We know social media is playing a large role in job recruiting, but how big? Jobvite recently looked at how companies like Whole Foods, Etsy, Starbucks and Zappos are recruiting online. Here are the findings.
LinkedIn Takes the Lead
It should be no surprise that companies recruited the highest number of employees through LinkedIn. Out of all social hires, LinkedIn accounted for 73%, while Facebook lagged behind with 20%, and Twitter 7%.
Surprisingly, though, Facebook beat LinkedIn by 2% (43%) of employee referral hires through social networks. I suppose it makes sense considering people tend to be more interactive on Facebook, and LinkedIn takes more of an effort to interact. Many users seem to use it more as their online professional profile. It’s easy to put up a profile, connect to people and let others come to you rather than really use all of it’s features to its full potential.
While you know that having a friend refer you for a job gives you a boost toward getting hired, it shows in these results as well. For every 10 applications a company gets, one referral applicant is hired, as opposed to one out of every 100 general applications.
What Industries Turn to Social Media?
Not every industry uses Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to find new hires. These industries ranked highest among those that do:
5. Customer Service
There are also certain roles that get recruited more online than others, and on different social networks. On LinkedIn, Product Management and IT roles were the highest type shared, while on Facebook, it was Marketing and Customer Support jobs. On Twitter, companies looked for Administrative and Accounting & Finance staff.
Clearly, the way companies look for new employees is changing with social media being an easy way to either amplify a job posting or access talent quicker than more traditional ways of the past.
How Can I Find a Job Through Social Media?
If you’re not already looking for a job through social media, set up a profile, connect with the companies you’re interested in working for, and start sharing posts that illustrate your knowledge in your industry. Share posts and links to content that speaks to your industry, and ask and answer questions. The more complete your online profiles, the higher chance you’ll have of being “shortlisted” by potential employers and recruiters.
But be proactive! Also look out for which accounts post jobs (sometimes a company has multiple accounts, especially on Twitter, and may have a dedicated job profile set up) and act quickly when you see a job you want.
Image credits: Jobvite
If you’re considering your next job move, you may wonder whether it’s better to work for a large corporation or a small business. On one hand, big business often offers you as an employee more opportunities (or different opportunities) for advancement and a more competitive package, especially benefits.. On the other, working for a small company can expose you to many parts of a growing business you may not otherwise experience and operate at a more agile pace, and include you much sooner in business changing decisions. Which you choose depends on your own personal preference for work environment.
Benefits to Large Businesses
Bigger businesses tend to have more formal and comprehensive benefits packages than smaller firms. You may have lower health insurance premiums that cover more of your medical expenses, as well as 401k matching and other perks.
Working for a bigger business, you’re more likely to have more resources at your disposal, such as newer technology, software and support staff or other employees who can help you with your work. You may have more opportunity to move up in ranks simply because there are ranks to move up; small businesses, by their nature, are smaller and have fewer roles for you to occupy.
Drawbacks to Large
Bureaucracy is a common complaint at larger businesses. If you want something done, it may take five signatures from executives who are rarely in the office. Decisions often take time. If flexibility is something you crave in a job, you may not find it at larger corporations, as it’s harder to quickly change the more the company is set in its ways.
Employees of big corporations often are restricted to a limited job description, which, if you prefer dabbling in different areas, may lead you to feeling like a small cog in a large wheel. There may also be a long lineup of employees vying for the next leadership position and you could easily be passed up by someone else internally.
Benefits to Small Business
If you’re looking for the opportunity to feel like you are part of the growth and success of a company, small business may be the direction to take. There are approximately 95,000 small businesses that employ up to 49 people in the US, according to ADP. Each offers a work experience you simply won’t get at a bigger firm.
Small companies often require you to wear many hats, due to smaller payroll budgets. So if you work in marketing and are curious about communications or PR, chances are you can take on some of that work at a smaller company.
Many employees feel like their opinions are valued and used in smaller companies, who have the nimbleness to change directions as needed, and have less red tape to get to a decision than larger firms.
Drawbacks to Small
If you’re looking for major perks and benefits, small businesses can’t always deliver. And your salary may not be as competitive as with a bigger company. Some employees of small firms may feel overworked because they take on a larger role than they would elsewhere, and opportunities to be promoted to other roles may be limited.
Small businesses may not have as many resources for professional development, such as tuition reimbursement, or the opportunity to attend conferences, which is a negative for some employees. You may also be on your own when starting a new role at a small company, simply due to the fact that there may not be someone to ease you into your new role.
