Approximately 80 percent of job openings in the United States go unadvertised, according to an article on Forbes.com (“6 Ways to Crack the Hidden Job Market,” 2013). The current job market lends itself to the old saying, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.”
That’s why social media networking is a crucial element for every job search. Finding out about a job and connecting a resume with the right person can mean the difference between getting an interview and landing a job versus never finding out a job even existed.
The power of social media was emphasized in a talk given by Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles at BYU Campus Education Week in August. In his talk he encouraged members of the Church to be active participants in social media conversations. In addition to sharing the gospel, social media can create opportunities for people to connect with individuals and organizations in positive ways to find employment.
In response to Elder Bednar’s invitation to share goodness on social media, LDS Employment Resource Services has published a series of articles outlining techniques for using social media in the employment arena. Using parts of these articles found at ldsjobs.org, here are five ways job seekers can use social media to find employment.
“When an individual is out of work, it is not the time to hide and feel embarrassed,” said Mike Anderson, senior manager of field operations for LDS employment. “You have to talk to others and let them know you are seeking new employment. It is also not a time to be proud and keep your employment status a secret from others. Unemployment is the time to make connections and find opportunities to network. It is the time to use all available resources such as social media to help uncover the next opportunity.”
1. Reach out on Facebook.
When people look for jobs, Facebook is a great place to let a large group of people know employment is needed. Facebook friends consist of personal friends, family, and contacts with some kind of tie to the individual. They want a person to succeed because they know them and want to help. Even though a person might have a lot of people in their Facebook network who they don’t interact with on a regular basis, updating a Facebook status with detailed information about industries of interest, personal job skills, companies targeted for jobs, and job titles may lead to a goldmine of potential leads. A job seeker never knows who in their network might know about an open position or have connections at a company in a desired industry.
2. Look for common connections.
Make a list of people, organizations, and databases that can inform you of job openings. There may be people on this list that a job seeker has never met before personally but would like to. That’s where social media can play an important role. A person may not know everyone in a given job market, but he or she is probably connected to others who do. Using online networks such as LinkedIn or Facebook to search for connections or mutual friends might be a way to access potential resources and schedule an informational interview with a critical person at a potential employer. Using common connections is also a great way to prepare for a job interview. A person who already works for a company granting an interview may be a valuable contact to help prep for that interview with tips and information about the position.
3. Make a personal website.
It’s important to realize that one does not need to be a graphic artist or web designer to create a website. There are plenty of free services on the Internet that can do this. These websites allow people to share their resumes, past work projects, and any other important information that might be of interest to potential employers. Depending on a job seeker’s field of work, a personal blog might be a helpful tool. Blogs require extensive upkeep because posts need to be made regularly, but they can be used to establish a person’s expertise on a topic and show strong writing skills. After taking the time and effort to create content for a personal website, don’t forget to share it on multiple social media channels to get the word out and highlight past work experience.
4. Follow companies and groups on Twitter and LinkedIn.
Companies frequently post jobs on Twitter and LinkedIn. Identify several companies that would be of interest to work for, and then follow their social media accounts. If a job is posted on the account, followers will be the first to know.
LinkedIn also has 2.1 million professional groups. Browse through the groups associated with a field of interest and join a few. You never know what professional contacts you can gain through meaningful contributions to a specialized discussion group.
5. Read through social media accounts.
This is a warning to job seekers. A personal social media account can say a lot about who a person is. It is important to make sure a social media account is communicating the right message. A wonderful exercise for job seekers is to review all social media accounts from the perspective of an employer. Update any information that is out of date, check for typos and grammatical errors, and remove any content that might discourage a potential employer from extending an interview or job offer. If something on a social media profile is questionable, the best idea is to remove it.
In the April 2000 issue of the Ensign, Neil K. Newell, manager of Technical Services and Special Projects in the Church’s Welfare Department, said, “When the Lord told Adam he would have ‘to eat his bread by the sweat of his brow’ (Moses 5:1), what He offered to mankind was not so much a curse but an invitation to experience some of the greatest joys and satisfactions life has to offer.”
By utilizing a social media network, people can invite others to assist them in their job search and be blessed by providing assistance in the stewardship to be self-sufficient. Helping someone find a job or finding a job by using available resources is fulfilling and rewarding.
This and other articles about using social media in a professional setting is included on ldsjobs.org.