How Social Media Can Help Job Seekers Shine Bright Like a Diamond

Everyone has been affected by the downturn of the economy and its negative effect on the job market. Now, more than ever, it's essential to be able to stand out in a crowd when it comes to competing for a job position. It's not uncommon nowadays to hear about people with masters degrees and Ph.D.'s who are unemployed and desperate to land a job, even one for which they are entirely overqualified. You are, literally, one in a million applying for that particular job, so you need to pull out all the stops in order to even land an interview. That's where social media comes into play -- it helps you get recognized, noticed, and hired!

People Want to Do Business with People They Know, Like, and Trust

Having a stand-out online presence is a must in today's job market. Nowadays, recruiters and employers are turning to social media to find qualified candidates. They want to know you before they hire you ... or better yet, before they interview you.

For example, two candidates are being considered for a position in the IT department. Both candidates have stellar resumes and are well qualified for the position; however, one candidate has a strong online presence and a reputable IT blog with a vast following. Undoubtedly, the hiring manager will notice the applicant with the admirable online reputation because he/she has established credibility and merit through his/her expertise in posts, comments, and following.

Just as a business needs to market itself to bring in new customers and gain credibility in the market, job seekers must learn the importance of marketing themselves effectively to potential employers in order to land an interview and win the job. Here are a few ways to help you get noticed online.

Say It Loud, "I'm Qualified and I'm Proud!"

There are several social media sites for you to boast about yourself and your qualifications, the most prevalent in the professional arena being LinkedIn, a social site dedicated to effectively linking digital resumes with online networking capabilities. Update your social profiles so that they all reflect the most current professional information. Testimonials and Endorsements on LinkedIn are great ways to promote your skills and proven track record in your industry. Occasionally, recruiters use LinkedIn as a resource to check references if the applicant has any solid testimonials from previous employers and/or clients. Never underestimate the value of another person vouching for you and validating your worth in the professional world.

Be Consistent

Ensure that your professional experience is updated and consistent across all social media channels. You don't want a recruiter or hiring manager to come across a social site stating that you're still employed with XYZ Corporation while another site indicates that you are self-employed. Back to my example of a candidate needing to market him/herself effectively just as a business would market its brand to its target audience(s): you are your brand and you must market your "brand" well to potential employers in order to get noticed and hired. Having the same photo on all profiles is also a great way to keep your "brand" uniform so that there is no question whether or not a profile is yours or not. Lastly, it is helpful to have updated contact information online as well. You don't want to confuse the recruiter or lead him/her to believe that the "sexychick69@mail.com" email address listed on one of your profiles is the best form of contact. You want to get noticed for the right reasons, not the wrong.

Get Noticed. Get Identified.

There is a new and promising social site, called Identified, that "takes social media and makes sense of it in a professional context." Specifically, the technology uses social data to produce information that is beneficial to the recruiting process. Therefore, what you post now can potentially positively or negatively affect your chances of being hired in the future. (Read more on how social media can get you fired in It's All Fun and Games Until Someone Gets Fired!")

Identified can be a useful tool for recruiters to use during their search for suitable employees, because it takes the guesswork out of hiring a complete stranger who looks good on paper. Another important fact to consider is that what people post online over time is, typically, what you will expect of them as an employee. So, if a company finds that the data collected on Identified tells the story of a person that regularly complains online about life and his/her problems, then an employer can probably expect this candidate to exhibit similar behavior towards work as well. Be cautious of how you portray yourself online, because services like Identified will compile the good, the bad, and the ugly -- and possibly send it to your future employer.

Pearls of Wisdom

"Find out what you like doing best and get someone to pay you for doing it." -Katherine Whitehorn

"Big jobs usually go to the men who prove their ability to outgrow small ones." -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tell Us What You Think

Have you landed a job thanks to your online presence? Tweet us your story or share in the comments section below. We'd love to hear from you.

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(Photo credit: http://indulgy.com/post/OjavP1OFb1/shine-bright-like-a-diamonds)

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