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Why social networking is essential when looking for a job6 min read

Finding a job in London may sound like it’s very difficult or hard work but actually is it?

If we look at it, we never had so many tools at our disposal to look for (and find) a job.

Not that long ago, the ways to look for a job were to:

  • register on career websites such as these: reed.co.uk, monster.co.uk, totaljobs.co.uk
  • go to job fairs such as general job fairs or graduates job fairs
  • go through newspapers’ jobs section
  • register with a recruitment agency
  • check the job/career section of a company’s website
  • use creative tactics (such as walking on the street with a billboard attached to your body)

While these methods are still valid and should still be used today, we must not forget that there are other (more modern) ways to look for a job. True, now we have new ways such as: indeed.co.uk, zoek.uk, Catapult (this last one is for temporary jobs only)

But one way that is particularly interesting is: social networking (using new technologies).

What is social networking?

Social networking has existed for a very long time. Pretty much as long as human beings have been interacting with each other.

But nowadays, when we refer to social networking we refer to a way to use a computer, tablet or smart phone to connect to other people.

There are some great platforms that can help you do that. If you are familiar with them, that’s perfect!

If not, it would be a good idea to spend time discovering/using them.

Here is a quick run through some of the biggest ones:

  • Twitter: is a microblogging platform that enables you to follow people you know or in whom you’re interested. On Twitter, people post small messages that are only 140 characters long (although that rule will change). If someone says something interesting, one of their followers might retweet that message (which means the message gets shared and the original author of that message will be mentioned/get credited). Retweets are important because they enable a message to be shared amongst more Twitter users. The more retweets the better in a way (if you’re the author of the post). This all sounds a bit complicated but it really isn’t once you start using Twitter. On Twitter the key is to follow many people you find interesting and post engaging content yourself. You will gain followers (=grow your network) and credibility.
  • Facebook: gives users one page (that actually never ends) on which they can post messages, pictures, videos, games etc. Unlike Twitter there is no limitation on character usage, so you can just ramble on. On Facebook, you want to grow your network by adding new friends and also by posting interesting content so that people will be keen to add you as their friends (= you will grow your network).
  • Linkedin: is a bit like Facebook but for business. You can put your past job experiences, your education etc. You get to connect with friends/colleagues and then you can contact friends of friends, friends of friends of friends etc. Whenever you find an interesting profile, you just send a request to connect to that person. If the person accepts, you will both be connected and that will grow your network.

There are countless social networking platforms that exist out there. Choose the ones that suit you.

The 3 mentioned above are amongst the main ones. Our tip is to use a few but keep them fresh and updated.

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Why use social networking?

Times are changing and a lot of HR teams are using social networking platforms to find suitable candidates. About 80% of them do so.

Also, the old adage: “It’s not what you know but who you know” is still very true today.

HR teams might put a candidate ahead (whether consciously or subconsciously) based on who the candidate knows (for example: does he/she know people within the company he/she is applying to?). But more importantly (and impartially), the information they will find on these platforms will help them understand what type of person you are, what your hobbies are and therefore whether you will be a good fit for their team or not.

You see, all things being equal…if two candidates got almost similar CVs, their social networking profiles can be a key differentiator. So make sure your profiles (on the different platforms) are up to date and interesting!

One reason social networking works is because it gives recruiters the feeling that they already know you. Plus, if you have a good and clean profile, they will feel they can trust you. Trust is a key thing. Everybody wants to hire someone they feel they can trust!

Another solid reason why you should consider using social networking is that some jobs don’t even make it to any jobs board.

Why?….

That’s because a recruiter might decide to hire someone based on recommendations. If you are not active on social media, you automatically reduce your chances of being connected with thousands of people. And if you’re not well connected then you will have less chances of being recommended. This is as simple!

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Don’t get us wrong, we know you can still be a socially very active person in the real world and not be active on social media. But the truth is even if you’re a very social person in the real world, using social media can give you a huge boost, plus you will be able to connect to people all across the globe! This could help you find your next job in London through your worldwide connections! Just being active in your local community will not give you access to such amazing opportunities….

Etiquette when using social networking

Social networking is great because it connects you to thousands and possibly hundreds of thousands of people instantly. But this strength is also its weakness….

So when using social networking, follow these simple guidelines to avoid any trouble:

  • Don’t criticise your current or past employers. They might be connected to you and start a virtual fight with you on a social networking platform. You really do not want that as this could put recruiters off!
  • Don’t be offensive as this will show a negative side of you. This is not attractive to potential employers.
  • Don’t misrepresent yourself as this is the equivalent of lying. And companies don’t like liars.
  • Keep your profiles on the different platforms up to date. Recruiters don’t want to see what you did 10 years ago… they are interested in the recent version of you.
  • Engage with your audience: social networking means most and foremost being ‘social’. So follow recruiters (and try to interact with them) for the companies you would like to work for. You might get noticed and this might help you get the job you’ve been dreaming of.

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When looking for a job, make sure you use all the tools at your disposal to increase your chances of getting one. This means that you should keep an open mind and use the ‘old’ techniques as well as the more recent and promising ones such as social networking. Use social networking wisely and you will be fine. Even better…. it will give you an enormous advantage!

 

Have you used social media to look for a job? Did it work? Please share your experience with us.

 

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