Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn: A help rather than a hindrance to jobseekers?

It's official! The media finally seem to recognise that social networks, including Facebook and Twitter, have a serious and constructive purpose.

After all of the horror and scare stories, the balance was redressed a bit by yesterday's London Evening Standard. Under the heading 'Is your online profile good enough to make finding a new job easy?', a full page of the Business Section was devoted to the power of online networks in job search.

According to the article, written by Jackie Switzer and based on a survey by Harvey Nash recruitment consultants and the Department for Work and Pensions, a third of employers in the UK are using social networking sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter to connect to potential recruits.

Rather than taking the typical media focus of employers looking for something negative in people's profiles, the article studies how a good online networking strategy can make all of the difference for candidates in a very competitive market.

Dhana Markanday of Reed is quoted as saying, "An extensive LinkedIn profile could make the difference between getting an interview or not", while Rob Grimsey of Harvey Nash calls a jobseeker's online presence "the most important marketing and strategy document you will produce to advance your career."

The article makes it clear that you need to approach your membership of these sites carefully, but not for the obvious reasons.

"Senior people create LinkedIn profiles and then they don't maintain them. That is a missed opportunity", says Grimsey. "Equally they can create profiles which can look too desperate, with thousands of connections."

LinkedIn Open Networkers take note!

The value of a strong online network cannot be underestimated. Not only is it vital for jobseekers, the article also emphasises how recruiters will identify prospective candidates from those not currently actively seeking work, based on strong networking links and professional relationships online.

The last word goes to Matt Burney, who was made redundant from his Sales Director post at the beginning of June.

"When I was told I was being made redundant, I posted it on LinkedIn and Twitter. Within six hours I had nine meetings arranged."

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