There are so many professional and social networks available now, that trying to keep up with them all would be a full time job on its own. For the purposes of a job search, we recommend that you join two: LinkedIn and Twitter.
LinkedIn – http://www.linkedin.com/
The best news is that you, the user, have complete control over what those employers find when they view your LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn profiles also tend to rate very high in Google searches, giving you the opportunity to control your personal marketing message.
Significant thought and consideration should be put into creating a profile that maximizes your marketability. An appropriate profile is crucial for your success on LinkedIn. Do not start to publicize your account until you have created a workable profile.
LinkedIn is the best site for revealing hidden connections that you might not have known existed. For example, LinkedIn, via its three degrees of connections, can reveal that Dovid, a friend from your yeshiva days, knows a hiring manager at a company of interest to you. You can then contact Dovid, reminisce about the good old days, and then ask him to pass your resume to his contact at that company.
LinkedIn also provides a recruitment product to an employer that searches employee’s contact lists for contacts that meet certain search criteria. Those employees are then asked to rate their contact’s appropriateness for actual job openings. Thus, being connected to friends and acquaintances at major companies may open you up to job opportunities that have yet to be released to the public!
Twitter – https://twitter.com/
While Twitter is most commonly associated with Facebook and social networking websites, it is a powerful tool for job seekers. A well written, professional “Tweet” can announce your job search to a very large audience. Many professions have designated search words (know as hash-tags that place a “#” before designated words, e.g. #edchat) that direct Twitter users to the inside discussions on a particular topic. Often, designated times are set for Twitter chats, utilizing a specific hash-tag that brings together people of similar interests for discussion of particular topics. Engaging in those conversations and using the appropriate hash-tags can garner attention from a wide array of professionals in your field.
Be careful when using Twitter for professional networking purposes. A unique Twitter account (usually consisting of your name) should be created for the purposes of your job search. Make sure that ALL your Tweets are of a professional nature. If you would like to send out Tweets of a non-professional nature, establish a secondary Twitter account using a username for that purpose.
A Final Warning
Because of their marketing campaigns targeted for prospective employees, Facebook can be a great way to identify new job opportunities. It is OK from a career standpoint to have accounts on other social networking sites, like Facebook, but be very careful what you post. You must consider anything you post anywhere online as public knowledge (Facebook pages also receive a very high ranking in Google searches).
People have a tendency to let their guard down on social networking sites. Things that may seem to be innocuous or funny can come back to haunt you. Once something is posted, it can never be fully removed. If you would not be comfortable having your post or picture as the headline in the New York Times, do NOT post it online.
We welcome your feedback. Please email your career-related inquiries and/or feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.