For years, getting a job was about who you knew. And — truth of the matter is — it still is, but with social networking our community in which we network has become vastly larger. We’ve all heard the advice — when you are looking for a job, tell everyone — even the postman. Most people want to help (if asked) and you never know who is facing a hiring decision. Sometimes it’s not even a direct correlation. Years ago I moved to a city in the Midwest. I didn’t know anyone, had no contacts to speak of, but I knew I wanted to get into publishing. When I went to the bank to open my account, I told the banker I was looking for a job in publishing. Coincidentally, she had a daughter who was the hiring manager at one of the only publishing companies in town. By the end of that day I had an interview lined up. If I were looking today I might have been able to accomplish the same thing in my PJs.
For years, job seekers have been using sites like Monster and Careerbuilder, where they upload their resumés and wait. Sure some people used the limited networking features on these sites and the notification emails were great for the time, but with the influx of available manpower due to the downturn in the economy, you have to do something to stand out. You have to get back to pounding the pavement and knocking on every door but the great thing about 2009 is that you can do just that from the comfort of your own home.
Recently, I’ve received multiple broadcast emails from friends forwarding resumés of people I’ve never met in the hopes that I know of an opening. Certainly this type of spam recommendation hits a number of people but surely there is a more efficient way of going about this. Career sites, like LinkedIn, are the next generation of the job search. You have the ability to post your resumé, just like the sites of old, but these sites introduce the social part essential to finding a job and standing out among the sea of candidates. In order to launch a successful job hunt you must look toward establishing personal connections. Social networking helps you accomplish this. Take for instance the example of Jonathan Witte, YourMembership.com’s Director of Sales & Channel Partners. He targeted an industry he was interested in, researched it on LinkedIn and ascertained who was a leader in the field in the geographic area he wanted to be in. He approached the company directly and asked to speak about potential future openings. He went above the basics of looking for a posting, he inquired about the future.
In today’s over-saturated job market, it’s a hirer’s heaven with many more qualified candidates than openings. You have to do something to catch the employer’s eyes. If you are fortunate enough to be a member of a private networking community (be it alumni, fraternity or industry related) you have an advantage over the competition because you have something in common with the hiring entity or career advice provider. These communities are perfectly suited for career help and advice, job search and placement, and locating eligible candidates. The communities are available round the clock and can meet the demands of your schedule. So no matter if you’re…
Looking for a job: YourMembership.com’s membership software offers a career community feature which allows you to post your resumé, browse career categories, search job postings, apply directly for online postings, subscribe to receive email notifications of new openings in your fields of interest, as well as subscribe to RSS career feeds. You have a peer community to turn to for support and encouragement as well as leads.
Receiving referral pay: With many companies offering referral bonuses to their current employees, you may want to consider perusing some resumés on your industry or alumni community site. The benefit to sticking with your private member communities is that you know they are members of your industry or attended your alma mater (church, fraternity, etc.). They may not be direct network connections but you are able to vouch for their affiliations. Plus it is a wonderful way to give back, helping someone find a job. Career karma is always a good thing.
Hiring: For organizations looking to hire, your industry (alumni, church, fraternity or corporate) network is an excellent first place to turn for qualified candidates. Membership software (like YourMembership.com) offers features like job postings, searching an applicant database, and viewing and exporting applicant information and resumés. You can even message your applicants within the internal community. Hiring can be a costly undertaking for companies and private online communities give you the assurance that the applicant is associated with the organization she says she is. When YourMembership.com was looking to expand, the hiring manager perused his alumni network to locate alums in the area. He then approached them confidently knowing their educational background.
No matter what industry you are looking to break into a knowledge and familiarity with social networking will not hurt your chances for success. It shows a willingness to embrace new technologies but it also exhibits an interest in building relationships with 21st century tools. It shows you can adapt. To be successful in today’s job market and to become that indispensable employee we all strive to be you must consistently think about your relationship to your company, its brand and its future. Using social networking shows your potential employer that you are an astute trendsetter able to connect with people and put your best foot forward. And sometimes that’s all it takes to get a foot in the door.