Monday, October 11, 2010

Social networking for finding a job

Cool Blog Sociale - 10 July 2008 - I Heart Job Offers Resume T-shirt by BlackBirdTees A One of my former roommates is currently looking for a job. Not exactly something one wants to be doing with the economy barely starting to come out of a steep dive (or so they tell us). On top of the lousy climate, his chosen field is fiercely competitive and volatile.

I am by no means a job-finding expert. However, it has worked really well for me a few times. By the end of my undergraduate degree and then by the end of my graduate degree I could pretty much get an interview with almost anybody I wanted. Of course, about half the time (or more) I then proceeded to bomb the interview, but that is a separate post.

This roommate has been searching for a little over a year, and he asked me for a bit of help with the social networking aspect of things. I got my current job through Facebook and am a big believer in the power of social networking. I think it applies better to some fields (like mine) than others, but it can help everybody.

Just a few quick thoughts on social networking:
  • Don't overlook your family and friend connections. Let everybody you know keep an eye out for you and help you. It may take some humility to open up and ask for help, but if you don't ask you'll never know
  • Always collect contacts. Even if you have a job, collect contacts. Put it in a file somewhere so that you can pull it out when you need it. Cool jobs you see, recruiters that contact you, people who move on from your company. Everyone. Keep email, addresses, and web pages.
  • LinkedIn and Facebook are your new BFFs. Learn to use them and love them.
  • Spend an afternoon or so one day bolstering your web presence. You can make an on-line resume that includes everything you've ever done. It does not need to be limited to a page. Update your profiles to be resumes and portfolios. Make sure some contact information is available (get a Google Voice number if nothing else).
  • Think creatively about jobs and your experience. Some jobs just need smart people who can get trained to do something well. Some jobs just need trusted people. Some jobs just need creative people. Not every job needs 5+ years experience programming in C++.
The advise I gave my roommate was a little more specific to him, but those were the main points. Finding a job is a job itself. Don't use a pistol when you can use a howitzer.