings around a target audience. Employers followed a path to success by simply identifying a specific candidate market and then establishing a workplace culture around that market. This is still a foolproof method for attracting the attention of well-matched candidates, but the resources available to recruiters are changing rapidly in the age of social media. Are your recruiters making the most of these new tools?

 

Using Social Media to Identify Your Target Audience

 

Before you put effort into expanding your online presence and shaping your workplace brand identity, you’ll need to make some decisions about the candidates you’d like to attract. Who exactly are you pursuing? Are your ideal candidates young people or mid-career professionals? Are they funny or serious? Relaxed or driven? Competitive or team players? What are their professional and personal goals? And what online resources do they rely on during the job search process?

 

Your social media campaign will ideally include a list of social media profiles, an active blog, and the inclusion of some video and multimedia content on your website. You’ll want to direct these brand builders to the right candidate population.

 

Using Social Media to Build Your Workplace Brand

 

Once you’ve isolated your target audience, you’ll need to take active steps to get in front of these candidates with brand identifiers that set you apart from competing employers. A successful workplace brand starts with a strong, consistent, and functional culture. It’s a hard to portray your workplace as fun and relaxed if the opposite is true. Keep an eye on your culture and maintain pressure in a positive direction. Then use your social media resources to present an image of your workplace that reflects your chosen brand.

 

  1. Start an active social media feed for each open position. Teams or departments with open positions should have Facebook or Twitter feeds that are updated on a regular basis in a tone consistent with your brand.

 

  1. Each open position should also have a blog. This is less expensive and complex that it sounds. A simple blog can be started in minutes and maintained for free through Blogger or WordPress, and a link to the blog can be embedded in job postings, on the company website, and within social media profiles.

 

  1. Keep blogs and profiles active with content like 1) day-in-the-life postings illustrating your company culture, 2) short videos of the hiring manager discussing the position, the workplace, and her own background, and 3) additional information about the company, industry news, and links to similar open positions.

 

For additional guidance with the recruiting process, contact a staffing company in Connecticut at Merritt Staffing and arrange a personal consultation.

 

 

How Your Social Media Profiles Can Help You Land a Job (or Lose One)

December 2nd, 2011

For the last five years or so, there’s been plenty of buzz about social media and its potential seismic impact on every aspect of our lives. Some marketers naturally exaggerate the influence of Facebook and Twitter, because it stimulates businesses competition for social media advertising space. But can social sites really make or break your job prospects? Let’s take a closer look.

Professional networking sites like LinkedIn can certainly help you – as well as your associates and allies—when it comes to passing names along to companies and people who are hiring. If your friend knows a hiring manager and she scribbles your name and phone number on a cocktail napkin for him, that’s networking. But if she can simply introduce the two of you on LinkedIn, he’ll be able to review your profile and all of your qualifications in a professional setting at a single glance. That’s super networking.

Facebook profiles and twitter feeds may also have impact on your job search, since they can allow you to broadcast your needs to a large audience of friends who may be able to help you. They may have a negative impact as well, since some hiring managers have been known to skim Facebook and Twitter profiles as part of their selection process. Just in case, it’s a good idea to make sure your privacy settings are well controlled, so potential employers can only see text and images that cast you in a professional light.

It’s a mistake to conduct your entire job search via the internet and expect positive, immediate results. The most valuable networking happens in real life, and it begins when you pick up the phone and arrange meetings with people who can help you. Don’t overestimate the power of any social networking site, and certainly don’t sit back and expect your profile to find a job for you. In spite of the buzz, LinkedIn usage is by no means universal, and Facebook may be popular, but it’s not where busy professionals spend most of their time.

There’s a chance your profile could harm your prospects, but the dangers of social media, as well as the benefits, may be somewhat overblown. Examining Facebook profiles during the job selection process is a questionable and controversial move that most reputable employers would rather avoid.

Want help with making your social media profile shine? Contact a staffing company in Connecticut at Merritt Staffing for more information.

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