Use Social Networking Sites to get a job

Today, almost everyone who is connected to the Net, is present on at least one networking website, be it Facebook, Twitter or Myspace. For workaholics, the most popular professional networking site is LinkedIn.

According to the Kelly Global Workforce Index 2011, which covered 97,000 people across 30 countries and 2,000 people in India, about 35% of the respondents in the country scoured social networking sites to seek job openings.
Realising the vast number of candidates that can be easily tapped on these portals, companies and head hunters have begun to rely on them to find potential employees. “Out of the vast pool of talent, only 20% is available on job portals. The remaining 80% is still untapped. To reach out to them, networking Websites work as an effective tool,” says Sunil Goel, CEO, Global Hunt, an executive search company.

Says Kris Lakshmikanth, CEO, The Head Hunters (India): “About five years ago, the use of social media for recruiting employees was nil. Today, we use it extensively. In fact, 50% of our turnover is through social sites because we primarily use them for positions where the annual cost to company is above 20 lakh.” Recruiters use social media in two ways-to find a candidate who matches their requirement and to screen his or her background.

Here are some tips that can help you leverage networking sites.

Join specific groups :
All networking sites have groups formed by people with specific skills or in a particular industry. You should join these as it will help to expand your network and tap these contacts when you need to start a job search. Also, recruiters often post vacancies on the pages of such groups. Says Mano Kurien, principal consultant, Crest Management Consultants: “We have about 60 skill-specific groups across networking sites, which help us to find candidates within a particular segment easily.”

However, don’t think that once you join a group, you will be flooded with job offers instantly. It will take time to build a network as well as rapport with the members. After all, it is difficult to trust someone whom you have never met personally.

Keep an active profile :
You should post a detailed profile as this is the first thing that a potential employer will read about you. Highlight your professional capabilities and skills, but be brief about personal information.
The headline or ‘about me’ information should be succinct and interesting. For instance, don’t just say ‘marketing professional’. Write adjectives to enhance this, such as ‘innovator’, ‘problem solver’ or ‘result-oriented’. Use keywords which will help your profile to pop up when someone is trawling the site looking for a candidate. Contact information should be updated so that recruiters can easily get in touch with you.

Be active on the site. Give solutions to enquiries posted by people and regularly post news about what’s happening in your industry. If you are looking for a job, frequently post messages regarding your search as this will keep it fresh in the minds of people within your network.
Most networks are linked to each other, which helps to further expand your pool of contacts. For instance, what youTweet can appear on Facebook and LinkedIn, while on your Twitter site, you can have a link to a video resume on YouTube.

Recommendations :
Your profile should carry positive feedback about your work. Recruiters prefer it if the recommendations are written by senior colleagues. These are considered as good as verbal or written references. “While requesting a colleague to write one for you, ask him to focus on the positive aspects and achievements in the past one to five years. Don’t ask someone who has known you for less than this period as it will come across as a biased view,” says Lakshmikanth.

Online behaviour
You may have to change the privacy settings for your Website page so that recruiters can easily send or post a message. “However, once you get the job, alter them again and restrict access to the few people you trust or you will be inundated with spam,” says Goel.

While a social networking site can help you get a job, it could also land you in trouble if you are not careful about what you post. Don’t start writing about a job change before informing your current employer as someone in your network may spill the beans at work. If the recruiter has posted an e-mail ID, it is better to respond directly to it or send a private message.

Avoid mentioning faults of your current and past colleagues as this can sour relations within your network and harm future opportunities. Also, potential employers will be unwilling to hire you. Keep a check on what you post about your personal life. No racy photographs, snide comments, risky jokes or strong political views should be aired. “We go through the profile and select only if a candidate’s thinking fits in with the employer’s culture and ethos,” says Kurien.

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