Using Social Media to Find a Job.

Social Media is a great way to stay in touch with friends, see pictures of your nephew’s birthday and pass along the most recent YouTube clip but did you know you can use those same social media sites to find a new job?  In this article I want share three easy ways to use social media networking to find a new position.

Social Media is simply “content posted online using highly accessible and scalable publishing technologies”.  What it means is a paradigm shift in how we relate to others in the world.  This shift is putting control of the conversation in the hands of the user, your hands!  Information no longer flows down to the consumer, now the consumer has a voice and is able to influence others.

Architectural and Engineering firms are catching on.  In a recent survey 72% of recruiters and hiring managers plan to invest in social media recruiting this year.  Combined with the fact that 70% of all jobs are not advertised, social media quickly becomes a critical source to learn about open positions.

So what does this mean to you?  It is first a call to action.  Join the conversation!  Others are talking and unless you join in your voice will not be heard.  This may seem like a daunting task but relax; it is easier than you think.

Forums:

Forums are a great place to start.  A forum is an on-line group of people and professionals with similar interest.  Some of the top architectural, interior design and engineering forums are:

Archinect

Design Community

IIDA

Eng-Tips

Forums are effective because of their direct and instant nature.  It is a single place where many in the industry gather to share ideas, get answers and meet other professionals.  Being an active participant in the forum is a great way to network with the movers and shakers in your field.

Forums are also easy to use, simply sign-up and join the conversation.  A good point of entry is to search the forum’s discussion topics and join in on a conversation that interest you.  It is that easy.

So why join and participate in forums?  How does it help you find a new position?  Simply put, the decision makers who are looking for your background are already part of the forum’s conversation.  They understand their firm’s growth strategy and what type of talent they need to meet their goals.  When they find the talent they need, maybe in you, they may reach out and start a conversation.

Social Sites:

Social sites are the true definition of social media. From Twitter to LinkedIn there are many ways to join the conversation.  Many firms are joining social media sites and creating fan pages.  Firms realize social media is an important channel for brand communication, business development and professional networking.

Some of the top social media sites are:

Twitter

Facebook

LinkedIn

A good place to start is to search these sites for firms that interest you and link to them.  Some savvy firms are using their fan pages on Facebook as well as Twitter pages to communicate new projects and even open positions.

Once you have linked to the firm, join the conversation.  Start with a topic you are familiar with and follow the firm’s lead.  Comment on some of the topics the firms is discussing, maybe post about your experience with a similar situation?  I do not recommend posting your resume to the firms fan page.  Like any professional networking, start casual, just be you’re self.

LinkedIn is also a great networking tool.  This site’s popularity has exploded in the past few years.  It is a more direct form of networking.  There are two major components to LinkedIn.  The first is building your own network of individuals.  Much like Facebook, LinkedIn lets you stay in touch with friends and network with other professional.

The second way to use LinkedIn is to join a group.  LinkedIn has many groups each with a range of interests.   These groups function like a forum and allow you to join the conversation with professionals who share the same interested and have the same background.

So how does participating in social media sites help you find a job?  Much like website, social media sites are becoming a major part of how firms network, market and hire.  Firms see these sites as a viable way to identify talent.  By participating you not only have access to some of the leaders in your field, you have an opportunity to network with them.

Blogging:

I mention blogging and not a web site because social media is about the conversation.  While having a web site is a must and a great showcase for your resume and portfolio, a blog will allow you to join the conversation in a way a static website cannot.   You can also link many of the conversations you have in forums and on social media sites to your blog, doubling your exposure.

Setting up a blog is easy.  WordPress is probably the most recognizable blog service but Google and other offer blogs for free as well.  These blog are easy to set up and easy to use.  You can have your blog on-line in less then an hour.

Once your blog is set up it is time to let your voice be heard.  But what do you talk about?  Well, what interest you?  Maybe you have a specialty in fabric specifications.  A post about the fabric used in your most recent project might be appropriate.  Maybe your hobby in sky scrapers built in the UEA?  Post about your favorite building.  What ever you put on your blog, make sure it reflects your personality and hints at your expertise.  Don’t copy what others have said, talk about your interpretation of the subject.

Why do this?  How does blogging help you find a new position?  In short, recruiters, principals and project directors are searching for you.  Having a blog makes it easy to find you with a simple Google search.  They also want to get to know you quickly; this is where a blog is your best asset.  The blog reflects your personality and experience and gives those interested an idea of your skills.  It is a statement of your background and can make a great first impression.

I hope this article on using social media helps you to strengthen your network and find a job.  Remember, the key is to be part of the conversation.  People are talking and want to hear from you.

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2 Comments

  1. Posted September 18, 2009 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    Excellent site, keep up the good work. I read a lot of blogs on a daily basis and for the most part, people lack substance but, I just wanted to make a quick comment to say I’m glad I found your blog. Thanks,

    A definite great read…:)

    -Bill-Bartmann

  2. Posted September 18, 2009 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for this article. I’m a designer currently looking for a job, and I have found the social networks very helpful. In particular, LinkedIn has helped me meet new contacts in an geographical area I am new to. It also helps me stay in touch with those I meet at a meeting or gathering where people are a bit too busy to chat. Some of my best prospects are through connections I have made on the site.


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