How Social Connections Can Help You Get a Job
Congratulations, graduate! You’ve slaved over schooling for most of your life. Now, with no particular real world training: get a job.
If you’re on the hunt, one of the best resources you’ve got is the people you already know. I’ve used my social connections to become gainfully employed for years, and with great success. Social connections can help you get a job, but there are some things to remember.
First and foremost, you should have organic relationships — don’t seek out friends solely because they can help you get a job. If you’re going that far, just join a bunch of networking groups in your college or city. Here are a few other things to remember:
- Be straightforward. Let people know what you’re up to. If you’re calling someone for lunch because you want them to help you find employment, let them know that before your meeting. They’ll appreciate the respect, and be more inclined to help.
- Start with your school. Beloved professors, career counselors, and those you served in groups with are your first line of defense.
- Utilize the career center at your college, even if you’re an alumni.
- Alumni associations can be of great service, but mind the cost of entry. It’s usually pretty high.
How to Use Your Social Network
So, how do you start? It’s not as hard as you think.
- Prepare a great resume and an easily customized cover letter.
- Identify professional references. Drop them a line or call to confirm that it’s OK to use them as references.
- Think about your job search. What’s your objective? A certain job? Any job? Identify people in your social circles (online and off-) that could be potential help.
- Start with a mass e-mail. Concisely explain your current situation, and your goals. Include your resume and references; someone might want to forward them to a potential employer.
- Ask your friends whose jobs you admire how they got their job. You can do this through phone calls, in person meetings, or e-mails. Ask them to help you form your jobseeking strategy.
- Schedule an afternoon with a mentor. Ask them about their journey, and ask them which ways you should point when you’re starting your own career.
There are many ways to go about it, but the point is to redirect your conversations and focus to be about your job search. Your parents and their friends could be a decent network, too. But you’ve got to be ready with a resume. Treat all conversations at this time like job interviews, but avoid being fake or pandering — if you want the right job for you, you can structure your world to get it by being exactly who you are.
Social Media and the Job Search
LinkedIn. Facebook. Twitter. Path. Bulletin boards. Forums. Your school’s student website. Any of these could help you learn about a job, and using social media for your job search has never been easier.
But you’ve got to remember to use tech tools appropriately; there’s a log on the Internet of everything you post. Here’s a few more tips for using social media:
- Participate in relevant discussions or contests on Facebook.
- Get a LinkedIn account. Connect with anyone that will have you.
- Watch what you say and post on Facebook and Twitter. If you’re job searching and your posts are in any way suspect, go private until you’ve landed the job.
- Promote your expertise, but avoid overdoing it with personal branding. You want to look competent, not narcissistic.
- Be mindful about engaging in discussions that could affect your career. Engage with relevant people and organizations you aspire to, but don’t be a shill.
- Only post positive content. I repeat: only post positive content. Keep your bad days to yourself. Potential employers don’t like bad days.
Best of luck in your job search! Much of it will be intuitive, and don’t be afraid to capitalize on opportunities that fall into your lap. Professionally, your answer to inquiries should be “yes” about 80% of the time.
Remain optimistic, and see all queries as challenges to be bested. If you keep your eyes peeled, your mind open, and your heart in the right place, the job search will be a difficult project in which you gloriously succeed — instead of a soul-crushing boat shipping out of Sadness Bay.
New Grad Life: 10 Ways to Use Social Media to Get a Job
Resumagic.Com: Finding a Job: Networking Basics for Beginners
The Ladders: Alumni Networking Rules
Mashable: How To: Score a Job Through Facebook