I always wonder to myself if people really enjoy social media? Parts of it are fun if you think about it. I am able to keep up with old friends from high school, college, and past jobs. If it weren’t for Facebook I would not have been able to write “The Comeback.” There were enough messages, likes, and comments surrounding my search for moms who successfully went back to work after staying home with their kids that it got confusing. Try finding over one hundred of these women, then setting up interviews with each of them by phone at a specific date and time. If it wasn’t for social media, I’d be doomed.
Whether it’s Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, or LinkedIn you need to be on at least two of these platforms. I say this to anyone who is reading this, not just moms, not just women, not just job seekers. The advent of social media creates a connection to the world that is unprecedented, and with that connection, you can network, learn, explore, and use it for positive change no matter the goal. It’s overwhelming to maintain each of these accounts, and it gets worse if you are not a fan of social media. You may be thinking how can I combine them so one post goes to ALL sites? Well, I strongly advise you DON’T link them together so that one post or picture goes to each one. Each of these platforms is its own “environment” and each requires a certain type of behavior, especially if you are trying to connect or reconnect to look for a job.
As a business journalist, I find Facebook to be the most interesting social site. Despite the rhetoric “it’s for older people, the kids don’t like it” it’s actually showing the most growth and promise for the long term. You have two options with this site: either create your own personal page where you can become “friends” with other users, or you can create a “fan page” or “business page” if you want to promote yourself. The key to engagement on Facebook is to never post more than once or twice a week, and make sure you are not putting up mundane things about your day or oversharing things about your life. No one cares if you had a terrible day at the office or your child was vomiting all night. Less is more. Hit the “like” button a lot, and comment on posts from people you want to connect with or possibly meet in person. Check out their profile for information about their location and employment situation.
Who thought 140 characters or less would make sense, but it’s something I’ve been taught as a journalist: keep it simple stupid or KISS. People tend to be verbose, and have a tough time getting to the point. Twitter forces its users to say it quickly and cleanly, or your tweet won’t publish. The key to building a Twitter following, is to mention others in your posts. The hope is that they will retweet you or start following you. Twitter is almost a news feed, and if you specifically search out and follow organizations and individuals who are currently in the industry you hope to work in, you’ll find new connections and you can direct message them for a personal connection.
Putting a resume together is like taxes, you have to do it, and it stinks! The advantage to a LinkedIn profile is that you can add multimedia content and expand upon your resume to include details that a regular one page resume doesn’t. It’s also is a great way to connect to people in your field. I also like LinkedIn Groups. I’ve joined several over the process of writing “The Comeback.”
This is popular because it’s all photos, but there is also an advantage to Instagram in that most individuals, however powerful, however famous, seem to love posting, and it’s another way to make a connection to people who can possibly hire you.
I don’t necessarily love all of these applications, but I find myself gravitating toward each at different times, and that does keep it interesting. If you are looking for work, or trying to at least reconnect to former colleagues and friends, learning the tricks for each will help you “network” beyond your known circles, and hopefully pay off with a new job.