In a previous post, I spoke of the importance of building your brand. Building your personal brand is extremely important when networking because you want to make yourself easily recognizable to those you are trying to attract. This is particularly important when conducting a job search. Through technology, it is easier than ever to build your personal brand and network yourself into a position without ever having to begrudgingly search and apply for positions throughJob Boards – which, according to a recent Jobvite survey, are on their way out of the job search scene.

Increased Use of Social Networking Sites

Because approximately 80% of people now get a job through networking, it makes sense that companies are increasingly turning to various forms of social media to advertise for, and recruit, new talent. Of the 440 companies who responded to the2009 Jobvite survey

   – 76% plan to invest more in employee referrals (68% in 2008)

   – 72% plan to invest more in recruiting through social networks

   – 75%+ plan to invest less in more costly sources (job boards, third-party recruitment and campus

           recruitment)

   – 80% currently use or are planning to use social networking to find and attract candidates

               – 95% will use LinkedIn (80% in 2008)

               – 59% will use Facebook (36% in 2008)

               – 42% will use Twitter

What Does This Mean For Job Seekers?

The survey results above are just one example of many that suggest Job Boards are becoming a thing of the past. Note to all the Job Seekers of the world – Get off the Job Boards!!! Spend your time and effort on more productive search techniques, such as creating and fully updating your LinkedIn profile – thereby connecting directly to the people who have the power to hire you!  

Of course, this is where your personal branding will come into play. Using your social networking sites(s) as a tool in the job search requires that you be sure to polish and protect your most valuable asset – you! Here are a couple of tips:

Polish your brand: Rule #1 in creating a social networking page is to make sure your profile is clean and professional. Remove all questionable contacts and photo’s, and keep it specific to your job search goals. Complete your profile 100% of the way by filling in all categories, and requesting recommendations from reputable references. If companies are researching your social networking site, showcasing your best assets on your profile is a must. Update your status frequently, so others know what you are currently working on – it serves as a conversation piece when connecting with new people. Once your account is complete, promote your URL’s wherever possible, like on your resume and as part of your email signature. The more exposure, the better.

Advertise your brand: Like I said above, if you aren’t visible, you don’t exist.  Make sure people know you are actively using your social networking sits(s) for the job search, and drive traffic there! This is a great way for people to learn about you, and what you are interested in doing. If you are searching for a job, let everyone know you are looking, and refer them to your account for a more detailed picture of what you can do, and what your previous accomplishments are. Believe me, people will look.

There are many pieces to the puzzle: Job searching via social networking is a excellent tool for the job search; however, it cannot be the only tool you use. You MUST also build a strong network elsewhere. As convenient as social networking is, it cannot replace face-to-face contact. Remember the 60-30-10 rule when conducting any job search – 60% of your time needs to be in-person. Regardless of how effective social networking sites are, they will never replace the value of face-to-face contact.