Social networking media enhances your job search

<font size=1>Editor’s note: This is the third article in a series focusing on the job-search and application process. </font size>

The days of simply answering a help wanted ad in the newspaper with a faceless resume to find a new job are long gone. And e-mailing your information to a Web site isn’t enough anymore, either.

To land a job in today’s market, you’ve got to meet people, both in person and through social media sites on the Internet.

“Clearly, there is a need to network for work these days,” said Deb Titus, managing director of Dale Carnegie Training in New Hampshire. “There is a lot of activity in people being asked to be introduced to another.”

According to Allen Voivod of Gilford Web content strategies firm Epiphanies Inc., social networking is fast becoming the primary way people are finding jobs.

“Today, there are some jobs where this is a necessity, others, less so, but it is where the trend is going,” he said.

Voivod said the terms “social media,” “social marketing,” and “social networking” are often used interchangeably, but do have differences.

He said social media is the channel you’re putting information into, such as a blog, microblog like Twitter, or video on YouTube. Social marketing is the act of marketing using social networking tools, he said.

“Networking specifically gets people together to connect and converse. ‘Social,’ in terms of the Web, means it’s interactive,” he said.

Voivod also said there is a distinction between professional, personal and private information in social networking.

“Professional sites or content is mainly job-related information. Personal is more friendly in nature, for example, discussing the latest Red Sox game. Private is what happened at your last doctor visit.”

Most experts recommend keeping your professional life on a site like LinkedIn, or possibly Twitter. Information that is deeply personal — photos from your family picnic, your raves about a new pair of shoes — should be kept separate on another site, such as Facebook.

Using a social networking site such as LinkedIn as a springboard to discussions on topics you’re well versed in is an excellent way of communicating to potential employers your competence.

“Hiring managers may be part of that online discussion. As you pose questions and comments, they may think, ‘Wow, look at that person,’” said Titus. “Participate and be visible. Social networking sites give you an opportunity to demonstrate how active you are in your thinking.”

Build up contacts

Voivod also suggested that starting a professional or business-related blog is a great activity to begin when you’re looking for a job. Sites such as WordPress, Blogger and the new NHBR Network are among the many that offer free blogging tools.

“It’s all about creating that personal brand. Take the steps to act how you want to be viewed. Create an online presence that supports that,” he said. “Put out information that you are passionate about and want the world to see. This also gives your network the tools to promote you. Hiring managers today are looking to hire the personal brand as well as the person.”

Voivod said it was also important to completely fill out your profiles on professional sites.

“And write your profile with an eye toward the jobs you’re looking for, just like you do your resume,” he added.

And as obvious and simple as it may sound, let your network know that you’re looking and what kinds of positions you’re interested in.

“You may want to build up and refresh your network or contacts,” he said.

But the broad reach social networking sites have across the Internet can be a pitfall if you’re not careful. In other words, be courteous and professional at all times when posting comments.

Titus said to ask yourself what you want people saying behind your back.

“Come up with your list, and make every action supportive of what you want those people to say about you,” said Titus. “Be sure to never criticize, condemn or complain. And don’t sound desperate.”

That advice also goes for blogs and personal pages like Facebook as well as more professional sites.

For those who currently hold positions but are looking for another job, Voivod said to “tread cautiously” when signaling such information on social networking site. In fact, he said, take the conversation off-line.

“Share this information privately, or contact your network by phone or in person,” he recommended.

Cindy Kibbe can be reached at