Every company varies, and these characteristics aren’t meant to define all small or large companies. Look at each job opening individually, and weigh the perks and drawbacks of each, no matter the size of the company.
As social media becomes a valid source for finding a job or networking with people who can help your career, it can be harder to stand out in a sea of Tweets and status updates. If you’re not sure how to use social media for job hunting, here’s a list of seven types of updates you can use to get the attention of employers and industry leaders.
The key is to connect with people who work at the companies you’re interested in, as well as industry colleagues. Blanket following any and everyone won’t help you achieve this, so focus tightly on the right network.
1. Share Your Content
You should have a blog to show off your writing style as well as your philosophy on your industry. Share these posts through your social media channels.
2. Reshare Others’ Content
If you scan through your contacts’ Tweets, Facebook updates, LinkedIn posts and Google + links, you’ll likely find tons of links to articles and blog posts that you enjoy. Read and comment on them, but also reshare them. This shows the person who originally share the article that you’re paying attention. Try to include a personal comment (“I really need to work on Shelly’s fifth tip for writing!”) to give it a personal touch.
3. Ask a Question
Industry experts are on social media, and with the right approach, available to you. Why not get advice or start a conversation as a way to connect? Say you’re in PR (or want to be): you could ask a journalist or owner of a PR company their thoughts on a current industry issue. It’s a good conversation starter, and one others might jump in on.
4. Answer a Question
Besides the usual social channels, there are sites like LinkedIn Answers, Quora and Focus where users ask questions and get answers from others. You can be on either side of this fence, but answering questions shows you’re knowledgeable in your field. Follow anyone who asks a question in your field, as well as others who answer them to build your network.
5. Comment on News and Trends
Employers want to hire people who are passionate about what they do and knowledgeable about industry news and trends. The best way to stay on top of them? See what people are saying on social media and share your own insights. Got an issue with the Online Piracy Act? Voice your opinions. But make sure your comments aren’t emotionally based and have fact to them, or they might turn off potential employers.
6. Connect on a Personal Level
Not every Tweet and status update has to be about work and your industry. Get to know the people you’re connected with. Wish them a happy birthday. Ask about their kids. Respond to their personal status updates. It’s a good way to build trust without an agenda.
7. Follow Hashtags
Hashtags are designed to help people find information about a particular area of interest. That might be your next #PRJobs or advice from #journchat. Not only do you learn things, but you also get great contacts.
There’s a million ways to use social media to network and find your next job. Use a combination of all these strategies to come up with your own way.
You know you can use the Internet to look for a job and to network to find one, but here are other ways you can do your own research to better position you to be hired.
Research the Company
Everyone says it, but I still hear back from hiring managers all the time about candidate’s lack of knowledge and preparation for an interview. The more you know about the company you’re interviewing with, the more you’ll impress hiring managers. Your preparation could be the determining factor between continuing in the process or being lead out of the interview quickly. A simple search online should net you plenty of information – but you should dig deeper. You can use sites like Glassdoor.com to read reviews about certain companies. Searching LinkedIn’s company tool can give you insight into movement in the company, recent news, new hires/departures, etc. And of course, the company website you should have read thoroughly including the company’s mission statement and values if posted.
Use this findings of your research to build a list of key questions you want to learn more about in the interview. It will show the hiring manager that 1. you did your research and 2. you are genuinely interested in learning more and making an educated decision in your next career move.
Research Key Decision Makers at Your Target Companies
Want to work in the marketing department? Find out who’s running it. Then start networking with that person online long before you apply for a position.
Connect with that person on LinkedIn. You don’t want to abuse that connection by being pushy about a job, but later when you apply for a job, you can reference the connection.
Find a common thread in her history. Maybe you both graduated from the same school. Any sort of personal details you can glean from Facebook or LinkedIn profiles, the more conversation you can start in an interview. If, for example, you see that a hiring manager is from a city in Europe where you studied, you can bet she will be surprised if you mention the fact in a cover letter or interview. You’re sure to stand out!
Find Job Openings Directly
Sometimes companies only post jobs on their own websites rather than on more popular job boards. Sometimes companies never get around to actually posting a job opening. Search Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn updates to find a potential opening directly. On Twitter, you can also run these types of searches in Tweetdeck or simply subscribe to the search via RSS. You can also run searches (try PR Manager hiring or whatever keywords you think someone might put in a conversational update about an open position) on LinkedIn using their Signal product to monitor what people on the platform are posting. Do the same on Facebook and look at the results in “posts from friends” and “public updates.”
Make a list of the companies you’d like to work for, and regularly check for updates on their Jobs page. You should also follow those companies on LinkedIn and if you see the current PR Manager left the company, it could indicate a new opening to inquire about promptly.
