Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and blogs are all interactive tools that propel us into a new virtual world of permanent happy hour. A form of networking from which job seekers can benefit. These free tools open a wide window to reveal who you are and what you do. They allow you to:
- Assert your skills and experience;
- Reveal your personality, interests and values;
- Extend your personal and professional networks;
- Share with others ;
- Ask for recommendations and follow job threads.
Zooming in on these social networks
Of course, one can wonder if these networks all have the same value. The answer is: not necessarily. But they are all useful in terms of job hunting.
Facebook, one of the most famous networks, allows you to connect with friends and family. Every user can share information, links, photos and videos.
LinkedIn is the top professional network out there. It’s a kind of online resume that allows potential employers to follow your journey. This “business card” is also used to optimize your professional relationships network through your contacts’contacts.
In terms of professional networking, Twitter follows LinkedIn, Twitter takes the form of a micro-blog or of an exchange of web links relevant to your area of expertise.
Finallly, blogs can help you position yourself as an expert in your field. If writing is not your cup of tea, you can create a video blog, commonly known as a vlog, or even a photo blog to share your portfolio. It’s very useful for graphic designers and photographers.
Get to know this virtual universe
If you’re not yet familiar with social networks, Facebook is probably the easiest place to start. Otherwise, the best way to learn about these virtual tools is to go as an observer.
Create an account, complete your profile and open your eyes! You don’t have to step into the virtual traffic by posting comments right away. All you need is the willingness to learn without pressure. Follow your own pace and start with the network with which you are most comfortable.
Furthermore, the Internet provides a lot of information on social networks’ usage and running, as well as about their written and unwritten rules. YouTube even offers them in video format.
Besides, do not see these tools as mountains to climb. Choose an approach that suits you and meets your interests and the time and energy you want to spend on it.
A good starting strategy is to choose one or two networks where you’ll be active. That’s better than being everywhere but not very active. Obviously, fill out your profile carefully by putting forward your experiences, skills, strengths and accomplishments that could attract recruiters.
Be transparent and coherent with yourself. Tell yourself that the results are not instantaneous. Over time, your presence on the various networks will come together. The result: you will be seen and gain in credibility.
If you have a Facebook page, don’t hesitate to advertise that you’re job hunting. All your friends become gateways to potential employers, which is a great source for opportunities! Another tip: look for the pages of employers for whom you want to work and click on "Like". You can also write on their wall to offer your services or add a link to your LinkedIn profile.
With LinkedIn, you can even get recommendations from the contacts who appreciate the quality of your work. Another feature allows you to comment on your achievements to show your strengths and abilities.
On Twitter, a feature allows you to follow a thread of jobs in your field. You can refine your search and follow a thread by adding the # symbol to a key word, for example #marketing.
You choose to blog? This media is ideal to share your ideas and opinions, or suggest interesting links on a topic related to your specialty. Each blog entry is an opportunity to showcase your skills and personality in the eyes of a potential employer.
As much as you are your own ambassador through your actions in real life, in the virtual world, your digital reputation - or e-reputation - is built over all the traces you left by your comments, articles and tweets. So keep in mind that words go away but writings remain.
The proper use of online social networks requires that you worry about the image you are projecting. You need to develop an awareness of the scope of these networks, because these tools can undoubtedly work for or against you. You must always use them wisely, so use your judgment.
In other words, take care of your e-reputation by dosing your words and keeping your goals in mind. Everything you post must support who you are, so that potential employers or your friends can see you evolve in a particular company. Finally, always maintain a balance between personal and professional. In social networks, especially in virtual ones, personal comments help humanize an otherwise random user. And in the end, with equal skills, personality and values will always tip the balance.
In collaboration with Annie Boutet, writer.