Extreme Job Search Strategies

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The World of Social Media

Another option for seeking out opportunities is through online social networks. On these free sites, you can post a profile (some that closely resemble a resume) and connect with people that you know, both professionally and personally. Most of these sites display a “six degrees of separation” logic, where you can look at your connection’s contacts and get introduced to professionals in your area of interest.

For many, online social networking is a relatively new job search method and many are hesitant to get out of their comfort zone, especially when it comes to utilizing new technology. Never fear, we promise that once given a short overview of all of the sites and how to get started, you will be on your way. Also, keep in mind that many employers are looking to hire people who are willing to try new things and who are up-to-date on the latest trends.

A WORD OF WARNING: those of you who have posted personal information online might be under surveillance. Job candidates who maintain profiles on social networking sites may want to reconsider its content.

Employers are now increasingly using social networks to assess job applicants, verify work experience, or even find ideal candidates based on online profiles. An online social networking site provides an unbiased, unmotivated and easily accessible source of checking out a potential employee without compromising his or her privacy. While your online profile increases your visibility, it might also jeopardize your chance of getting the job.

Recruiters are indulging in a practice commonly referred to as “informal reference checking”. Generally, recruiters and potential employers call references after a face-to-face interview. The names of the references provided by job seekers are most likely to provide a positive recommendation. Because online contact lists are typically accessible to all, hiring managers can quickly identify relevant contacts and confidentially message these people through the networking site. Is it wrong to inquire about someone without his/her knowledge? It seems to be fair game, so remember that anything you put on your site is potentially public information, and be mindful of the privacy settings on the site.

Networks to join

Many companies are now using social media as a recruiting tool! By not taking advantage of these online platforms, you may be missing out on job offers as well as valuable connections! Social media is a great way to engage and connect with both your personal and professional network!

LinkedIn : www.linkedin.com

For those of you who are nervous to try social networking online, this is a perfect first step. Linked In was designed solely for professional networking. Not only can you create a profile that closely resembles your resume, but you can search for specific people you know and join groups in your area of interest. Example: PHR professionals, St. Louis Young Professionals, etc. Depending on the headquarters/location of the group, there are often face-to-face networking opportunities scheduled and there are constant updates from people in these groups.

Facebook: www.facebook.com

Once you have figured out Linked In, you are ready to try some other ways to make online connections. Even though Facebook was initially created for college students to interact with other college students (an “.edu” email address used to be required to sign up), this site has changed dramatically over the years. Now people of all ages have profiles and are able to connect with friends and business colleagues. Just like Linked In, Facebook has user groups that you may belong to and find out more about your areas of interest.

Similar sites that you can try: Plaxo Pulse: www.plaxopulse.com, Friendster: www.friendster.com, hi5: www.hi5.com, Bebo: www.bebo.com

Twitter: www.twitter.com

Twitter is slightly different than Facebook, but extremely popular for online networking. Twitter utilizes online profiles, but is more focused on constant, short updates, called “tweets”. Once a Twitter user makes a connection, you begin following this connection’s tweets. For instance, a colleague might compose a tweet that reads: “Working on an important presentation”, or a recruiter might post something that says: “looking for candidates with SAP experience”. At the same time, as a Twitter user, you should keep people updated on your status. Examples of helpful job search tweets: “re-posted my resume”, “looking for a job”, “went on a fantastic interview”. The whole point of “tweeting” like this is to make new connections, to be following those who make hiring decisions AND at the same time, be followed by those who are making hiring decisions.

Google+ https://plus.google.com/

Launched late June 2011, Google+ has already surpassed 25 million visitors! This is a rate of adoption that far exceeds the growth curve of Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or MySpace! You may already be on Facebook and LinkedIn, so why join Google+ and how is it different? The answer is simple: CIRCLES! Circles lets you segregate your “friends” and contacts in a logical manner. Google+ enables you to put people or brands into whatever categories you choose. You can communicate with one person, one circle, a few circles, or everyone! So many options! Circles give users control over who sees their content, and users can create as many circles as they would like! The networking site connects to Google Docs so you can link out to whatever document you want, including a resume, a whitepaper, exclusive listings, etc. It is also easy to connect and to separate professional and personal contacts.  Just keep you professional contacts in a different circle than your friends and family.

Important Rules to Follow:
  • Keep your profile professional. Most sites allow you to post pictures- keep it professional (i.e., from the neck up, in appropriate attire, looking coherent, engaging in appropriate activities, etc.). Also, beware of the content that you post. Don’t post negative information about your last job, your views on gun laws, who you are currently dating, or anything that isn’t pertinent to your professional life. Hiring managers are quite aware of the online sites listed above and have been known to check out a candidate’s online profiles before offering an interview or making a final decision. By keeping your profile strictly professional, you won’t have anything to worry about.