Find Out What You’re Worth
Internet helps you do research on salaries. Tools like Salary.com or Glassdoor.com can tell you the range of what you can earn in a particular profession in your geographical market.
Once you’re offered a position, you can use the research to negotiate an appropriate salary. Take your experience and location into consideration, as they may put you above or below the range you find on these sites. I find that some of the general salary sites offer very wide ranges and don’t take into account certain industry factors, but it should give you a general sense.
Improve Your Hireability
Stay on top of industry trends through blogs and niche websites so that when you interview you won’t be caught off guard if you’re asked about a current event you haven’t even heard of. Skim the headlines before an interview so you are up to speed on any breaking news. Following some key industry new sources in a RSS feed or on Twitter is a good way to keep up-to-date.
When is the last time you gave yourself a self-evaluation? Can you easily discuss and demonstrate your professional strengths? When searching for a job, you need to know what makes you different and how you can stand out from the crowd of competition.
Discovering Your Strengths
While you probably have an idea of what you are good at when it comes to your main strengths, you likely take many of them for granted. Perhaps you don’t realize how much you do excel in certain areas in comparison to other people in similar positions, especially in the beginning of your career or if you work in a company that doesn’t offer much feedback.
Look at what you enjoy doing and listen to when you receive a compliment. What skills did it take to accomplish the project you were complimented on? Make a list of the activities or responsibilities you enjoy and that you accomplish easily.
Ask for feedback from friends and colleagues. Save your old performance reviews to reflect upon the comments your previous bosses have given and areas where you have continued to professionally develop.
What to Do with Weaknesses
It’s just as important to understand your professional weak spots. Be honest with yourself. What do you typically try to avoid doing in your job? What tasks tend to be delegated to other team member regularly? The answers are signs that will help you determine some of the areas you need to work on.
Improving Your Resume
Once you’ve identified both your strengths and weaknesses, take another look at your resume. Find ways to inject more of your strengths in for each job listed on your resume. And if you’re applying for a specific job, look to see what the role requires and match your skill set to those responsibilities.
The more detailed you are in terms of numbers, the more qualified and confident you come across on paper.
How to Sell Yourself
When it comes to the job interview, your resume will get you in the door, but it’s up to you to sell yourself. Don’t be afraid to point out your best qualities and show prospective employers how you have taken initiative to work on your weaker areas.
If you’re asked one of those difficult questions, like “what is your greatest weakness,” use it to show your self-confidence and show you are self-aware. Admit where you’ve faltered in the past, and explain how you identified this as something to work on, as well as your progress in that area.
Knowing your professional strengths can only help your job search and will enable you to craft a more appealing presentation to future employers.
With your social calendar full of holiday parties this time of year, take advantage of the opportunity to network and build contacts that might help you find a job. Here are 10 tips to help you.
- Schedule as many networking opportunities as possible. This includes holiday parties at companies you want to work for, as well as networking groups, conferences, workshops and one-on one events. While you don’t want to overbook yourself to the point of exhaustion, you want to take advantage of this season, which has more events than the rest of the year. Plus, people are in better moods right now, thanks to the holidays, which is even more of a reason to kick networking into high gear!
- Don’t pitch yourself at the party. Focus on making friends. Yes, you want a job. But networking isn’t about pushing your agenda. It’s about making contacts and nurturing them. So you might meet a hiring manager at a party tomorrow. Rather than announcing your needs in the job department, follow up with an email. Then invite her to coffee or lunch. Maintain the relationship, and at the right time, you can ask about a job. Tactfully.
- Don’t slack off on the job hunt right now. It might be tempting to forgo your daily job search to wrap gifts instead, but you’d be making a big mistake. Many people assume job hunting is dead during the holidays, but in fact, the holidays are a great time to work on those relationships. Hiring managers are more available with work slowing, so it’s a great time to make contact, either over the phone or in-person.
- Strategically plan to be at parties where you know key decision makers will be. If you’re not sure which parties to fill your dance card with, aim for the ones with people who work for the companies you want to work for. If you’re lucky, you might have a friend who works for that company who can invite you to the annual holiday party. But also look at networking groups (check Meetup and see who the members are) to find the key decision makers.
- Send holiday cards as followup to meeting people. Networking isn’t just about drinking eggnog with other people; it also includes the follow-up. This time of year, you will stand out by sending a holiday card to your newly-made contacts. Handwrite a short note telling them how nice it was to meet them at the X party. Include your business card if you didn’t already exchange them at the party. Include a personal mention, playing off the conversation you had (“I hope your son wins the soccer tournament!”) to add a little more intimate connection.
