Social Media and Email: Power Tools for Your Job Search

job-seekerMany job seekers don’t realize what powerful tools social media and email are to a successful job search. Most of us know and agree that technology has taken over the way we live.  It is one of the most valuable tools at our disposal today. It enables us to “work smarter, not harder” and gives us the ability to share information at lightning speeds, providing us the answers to any question we could possibly 
have about… well… anything.

For example, you can use Skype conveniently for interviews and meetings that can’t be scheduled in person. You can link your smartphone to your work email so you can get your important messages any time of the day. Tools like Google Docs, Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive and a host of others like them make it easy to store documents in “the cloud” so you can access them from anywhere at any time. And if you wanted to login to your home computer from a remote location, or even have a friend login to your computer to help you solve a problem, or view files, programs like TeamViewer, LogMeIn or GoToMyPC can grant instant remote access to your computer. Now we’ve previously discussed the difference between being passive and active as a job seeker. Powering up your job search is not a passive activity.  It requires you to be connected with and through the latest technology and being committed to actively using the available technology, like social media and email as tools to really put your job search into overdrive.

While you’re networking, don’t forget the value of social media and email. These two tools pack a mighty punch when it comes to covering more ground in less time.  Regardless of your personal feelings toward social media and email, be aware that your relationship with each one can have a profound impact on your job search success.

Did you know that 76% of people who use Facebook and other social media in their job search actually found their current job through the social network?  Yes! folks.  Prospective employers and hiring managers are posting new job opportunities on social media all the time and it’s up to you to dive in.  Consider this, if you are waiting to find your next opportunity in the newspaper… well you might be idling and wasting energy, and chances are you won’t get lucky.

The beauty about social media and email is they give you the opportunity to access your network of friends, colleagues and acquaintances so you can keep up with the current jobs climate. You can get valuable information and leads in real time through social media.  If you’re depending on the “regular” channels, don’t be surprised if you miss out on some of the good stuff, or even find that by the time it gets to you it’s old news.  

So, let’s take a look at how you can transform your relationship with social media and email to be more advantageous to your job search.

Social Media Profiles and Email Addresses Matter!  Showcase Your Best Self

We cannot stress the importance of putting your best ‘e-foot‘ forward enough. We all know about first impressions in our day-to-day lives. It is no different online. Be very careful how you set up your online identity. Pay close attention to the information you post on your internet profiles. “The Google Test” is a crowd favorite and here’s how to play: type your full name into Google.  Review what shows up. So what is it?  Is it just a simple, respectable Facebook page, or something that would make your mama cringe? We have all heard stories (or maybe even know someone personally) who missed out on a great opportunity because a prospective employer found a not so innocent picture of them on Facebook. You might also know the person who “says it like it is” and who ended up saying some pretty “racy” things on Twitter that cost them their shot at the big life.

You might say, I know this stuff already! Yes, you do. It is very likely you already know what to do or not do online.  Most of this is elementary and common knowledge.  But we somehow ‘forget’ when we’re in the moment. Could it be because it’s so instant and quick that we think we don’t take the time to think about it? Being able to upload or post something in a split-second caters to our impulsiveness. But it’s really important to take a deep breath sometimes before hitting that button on your latest rant!  You will be better off if prospective employers don’t have front row seats in your theatrical displays of intolerance or your passion about certain topics, or your controversial tendencies! There is information on public domain that you cannot control, such as a previous address, or your arrest records (for whom it applies). Outside of that, however, what ends up on the internet is your choice. So choose wisely! When you create your profiles you have the ability to mold your public appearance. This is empowering—if you make the right choices from the jump.

Be Professional When Reaching Out To Others On Social Media and Email

We all allow some room for flexibility in our use of language, depending on our audience. You may text “lik this wen sending a msg 2 friends n family”, but wise up “homey“. Capital letters, proper punctuation, subject-verb agreement and basic elementary school grammar are the name of the game when speaking to professional contacts.  There is a time and a place for everything!

Don’t underestimate the power of a good email address either. “streetlights23@emailclient.com*” or “ladylush@emailprovider.com*” will cause most people to look at you sideways, wondering what you do in your spare time. Furthermore, before they even meet you they have already formed an opinion about you just based on your email.  Employers, recruiters, and hiring managers are assessing everything about you, trying to determine if they can trust you to interact with their clients and customers, or whether you will fit in with their culture.  Don’t rule yourself out by using such an unprofessional email!  Best practice today is using your first and last name, separated by a period, dash or underscore.  That’s it.  Oh, and please leave the numbers out! “What’s the 23 for anyway?”

Beware of getting in contact too often, or at the wrong time. You’ve sent the resume and all the materials, and you’ve called to confirm that it was received. Being proactive is great and preferred. But contacting the HR Department every day? This could be a bit much. We know you’re eager to show how serious you are, but is 10:00pm on a Sunday really the best time? How about waiting till Monday morning instead? Or sending an email? And, by the way, make sure you are emailing the right person! Sending an email you intended for Mr. Joshua at Flamingo Corp. to Mr. Joshumel over at Flash Inc. could be quite catastrophic! Do not trust your fate to auto-correct and auto-fill! It is crucial that you double, perhaps even triple-check your message and the intended recipient. One click of the “send” button and you can never recall that email. We’re not trying to strike fear into your heart, but rather keep you alert and on top of your game.

Finally, “With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility.”

Technology is on our minds and literally at our fingertips 24/7/365 so it’s important to note how social media can both help and hinder your success. This old saying “with great power comes great responsibility” is quite apropos especially when it comes to harnessing the power of the Internet for your good. Social media can help you grow your professional reach, but let’s be honest: it is also fascinating and quite fun. Facebook and Twitter, for example, are chock full of interesting links, information about people, and constant news updates, so beware of the ‘time suckers‘. Time suckers are sites and items that you sit in front of for what you imagine will be ten minutes and then find yourself asking three hours later “where did the time go?!” They are addictive and can keep you from completing important tasks. Beware!

As always try to find some balance in your social media activities so you will become a wiser, more capable job seeker. Figuring out how to budget your time is not only imperative to your job search, but as a bonus, will make you a force to be reckoned with when it comes to developing your time management skills and your ability to prioritize your search.

So go forth into the web, but don’t get caught up in it!

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