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5 Tactics land a job using social media (plus tips to do it right)

Times are tough right now and only getting tougher. This means finding a job right now amidst mass layoffs and a tanking economy is definitely not easy. But I’m saying fret not, and use the power of social media to land a new gig.

Whether you’re looking for a job *in* social media or a traditional communications role that probably involves social media, you can definitely use it to your advantage in your job search. In fact, I’ve had great luck with job opportunities through social media and I’ve done the traditional job searching and it’s never worked to my advantage.

Here are some tactics you can start right now which can help you find job opportunities and also to put yourself out there and let the opportunities find you:

Get on Twitter

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...
Image by via CrunchBase

This is the first thing I tell anyone who’s looking for a job. Actually I pretty much tell everyone to join Twitter for any reason really. I’m sure you already know networking is the best way to land a job and I consider Twitter to be the ultimate networking tool. If you aren’t sure what to post about (You don’t have to take “What are you doing?” so literally) start by posting articles, blog posts and web sites that you find interesting.  Build a profile that includes a real photo (doesn’t have to be a photo of you, but something personal yet professional will work best). Include a brief bio that includes what you are interested and what you like to tweet about. When you’ve got a few posts up, head over to Twitter Search and start searching topics that interest you and find interesting people tweeting about them and follow them. When you start to follow people, reply to their tweets (by starting yours with @[username]) to start a conversation. Once you get going it’s a lot of fun and you’ll meet lots of interesting people. Once you join, follow me and let me know you read my post and I’ll send some interesting tweeters your way. (Oh, and if you’re in Ottawa looking for a job you may want to follow @ottawatweetjobs – my other Twitter account.)

Join relevant social networks

Image representing LinkedIn as depicted in Cru...
Image by via CrunchBase

There are literally thousands of active social networks these days and chances are there’s a handful that touch upon your interests or that can help you in your job search. First of all, if you aren’t on LinkedIn, get on and start finding all your past colleagues and acquaintences. Complete your profile and consider asking for recommendations from former bosses and co-workers as recruiters do regularly use the sites to find candidates. I can recommend a handful of others depending on what you’re looking for, so feel free to contact me if you’re having problems finding ones to join.

Build an online portfolio

Showcase your work so it’s not only easy to send to potential employers, but it will come up in Google searches and also allow for others to pass along. If you’re worried about your technical abilities, worry not–just head over to Blogger.com and start a blog as a hosting place for your online portfolio. Put links to social networks you’re a part of (Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, if it’s not too personal) and include a link to your resume. For an example, you can see an online portfolio I put together a while back on blogger…

Once you’ve built the portfolio (and tested all your links!) be sure you reference it in cover letters to potential employers and even include the link in your email signature. You never know when a potential opportunity may be hiding in a regular email communication.

Read and comment on blogs that interest you

If this is all new to you, you may want to start with iGoogle. It is a personalized Google homepage that displays RSS subscriptions as widgets (and you can get other handy widgets like the weather, your gmail account etc.) The City of Ottawa has a fabulous page that explains how you can set up your iGoogle page for RSS. Once you’re all set up, use Google Blog Search or Technorati to scope out blogs that interest you and click the RSS subscribe button (usually a little orange icon).

Start your own blog

If you’re really passionate about what you want to do, and can dedicate the time to maintain a blog, then consider starting your own. Blogging is a rewarding experience in its own, especially if you love to write. Check out my previous post “Social media and community management resources” for links and resources for blogging. Consider joining communities like MyBlogLog or the Bloggeries forum to help learn as you go and to promote your blog.

Tips to succeed in social media

Think you’re ready to go out and conquer social media to help find your dream job? That’s great, but it also involves a lot of ‘putting yourself out there’ and if you’re not careful it could backfire. So here’s a few quick tips to keep you on the path to success:

  • Consistency across social media – If you’re building a personal brand you want to make sure you get credit for all your effort. Build your own ‘brand’ by developing a user name, photo and brief bio to use across all social networks so that people will recognize you at each and it won’t seem like you’ve developed a multiple personality disorder.
  • Think before you post – Sometimes when we finally open our mouths, we can’t seem to shut them again! Remember that *anyone* could be reading what you’re writing so you may want to steer clear of controversial topics like religion or politics. Also you’ll want to ensure that you come across as a responsible professional so don’t drink and tweet!
  • Commit time to do it all – An abandoned profile or blog may give off a negative impression of you, so before you start, make sure you can commit the necessary time to keep it up.
  • Remember it’s about conversations – Be kind and polite to others, and always try to respond to comments posted on your profile page or tweets or however some one may be reaching out to you… Even if they don’t have a job offer for you.

That’s all I have for now! Have any tips that have helped you land a job? Have you tried something else I didn’t list here? Leave a comment!

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Protecting your brand? From what? The brand police???

Unless you’re in consumer-packaged goods or fashion, you probably worry too much about your brand. Especially if your efforts are focused online, you most definitely are worried too much about your brand.

Now I will admit I *could* sit on both sides of this argument, but my real peeve is pulling the “brand” card like your brand makes a big difference in people’s lives, because chances are, it doesn’t. What *really* makes a difference – excellent customer service, open and honest communication and respecting your customers/prospects/stakeholders as real people.

Considering that you spend a lot of money “protecting your brand” only to have people reading your blog in an unbranded reader, or getting your emails as text or mangled HTML, or maybe just mis-read or represented by others. Is it really worth it?