- Schedule a coffee meeting if you feel the connection is solid enough. As you nurture these contacts, you’ll interact with them more and more. It might start out with a few emails back and forth. But if it feels right (you think the person will be receptive), invite your new contact out for coffee. Your objective here isn’t to ask for a job, but rather to get advice. Maybe it’s to ask what this particular company looks for in an employee, or maybe it’s to get mentored on how you can improve your skills to be more hireable. If your contact is comfortable with you and is in a position to help, let her ask if she can give you a reference or set up an interview.
- Find local meetings in your industry and participate. A great way to meet the movers and shakers in your industry is by diving in headfirst. Find groups in your area that meet monthly to discuss topics that relate to your field. This will help you get the behind-the-scenes buzz on who’s hiring and what they’re looking for.
- Don’t drink too much! We’ve all heard about the office party that went a little crazy. While it’s fine to have a glass of wine, remember you’re networking to impress. If the hiring manager’s memory of you involves a lampshade, you probably won’t fall high on the hiring list.
- Focus on giving, rather than getting. Networking is about creating value. Don’t go into it looking for what you can get out of it. Instead, focus on how you can make yourself useful to new people. Maybe you can recommend a good book to read, or connect a new contact to a graphic designer if she’s looking for one. The more you give, the more people will stick around. And they’ll want to give back to you!
- Don’t forget your business cards! This one seems like a no-brainer, but I can’t tell you how many industry events I’ve attended where people had forgotten their business cards! Make sure yours has up-to-date contact information, and that you have enough to exchange. (Better too many than not enough!)
Keep these tips in mind as you network throughout December. Remember, it’s about developing long-term relationships, not getting what you want right now.
You know it’s coming. The dreaded interview question.
“What’s your greatest weakness? or “Where do you see yourself in five years?”
Questions like these set you up to be tongue tied. How can you answer them and seem like you’re giving a true-to-self answer, while still pleasing your interviewer?
One thing to note: questions like these are often asked by untrained interviewer. It’s a typical question that usually generates a typical response. It’s easy to say that your greatest weakness is being a perfectionist, or wanting to take on too many projects at once. Isn’t that the answer that the hiring manager wants to hear? Not always.
How do you answer these questions other than to give the interviewer what you think she wants to hear?
Go Into Your Interview Armed with Answers
If you know what to expect in terms of questions, you’ll be less likely to draw a blank for an answer. Read up on the most commonly asked interview questions so you know what to expect. Then, before your interview, sit down and consider how you would answer some of the commonly asked questions (even the dumb ones). Practice your answers in front of a mirror. Aim to make eye contact and be confident in your answer. Repeat this until you stop laughing at yourself!
Aim for the Diplomatic Truth
Sure, you may be applying for a job simply because you need a job, but that’s probably not the answer that will get you hired. Find a better way to word the truth.
Why are you interested in our company?
The truth: They pay well and have a killer bonus structure.
The better truth: Explain that you’re looking to expand your experience. You like the structure. You feel it’s a place where you can help make a difference and find that your core values align with theirs (make sure you know their core values and you’ve read their mission statement!).
What did you leave your last job?
The truth: Your boss had it in for you.
The better truth: You were ready for a new opportunity that would allow you to grow.
What’s your greatest weakness?
The truth: You have none! Of course….
The better truth: Be honest. Pick your true weakness, but be ready to show how you have worked to improve it and how it can also be a strength. Maybe it’s that it’s hard for you to delegate, or the fact that you’re no good at multitasking (that’s actually not a weakness, despite what employers would have you believe). Shape your answer so that the hiring manager sees that you are aware of a weakness, but are ready to make it work for you.
Realize that the interviewer may be trying to bait you to see if you’ll talk negatively about a former employer. Don’t fall for it. Never show your emotion or frustration for a previous employer in an interview.
Also, an employer might present these difficult questions simply to see if you have a realistic sense of self. Telling them with what they want to hear may not score you points. Be true to yourself and don’t pigeonhole yourself into a place you don’t want to be in. If you get the job, you certainly don’t want to have presented yourself falsely in the interview.
Many people assume that the job market slows around the holidays and end of year, but that’s not true. It’s actually a good time to step up your networking and job seeking, so that you position yourself to be the candidate companies turn to when they’re ready to hire.
