From Facebook to Fully Employed

By Kate Grove, PCA

In December 2009 The Nielson Company conducted a survey to find out how much time the average person spends on social media/social networking sites. The results were shocking. They found that the average person, globally, spends up to 5.5 hours on a social media site every day. The average American spends closer to 7 hours a day on social media/social networking sites, and remember, that was in 2009! Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Blogs, etc consume a lot of our daily time. (Actually, by reading this blog right now you’re adding to your “7 hours a day.”)

Contrast that with a 2010 poll conducted by JobMob.com which found that the average unemployed American spends 18 minutes a day searching for employment. With all this time we spend on social media imagine what we could do if we harnessed that time and power for our job search. Now more than ever companies are starting to become more tech savvy. More companies are using Twitter and Facebook to network and find job seekers. A recent article from NACE (National Association of Colleges and Employers) focused on how to use your social media time most effectively for your job search. Based on that article, here are my top 3 pieces of advice:

1.  Develop a professional online presence

Google your name. See what comes up. If it’s those crazy pictures your friend posted from spring break last year, the rude tweet you sent the last time you were frustrated, or the not-so-professional blog you wrote in high school, take a look at your privacy settings. More employers are taking the time to “Google” potential employees before even inviting them to an interview. If those are the things they find it’s likely you WILL NOT be getting a call. It’s easy to change your privacy settings on all social media accounts. On Facebook you can change your settings so that only your friends can see your profile. On twitter you can make your tweets private so the only people who can follow you are those you accept. It’s important that you’re putting your best self out there as your online presence.

2. Use LinkedIn to get on the right track

LinkedIn.com is almost like a professional Facebook. It is comprised of over 65 million professionals and along with them all of their professional information and career paths. I’ve already begun my job search for after graduation and I started my search on LinkedIn.com too. Just think of the job you’d ultimately like to have. Search for people who ALREADY HAVE THAT JOB using LinkedIn and browse their professional history. Where did they get their start? What kind of education did they get?  Use the information you gathered to find companies you could start reaching out to or fields you should consider getting into.

3. Use your social networking site to NETWORK!

The majority of all jobs are found by networking. Tell friends, classmates, professors, neighbors and other close contacts that you’re searching for a job. Social media sites make reaching out to your contacts easier than ever! Don’t get crazy and post a status about your job search every hour, but maybe once a week update your Facebook status to say something about the kind of employment you’re looking for and ask if anyone has suggestions. Or send a tweet about how your job search is going, just keep it positive! You’ll be surprised how many connections you really have on Facebook, twitter, and LinkedIn and just how far those connections could get you! Join Facebook groups, LinkedIn groups, and/or follow the twitter pages of professional organizations or companies you’d be interested in working for so you can stay up-to-date on what’s going on.

If you use even an hour of the time you normally spend on social media looking for a job it will help, but one thing to remember is using solely the computer to find a job may not be the best idea. While email, social media, and other online resources are increasingly more popular, nothing can beat the power of a hand-written note or a sincere phone call. So, use all your resources in the job search and the work will surely pay off!

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