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Social Media For Job Seekers: Interview With Career Expert Brenda Blackburn

Brenda BlackburnBrenda Blackburn has been a workshop facilitator since 1991 in Vancouver and specializes in career topics with specialties in facilitating career exploration, job search strategies, professional development, and life skills. She’s a regular guest on radio and has been sharing her knowledge with career success radio and many other media outlets for years, so she was a natural selection for me when I decided to do a feature piece on someone with great advice on using social media for job seekers.

Full Podcast Interview of Brenda Blackburn: Social Media for Job Seekers

Brenda and I connected through a mutual friend on LinkedIn and decided to combine our efforts to address the challenges job seekers face today.  We discussed how they can use the new social media tools that are available to leverage their networks to bring them closer to their goals, aka getting their dream job! This article is the product of our long discussion and has been written in a long-form blog format rather than the common “interview style” so that job seekers can skim through and get the info that is most relevant to their situation. Be sure to listen to the full podcast to get all the gold for our conversation.

Why Using Social Media For Job Seekers Is So Important

In today’s economy, the job market is extremely competitive and you need to use all the tools and strategies that are available. Staying current with new strategies and adding social media to your tool belt is important because the more you have, the more opportunities you will find. There’s an interesting video on YouTube called “Social Media Revolutions 3” and it has the quote, “We don’t have a choice on whether we do social media. The question is how well we do it.”  This applies not only to businesses and entrepreneurs but also to today’s job seekers.

Related: 3 Reasons Why Your LinkedIn Profile Needs To Be Updated Now!

Brenda really opened my eyes when she mentioned that the top interview questions now are questions like, “Can you tell me what we’ve been tweeting about?” This just stops people in their tracks and they have no idea how to answer. Of course, this is where the interview often ends.

What’s even more interesting is how TV commercials would always have, “See our website at www.XYZ.com” Now, we see things like “Follow us on Twitter page and Connect with us on Facebook.” This is the way of the future and even newscasts like Global TV have a special section on social media now due to its overwhelming popularity.

Brenda Blackburn

Research The Company You’re Applying For

I remember when I was coming out of college and learning some of the job-seeking skills that were a staple of the times and you were always told to research the company and the job you want to apply for. With social media, this has never been easier since all the information you could possibly want is so easily accessible.

You remember the old saying, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” These days, it’s more about who knows you, more than anything. You can know all the people on this planet but if you’re looking for a job, it’s not going to help you if you don’t connect and actually get to know them on a deeper level.

Social media is about social networking, interacting and building relationships. It’s not something that happens instantly or overnight, it’s about nurturing relationships and being prepared to give something back, not just wondering what you’re going to get out of it.

Brenda Blackburn’s List of Important Reminders On Using Social Media For Job Seekers

  1. Be careful about what you’re posting on Facebook and other social media sites
  2. Clean up your wall (Remove any swearing or inappropriate comments)
  3. Pay attention to what employers are using out there
  4. Always have a professional photo of yourself for all profile pictures
  5. Avoid being controversial
  6. Educate yourself on “netiquette” (Internet etiquette)
  7. Post appropriate pictures, content, language and humor

The Best Network For Finding A Job

Brenda and I are both big believers in LinkedIn being the number one network for finding a job but Twitter is also a great tool for getting real-time updates on the industry you want to work in and for use as a learning tool. These networks should not be a crutch or replacement for face-to-face networking but should act as a facilitator for it instead.

As an employer myself, one of my favorite places to find employees is LinkedIn. In fact when someone comes to me asking if I’m considering hiring, I immediately ask them for links to all their social sites.  I want to see their Facebook and Twitter to get a feel for who they are do and I want to see how professional their presence is on LinkedIn. Now this is especially important to me because I have a social media marketing company. It’s important to me how they represent themselves on social media and I’ve even heard other business owners go as far to say that they aren’t interested in their prospective employees’ resumes, they would rather see their social sites.

Related: How to Add a Video to Your LinkedIn Profile

It’s for this reason that you need to be extremely cautious about what you post online, as things online don’t go away quickly. If you’re looking for a job or a business opportunity, you need to take extra steps to ensure that your credibility is not tarnished by one of your posts on social media.

Brenda BlackburnConcerned About Your Privacy?

As a social media consultant, I see so many people who are concerned about security and their privacy but there is a simple solution for this: Don’t post anything that you’re worried about people seeing and you’ll be fine. Avoid things like posting personal information, especially if you’re looking for a job.

Recently I did a presentation on social media for seniors, I’ve encountered many people who are concerned about security and privacy but being cautious will go a long way. You obviously don’t want to let the whole world know that you’re going to be on vacation for a week…that’s a major red flag that will catch the attention of several tech-savvy thieves that prey on the less informed.

When was the last time you Googled your own name? Make sure you see what people are seeing when they look you up so you know where to start cleaning up. Before you can get a handle on what information is readily available about you, you need to know what’s already out there so you can take the necessary steps to correct it, if needed.

10 Steps To Getting A Job With Social Media

  1. Google yourself and clean up any “messes”.
  2. Start a LinkedIn & Twitter Profile.
  3. Use Twitter lists to keep track of prospective employers and industry updates.
  4. Create and maintain a professional presence online.
  5. Manage your career like an entrepreneur (brand and market yourself!).
  6. Follow the 80/20 Rule when making posts (80% business oriented, 20% personal).
  7. Reach out and talk to many different types of people on LinkedIn.
  8. Whenever you reach out to someone, always personalize your messages and let people know why you want to connect with them.
  9. Remember that over 85% of available jobs are NOT posted! Be creative.
  10. Be specific. Have a goal. Make a plan and stick to it!

If you’re lost on what your social media profiles should look like, reference my LinkedIn profile. Don’t hesitate to connect with me and send me a personalized connection request.