Think of it like this: Many companies are trying to fill their open requisitions so new employees can start fresh in the new year. Sometimes they need to use up their hiring budget before January. Plus, people tend to be lax on everything during the holidays. People are taking time off to hang out with friends and family. Fewer job seekers are working hard to network, so this gives you the leg up if you dedicate yourself to rubbing elbows with hiring managers. There are plenty of networking events and holiday parties going on, which give you the chance to connect with people from companies where you want to work.
Business is slower for companies, so you’re more likely to get through to the decision maker by phone. You can get more insight about what the company is really looking for in a job candidate (sometimes what the job description doesn’t mention), and you can forge a connection by putting a voice with a name that you only knew via email.
January hiring usually increases a bit, so even if a company isn’t hiring in November or December, you’ll be on your toes by staying up to date on the latest jobs all holiday season long. Your resume will be updated and you’ll know who’s hiring if you continue full-force through the holiday season.
What You Should Be Doing
Make the most of the holidays for networking opportunities. End of the year networking opportunities are abound – from neighborhood get togethers and year-end events for your kids’s school to company holiday parties and holiday networking events. You never know where you might meet your next job connection.
Talking about the holidays is a great way to put people at ease this time of year, whether you’re in a job interview or attending a professional function. Work to build relationships with people, not by announcing your availability and need for a job, but taking an opportunity to get to know them and show a genuine interest in building a relationship. Then follow-up by email or phone occasionally, and when they’re ready to hire, you’ll be top of mind.
You could also send holiday cards to anyone you’ve submitted a resume to or interviewed with recently. Include your business card and a personal note reminding them how you met. Don’t mention anything about the job; stick to holiday wishes.
If you’ve recently graduated or are having trouble getting your foot in the door in your industry of choice, have you considered interning? Interning gives you experience in a variety of areas, and it’s easier to get in a company as an intern than as a full-time employee.
Working as an intern in PR, you can learn how to write press releases, pitch editors and maintain media relationships: all of the skills you will need in a full-time role. You may get invaluable experience in a particular industry that will also make you more marketable.
Having an internship on your resume impresses potential employers and makes you more hireable. It may open the door to a full-time position at the company you intern with if you network with the right people. When my public relations search firm, does get the occasional entry-level positions, our clients almost always ask for a candidate with at least two solid internships under their belt.
Maximize Your Internship
Having an internship is your chance to beef up your resume. Come to the role with ideas of what is it you hope to get out of the internship and seek opportunities to learn. You’re in the position of being able to expand your skillset, getting real world experience, so take advantage of it!
Observe others; you can often learn from other people, not only about how to do a job, but also how to be professional in the workplace, and how to interact with co-workers. If you’re lucky, you’ll find someone who will take you under her wing and teach you what you need to know to succeed.
Where to Find Internships
If you’re in college, check to see if you have a career center that can help you find an internship. Talk to your professors to see if they know of companies who may hire you as an intern. Often the good word from a professor who knows you is enough to get you in, even if you have zero experience.
Many colleges offer recent graduates similar services, so check your alumni network to see if there are any internship sources.
Online, there are several sites that focus on helping you find internships, like USAIntern and About’s Internship Page. If you’re looking for an internship in marketing, PR or social media, try Hoojobs.
Social media offers some inroads to interning as well. Check out hashtags #entrypr, #printern, and #happo on Twitter for internship listings, as well as great advice from PR pros for beginners.
If there’s a specific company you’d love to work for, approach them directly with a pitch on how you’d help them as an intern. Just be sure you can show you competencies because the firm will want the sense that they won’t have to spend a lot of time babysitting you.
According to Heather Huhman, Generation Y Author, Columnist and Mentor,
“In order to determine if an internship program is a good one, look at the following characteristics: mentorship, education, meaningful work, culture, recommendations, and networking opportunities. It shouldn’t matter if you intern at a “big name” company–startups and small businesses provide great experiences, too!”
Things to Know
Internships don’t always pay, so you need to be able to afford to work for free. Not everyone has the flexibility of being able to work without pay, so make sure it’s the right time in your life to do so, or try to find an internship that pays at least minimum wage.
If you’re in college, you may be able to get credit for your internship. Talk to your career center to find out what you need to do to qualify for college credit. You may need some documentation signed by the company who hires you, so arrange for all of that up front.
Your internship should revolve around the types of work you want to do. Unfortunately, some companies take advantage of interns and use them as gophers (“go-pher a cofee for me, go-pher a stapler…”). Set your expectations up front so you know what roles you will be assigned.
Dress up, dress down, a black suit, skirt or pants, hair loose or pulled back….. how you dress for the interview may influence the hiring manager’s decision. See my post on US News & World Report for the tips from industry experts: How to Dress for a Job Interview