Job Searching: Getting to the Top of the Pile

Posted in Advisory | Human Resources | Staffing on April 5, 2013

Get your name to the top of the pile while job searching

The latest jobs report came out today, and the news wasn’t great. It stated that the U.S. “created the fewest number of jobs in March in 10 months, adding to a string of reports suggesting companies have cut back on new hires and that the economy is slowing again.” On a positive note, “there were some silver linings in the employment report. Hiring remained brisk in professional services, health care and construction—bastions of strength over the past year. Professional jobs such as legal advice and management climbed 51,000; health care employment rose 23,000; and construction companies added 18,000 slots.”

This means that it continues to be difficult for job seekers to stay top of mind with potential employers. With Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn becoming more relevant every day for business, using these social networks to elevate your name to the top of the pile can be valuable. But how much is enough?

Those engaged in a job search are taking on the ultimate marketing and social exercise. Updates, posts, liking, linking―you could spend all day doing these things, but before you know it, you haven’t really talked with anyone, let alone met anyone in person (but had a lot of fun, of course). Your friends may know you are out there as a result of all this liking and commenting, but are you leveraging the ability to sell yourself via social media and do it in a balanced way? How much time should one spend on all of this to stay top of mind?

My observation is that you need a balanced approach. It is important to dedicate a certain amount of time each day to be in the social media area, especially connecting with business acquaintances, connecting with friends and engaging in social media activity (liking, sharing or tweeting— whatever you want to call it). Your time on social media should also include researching who can help you in your job search, whether they are current connections or someone they may know. For example, rather than responding to a job posting online, figure out if you are connected in any way with someone who works at that company. Use your time to “warm up” your chances and if possible, get referred by someone already working at the organization. The information is out there, so leverage it.

As with anything, however, moderation is essential. You cannot create a meaningful virtual relationship that will get you the job you want without transitioning that relationship to something more personal, and that requires an in-person discussion. 

So how much is enough? If you think you’re spending too much time on social media, try spending 20 minutes each morning and 20 minutes each evening on social media. Aim for spending the rest of your time calling and meeting people face-to-face. And if you go through painful withdrawal, don’t worry―you can like that cute cat picture as easily at midnight as at three in the afternoon.

Author: Sean Hastings
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Disclaimer: This material has been prepared for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be relied upon as accounting, tax, or other professional advice. Please refer to your advisors for specific advice.