When it comes to finding a job, you have many options these days. Long gone are those days where you just looked at the newspaper for job opportunities. Asking your friends and family if they know someone who is hiring is still very effective, most companies prefer interviewing people referred by existing employees than people they find in online job boards and the like. Some years ago, when online job boards came out, everybody started using them. People looking for jobs, for the first time, were able to “apply” to existing job openings with the click of a button, after creating some sort of profile.
Companies using job boards get dozens if not hundreds of resumes for each position they post online. They also have access to various resumes which they can filter by setting some criteria and keywords entered by the many job seekers. Online job boards are still very popular. However, the problem of using the many online job boards out there is the huge amount of job openings and the even greater amount of resumes and applications of people looking for jobs, it can be very overwhelming for recruiters and job seekers.
Online job boards and job search engines aren’t as effective anymore.
Online job boards such as Monster.com, Careerbuilder, Dice.com, HotJobs.com, as well as job search engines like SimplyHired.com and Indeed.com, have been very successful, but the average person looking for a job usually gets lost in the vast amount of data and information that these sites provide – yes even when using “filters” to specify the type of job(s) you are interested on. This presents a big problem for recruiters as well. Instead of getting a few qualified and very interested individuals to apply for a job, they might get a lot of mediocre resumes and applications from people who might not be qualified or even interested in the job. Online job boards make it really easy for lazy people to “apply” for jobs just to see if they get a response from one of them. This is a big problem if you are a recruiter and are trying to find the right person for a specific position.
Online job boards are helpful, I am not denying that. If you want to get an idea on what the job market looks like for a specific industry and/or position, then online job boards offer a great amount of data for this. However, this is also the problem. It means more competition, a lot more. You see, before online job boards there were just so many people who applied for a job posted in a local paper or something similar. With online job boards many more people have access to the same job postings, people from different cities, different states and even different countries. More applicants means more competition for people trying to get a job and more applications means a harder task for those selecting applications and interviewing to find the right individual.
The solution, social media, really.
Social media is actually very useful, and finding a job using social media is now a reality. At first only early adopters such as techies, advertisers, marketing gurus and the like where interested with what social media had to offer. And that is still the case. Many people still see social media as a big waste of time… and they are somewhat correct. Social media sites can be very addictive. When LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook came out, they were fun and interesting, still are. However, in the beginning people didn’t use Twitter or Facebook with the intention to find and get a job, perhaps many did sign-up to LinkedIn with that intention but I doubt that many were successful back then.
Today, many more people have joined these social networking sites and many of them have started to see the huge potential in it. Yes, you can actually do something useful in these sites besides telling your “followers” and “friends” about something completely random! These sites offer the potential to advertise, to build a community, to announce news, to support clients, and yes, also to find a job. The “chat” and silly updates are still there, this is what some people call “a waste of time”, to me, it is what makes these social media sites fun, personal, and even interesting at times.
Many of you might disagree with me about social media sites being more effective than online job boards, and that is OK, I don’t have numbers, and statistics, etc to “validate” my point, I am writing about this from my experience and that of many friends and colleagues. I disagree strongly with the idea that social media sites are not ready yet to be used as recruiting tools, or to find a job. My personal experience has been that social media sites are more effective to find a job because it is more personal. If you are interested in some job or company you can just connect with them via one of the social media sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook and start connecting with some of the people who work for the company you want to work for, talk to them about the company and the job openings, ask for a referral and then connect with a hiring manager or recruiter and go on from there. By the time they ask you for a resume (if they ever do), they will know a lot about you and you a lot about them and the position. It works.
Social media sites have grown tremendously in the past few years, enough to have valuable content, and they have become a great tool to find a job and to find great people as well. Companies now have the advantage to get an idea on someone’s personality just by looking at their Twitter stream, Facebook profile and in LinkedIn. These sites also provide a very simple way for people to connect with interesting companies and people looking for a job. Both parties can start a conversation before even having a formal interview or having any job applications involved. This is great. Somehow I feel this experience is more personal than submitting a resume and just hope for the best.
Of course the best way to communicate with someone is in person, still is and would always be… I hope.
Social media is just a tool that can make it easier to connect with people who can help you get a job. Social media sites also give you a better chance to show who you are, your interests, and maybe a bit about your personality – all freely available in these social media sites.
Finding a job using social media is not for everyone, you really have to be engaged in at least a few of the main social media sites for your job search to be successful. If you are not already using Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn, I suggest you do. It is a great way to connect with people with the same interests and it is also a great way to find that job that you have been looking for.
One warning, be careful on what you post to these media sites, use common sense when posting status updates (see image on left), specially if you intend to use social media sites to help you find a job or to promote your business. Here is a well written guide on how to avoid embarrassing yourself in Facebook, the concept applies to all the other social media sites.
There is still a lot of room for improvement in regards of online job search. I’ll be writing another post soon about an idea I have to help make a job search more personal and help both parties find the best jobs, the best companies and the best employees.
Please feel free to share your online job search experiences, good and bad ones, I’d love to hear those.