Social media has impacted most aspects of our lives – we now not only have our friends, family and professional colleagues available to us at the touch of a button on whatever device we are using; we also know a lot about the people were are connected to: what they do, where they do it, who they do it with. Much more then we ever did before social media sites made it so easy to share so much (often times too much) about ourselves with the people around us.
We are more likely to first read a news headline on Twitter or Facebook then we are a newspaper, media website or TV, and naturally so – where else but social media can we engage in conversation and debate over issues without leaving the comforts of wherever we are. Social media is where two great forces collide in real-time: information and our personal/professional lives.
There are an endless stream of applicable use cases for social media, most of which we’ve figured out and some we are just now starting to uncover.
For anyone actively looking or planning to look for a new job in the next few years, forget about everything you knew about how to manage a job search in the past. When it comes to job search, social media, and more specifically, the social graph, is a complete game-changer.
As defined by Wikipedia, the social graph in the Internet context is a graph that depicts personal relations of internet users and has been referred to as “the global mapping of everybody and how they’re related”. In other words, it’s the map of our human, personal connections, and various data sources provided by each individual contact that is constantly evolving. A treasure trove of insights and for those who chose to exploit it, an invaluable resource.
Your social graph is quite simply the “low-hanging fruit” in your job search. If leveraged correctly, it will be hands-down the most effective way to land the job you want at the kind of company you want to work for.
Even before social media, and still today, job seekers who make it far enough in an interview process to be offered a job with a company all have one thing in common — they’ve established relationships with their potential employers over a period of time. Those relationships are cultivated in one of a few different ways:
1. Candidate is lucky enough to have their resume picked out of a database and “championed” through the organization
Without hard data, it’s difficult to predict the actual percentage of hires that occur through this method, but employers still spend money advertising jobs on job boards.
Many industry insiders consider job boards the “walking dead” because of the sheer volume of unqualified candidate submissions job postings yield. This article in CMO Magazine from 2013 addresses this thinking. Job boards appeared in the early days of the internet, pre-social graph, essentially digital versions of classified ads, and were the only way two parties interested in a match could find each other online, through one central “meeting place”, i.e., Monster.com
These days, most job seekers view applying to jobs through job boards and company career sites a “black hole” but continue to engage in this behavior, likely because it’s still considered the thing to do.
Odds are you won’t get your next job using this method.
2. Third-party recruiter introduces candidate into job opportunity
Agency recruiters, or “headhunters”, exist for a reason: they are a bridge between job seekers and employers who otherwise may never find each other. Recruiters market access, and if you are a job seeker lucky enough to get your resume in the hands of a recruiter who specializes in your specific field, take advantage of this relationship – they are a door-opener and can get you in front of hiring managers who otherwise might never have seen your resume.
3. Candidate gets referred in by someone they know
This is the quickest, most effective and best way for anyone to land their next job, for a number of reasons: it’s a warm introduction. Who better then an existing employee to vouch for you – they know how to work the system internally and can stay on top of hiring managers to help get you that offer. Most companies list referral hiring as their top source of candidate hire, ranging from 20-60% in some cases of all hires in a year’s time.
If you are actively engaged in a job search, my guess is you are spending the majority of your time doing activity #1, since it’s one you can easily control (there’s nothing standing in the way of you applying to 1000 jobs other then taking the time to do it). Many of you are networking for #2, but specialized recruiters aren’t easy to find – it’s often easier when they find you. And #3, you’d love to do more of, but maybe don’t know how or where to start.
This is where Facebook, LinkedIn, Google Plus, and your hundreds of email contacts come into play.
Social media is drive-through networking – quick, painless and efficient. Before Facebook and LinkedIn, job seekers had to rely on job boards and good old fashioned phone and in-person networking to try and get the word out about their job search to people that might be able to help them.
Now, in 3o seconds you can post a status update, send a direct message, or share your profile with a list of targeted connections on the popular social media sites to help achieve your goal of tapping your network for results.
For active job seekers, we’re not suggesting you quit job boards altogether, but re-think your strategy and focus more on the people you know, and who know you, to help open up doors and get you that great new job you are seeking.
In a few years, this process will be an afterthought – so why not get a head-start today?