  • Limit your contact information. Just like posting your resume online, be careful of what you include in your online profile. If you don’t want people to email or call you, you’d better keep that information private. If you aren’t comfortable giving out your personal email address, create an account for your online social networking only. Example: Sallysocialnetworking@gmail.com - make sure this email address is professional sounding. No sallylovestodance@gmail.com or sallyisagoodkisser@gmail.com

  • “Friending etiquette” - Be careful of who you invite to join your network- many online are wary of strangers contacting them to connect. Some sites do not allow you to contact people you don’t know. Before sending an invitation to connect, Linked In will ask how/where you know this particular person. If you respond “I don’t know him/her”, they won’t let you connect. But other sites like Twitter allow you to follow pretty much whomever, as long as the other person approves your request. Be aware of the rules before madly “friending” people.
Online Problems- Scams and Phishing

With the increasing popularity of social networking online comes an increase in cyber scams. When putting your resume “out there” in the online world, you become vulnerable to con artists and scams, as well as computer viruses.

Many have reported being contacted by a person claiming to be a recruiter who claims to have a job opportunity. After some talk about the job, the recruiter then asks for a credit card or bank account number to assist in exchange for job coaching or to guarantee employment.

Another common scam that has evolved out of the social networks is phishing where a con artist poses as a legitimate business, gains access to your passwords, then steals personal or financial information. Phishing has increased over 178% since 2004, so you need to be aware of who is requesting this information and if they really are who they claim to be.

We have also read about “friend requests” or messages from a friend, that when opened, delete important information from your hard drive, similar to a computer virus. This is an expensive and time consuming problem to fix!

Tips to Avoid Scams
  • Any reputable staffing agency or recruiter will not require financial compensation for their services; nor do they guarantee employment. You should never pay for “exclusive” job leads or for a job itself.

  • A recruiter may ask you questions about your skills or job history over the phone, but if you feel like the questions are not applicable to a job search or are too invasive, ask to call him/her back later. Get the name of the person, company and check with the Better Business Bureau or your local Chamber of Commerce.

  • Be wary of work-at-home scams that require an upfront financial investment upfront.

  • Read the privacy policies on a website before posting your resume- find out if the site is giving your information to anyone else.

  • If you have been scammed, take action immediately. Call your bank or credit card companies as soon as you discover the breach of security. You should also contact the major credit reporting agencies.

  • If you have been “phished”, contact the real company and let them know what happened.

  • Other places you want to identify: Better Business Bureau, Federal Trade Commission, Internet Fraud Complaint Center, National White Collar Crime Center and your local Chamber of Commerce

  • Don’t open a file if you don’t recognize the sender. Copy down their email address and try sending them a clean, new email.


JOB SEARCH SCAM QUIZ

Answer these 6 questions with either a “yes” or “no” response. Then check below to see your score.

  • You receive an email recruiting you for a job at A Big Company, Inc. The URL provided in the message is: http://www. ABigCompany.com/jobs. However, when you click on the link, the URL in the “Address” bar of your Web browser is http://216.78.94.11//ABigCompany.com/jobs/ The page you see displays A Big Company logo and links to the other parts of the A Big Company website. Can you trust that you are really viewing a page on the A Big Company website?
  • Following a link in a blog comment entry, you visit a website that displays the Monster.com logo, and it looks exactly like the Monster.com website looked when you visited it. When you view the “Address” bar of your browser, you see this URL- http://www.youcanttrustus.net/monster/com/ Can you really trust that you are applying to a job on Monster.com?

  • An acquaintance sends you a link to a job that he thought would interest you. It appears to be on Monster.com (has the Monster logo, etc.). When you click on the link to apply for it, you notice the URL in the “Address” bar of your browser- http://monster.youcantrustus.net/jobs

  • At one of the big online job boards, you find a good opportunity. When you check out the company website to learn more the employer, it looks impressive. You apply for the job. Within a few days, you receive an email from one of the company’s recruiters, asking you to fax them your driver’s license so they can begin the interview process. They say they need the license to verify that you can fulfill one of the job’s requirements- driving from one company location to another. Should you fax them the copy of your driver’s license?

  • At your favorite job board, you submit your resume for a job with A Big Company, because it looks like a good fit for you. Soon you receive an email from a recruiter representing A Big Company. He says that the company is very interested in you, but as a part of their pre-screening process, he needs to do a reference and a credit screening before any interviews are scheduled. So he wants you to send him an email with your Social Security number and the address of your last residence. His email address is ABigCompanyRecruiter@yahoo.com . Can you trust that this is a legitimate request?
  • Out of the blue, you receive an email with employment@ABigCompany.com as the “from” address. Can you trust that the message is really from A Big Company?

Give yourself a point for every “no” you answered, because all of the situations were unsafe.

6 points - Excellent! You are a “phish” and scam-proof internet pro!

5 points - Very good. Pretty safe, but not secure.

4 points - Not secure, but somewhat savvy. It would benefit to do more research on this subject.

3 points or fewer- Not Good! It would help to check out some additional resources and enlist the assistance of someone who can teach you to understand how to properly utilize the internet.

 

 

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