Facebook is not just about connecting with family and friends anymore it’s also becoming an effective networking tool. If you think of Facebook as a place that you like to keep separate from work, then that’s fine there are plenty of other tools out there to find work. But if you’re looking for work why not use every tool you can to connect with the people hiring. Companies and recruiters are becoming more focused on using Facebook, both for looking up potential candidates and finding new hires. If you’re looking for work either as a freelancer, for fulltime or a potential job move in the future why not leverage this powerful social media network.
You never know which one of your friends or acquaintances are going to have a job opening or know of a job opening and are going to think of you. Word of mouth works and someone is more then happy to recommend you if you are a good worker and have genuinely grown to trust and like you from what they have seen of you from Facebook. Since Facebook’s main focus is a place for friends, people get comfortable and end up posting things or sharing things they wouldn’t normally share. Don’t forget Facebook is rather public, unless you are savvy enough to lock down your profile it’s easy for people to see what you are posting and sharing. I personally have my Facebook account open, I’m happy to live in public and hope nothing I share or post now will come back to hurt me in five or ten years. I have a few things I’d recommend if you’re looking to use Facebook as more then a place for friends without going all business as if you were on Linkedin. You shouldn’t post anything on Facebook or put anything on the Internet you don’t want your mother or potential employers to see or know about you. Assume that everything that goes into the cloud is available for public consumption and that means any future employer can find it. If you don’t like that bad photo a friend posted of you on Facebook then un-tag yourself or ask the person who posted them if they would mind removing them. You’d be surprised how understanding people are with removing something you think might be inappropriate. Even if you’re only using Facebook to reach out to your existing social network, you might still want to consider revising your Facebook profile to be more employer-friendly.
Make sure your profile is looking sharp and be sure that across the board you are telling the same story on all your social media networks. Don’t lie, the information is out there and you will get busted. The first thing potential new clients or employers are going to see is your profile photo. Make sure it is you and something that looks good. I’m bad at that… right now I think I have a photo of myself eating a sandwich from Big-Ass Sandwiches. So in this instance, don’t follow in my footsteps. Next thing is your work history and education; make sure these dates are correct as I said it is very easy to check if those are right. Also on your profile you should list any volunteer work as well. Anything truthful that can make yourself stand out is worth mentioning. Now that you have your profile looking sharp and professional, don’t forget Facebook is a community. Post updates on work you are doing, either client work or personal projects. Also share your work and career knowledge. If you have a blog, you should make sure those updates are being posted to your Facebook stream. Install one of the applications that not only posts a link to your latest blog entry into the Facebook stream but also use one that creates a note for each post as well. Notes carry more clout then a link in the Facebook eco-system and notes allow for people to leave a comment in a more blog friendly sort of way. With all this work and business posting be careful not to get too serious it can be a turn off, especially for your real friends on Facebook. Don’t forget to let your true personality shine through on your page. Show that you have a sense of humor and have interests outside of work. Be sure to keep them clean and try and keep them unoffensive. Employees and clients want fun people that they can work well with. All of this posting can quickly become a one sided conversation so don’t forget to give back and engage. Like Twitter and other social media outlets you need to build relationships. Get involved with the conversations going on within your network. Don’t just make meaningless comments, add some opinion and in depth answers, engage in proper conversations. Your network will see you commenting in this meaningful way and as I have mentioned a couple of times, it helps build credibility and presence. Through such engagement your network or friends are going to feel more comfortable potentially recommending you for work.
Feeding your Facebook profile and friends with quality content is great but you can’t rely on clients and recruiters just finding your profile or your friends to know you’re looking for work. Facebook is here to connect people, so use it. With so many people on Facebook and with so many people looking for work, don’t be shy about saying you are in the market for work. Your friends, colleagues and people in your network would expect you to help them if they were in need, they are likely to help you in your job search process. All you have to do is actually tell them you are looking for a job. The best way to land a job is still by having someone who already works at a company mention your name. If it’s someone in your network that knows you, they’re more likely to think of you when opportunities are available. Don’t just write a generic status update – “need work”. It’s going to get lost in the stream of updates that happen on Facebook. Instead consider writing a private message to each of your Facebook friends.
Finally, an interesting tool I came across the other day was from a recent New York start-up. It’s called Jibe and it’s hoping to revitalize online job searching using Facebook. And recently it just came out of beta. For job seekers, it’s looks interesting and is something to keep an eye on and give a spin.
I hope that as a job seeker you find this interesting and learned a thing or two. Of course there are other ways to successfully leverage Facebook to network and find a job and I hope you share any of those with me.