The title of a recent Wall Street Journal story made an attention-grabbing statement: the new resume isn’t one page, it’s 140 characters. But this is more than just a bid for readers’ curiosity, the WSJ’s point is valid and being backed by more news stories and HR experts around the web – social media is transcending the social and becoming the professional. Not only are sites like LinkedIn bridging the ground between job boards and Facebook, but Twitter itself is a giant classifieds section, if you know how and where to look. Plus, your Twitter account could quickly become your resume. After all, it’s a document of talent, interests, writing skills and – most importantly – connections.
Perhaps just as importantly, social media is leading the way into the future of job hunting and recruiting in a large part because it’s so mobile-friendly. While plenty of job hunting apps exist out there for smartphone and tablet users, social media sites like Facebook and Twitter tend to come out on top for sheer ubiquity and familiarity. After all, what college grad in need of an entry-level job isn’t browsing Twitter on the train each morning?
But how should applicants seek out positions and become effective job hunters with this still-emerging medium?
Being a proactive social network job seeker
There’s no denying that seeking a position through Twitter or other social networks is difficult. It requires a balance of the professional and personal, but you can improve your chances by following a few tips.
The Wall Street Journal suggests that Twitter users follow companies in their prospective industry, but not just the companies. Follow individual hiring managers or employees at those companies and try to engage them – do plenty of re-tweeting and responding. Once they’ve followed your or you’ve made a connection, feel free to directly message them.
The WSJ also notes that you want to groom your Twitter image. No default photos, but also no photos of you that aren’t professionally appropriate. And while you want to keep your various tweets politically correct and fairly clean, don’t be afraid to show personality or – especially – humor. HR wants to know you’re an interesting and fun person to work with.
The source also encourages Twitter-verse job hunters to craft a perfect 140 word resume. This elevator pitch isn’t something you’ll want to throw out as a tweet very often, but having it on hand when you need it – just like a full-length resume – is certain to be handy. And don’t be afraid to go back and groom it to perfection or ask for help – it’s like a haiku that may land you a job!
However, as Forbes notes, you’ll want to diversify your social media efforts beyond Twitter alone. Platforms like Facebook or LinkedIn offer specialized groups, often industry or university related, where you can actively participate with possible employers or job contacts. It’s also important to utilize broader services, such as Foursquare, YouTube or Pinterest, all of which can help you establish an online presence. Twitter’s recently launched Vine video app is a great way to make a very brief video resume for your job applications.
Forbes notes that it’s most important to keep all of your information up to date. Whether on LinkedIn or Google+, it’s essential that your digital resume be as current as your print one – if not more so, since employers can literally look you up at a moment’s notice.
Why go mobile?
According to Beyond.com, mobile job searches started gaining ground as early as 2011, where approximately 77 percent of individuals looking for employment were using mobile job search apps. Of that number, the source reports that the majority were seeking out entry level positions for college graduates.
It’s not surprising that mobile is as popular as it is among the generation raised on advancing cell phone technology. Millennials were, after all, among the first to embrace smartphones. But what are the actual advantages of going mobile?
Pacing is a huge advantage. Many industries that have embraced mobile tech and social network hiring move at a quick pace, and staying mobile means that applicants can communicate on the go – perhaps to a job interview elsewhere. This gives mobile users a competitive edge. Alerts and emails keep candidates up to date on the latest tweets and info related to their industry job prospects.
Furthermore, there are the apps. As useful as the world wide web is, it can be a dense forest to navigate solo. Smartphone apps for job hunters make great guides: efficient, knowledgeable and essential.
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