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As many countries in the western world have been affected by the financial crisis and subsequent budget and job cuts, more and more people have found themselves out of work – in the UK alone 2.62 million people are unemployed.
With such unprecedented levels, many of whom are young people, the Internet has become a source of information to find and search for jobs, albeit a competitive one. As such, you may be tearing your hair out desperately trying to figure out where your next break will come, whilst knowing that thousands of other people will be doing the same thing. There is help though, especially in the form of social media.
Rise in Unemployment
In the UK alone there have been extraordinary levels of unemployment, and the figure hit record breaking levels last week. According to the BBC, 2.62 million people in total are out of work, that’s a jobless rate of 8.3%, the highest it’s been since 1996. 1.02 million of those being young people aged between 16 and 24 years old, which is the highest this figure has been for 23 years.
Whether you’re young or considered more mature, one popular way to find work is through recruitment agencies, job sites, CV sites or even using search engines as a place to start. Well according to recent data, you’re not alone in doing this; in fact the career services and development sector saw huge growth in the number of visits across Europe in September 2011.
Rise in Internet Usage
ComScore have released their latest overview of European Internet Usage in September 2011, where nearly 30% of users (that’s 108.4 million unique visits) actually visited Career Development services, that’s a 14% increase on last month. When the figures are further analysed, we can see more detailed search behaviours. The biggest areas of growth included the Training and Education subcategory with a 28% month-on-month increase and the Job Search sub-category with a 21% month-on-month increase.
Clearly then, the demand for information, help and actual listed jobs has increased, and looks set to rise further as the situation looks far from resolved with minimal financial growth, especially across Europe, and especially given the Eurozone crisis.
It’s only natural that the Internet should be the first port of call for anyone looking for a job, after all, it provides information for all other aspects of our lives. For both the employer and prospective employees, it’s a platform to find and initially engage. So if you are an employer, then connecting with potential new employers via the Internet is a no brainer [See: How Companies Use the Internet When Recruiting Staff]. However what happens when traditional platforms, such as job search websites, become way too popular? How do you stand out from the crowd and not get lost with the myriad of applications? The answer lies with social media.
Job searching with Social Media
First of all, if you’re not already on them, look into Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. All three will provide you with a platform to engage with potential employers and will allow them to see you, your personality, and your career highlights if you like.
In terms of career history and as well as your skills and strengths, the best place to start is by getting a LinkedIn profile [See: Are you LinkedIn]. From here you can also connect with people within the industry your searching. Even if they don’t have a job initially, it’s good to get your name out there and show willingness to proactively engage with potential employers.
Another option is Facebook’s equivalent platform, BranchOut [See: BranchOut: The Professional Network on Facebook]. Just like with LinkedIn you can interact and engage with other professionals through ‘career networking’. Twitter is also exceptional with this, as most announcements for job vacancies are made initially with a tweet. So don’t just follow job agencies, also follow the companies you want to work for, and be the first to apply for the jobs they offer.
As with all of these platforms, it’s good to have a presence and link the URLs of your profiles on your CV, so that any potential employer can see straightaway your profile, without having to dig too deep. They’ll find this beneficial as it will save them time (and money) and it shows that you’re current and relevant.
This will also provide recruiters with the chance to see what your interests and hobbies are. They’ll be able to see your Facebook profile, which let’s be honest, is more about your social life than looking for jobs. In any case, being completely transparent about your social life will help as it initially gives the employer and idea of the real you. In this case it may be wise to check your profile and make sure there aren’t too many incriminating pictures and such.
Keep it Original
On the platforms that you’ve signed up to, as well as many industry related websites or niche sites, it’s important that you don’t just repeat yourself, or worse, copy and paste your CV or resume onto these profiles. Make sure all of your profiles reveal something original, even if it’s the same thing you want to say, rewrite it for a new audience.
This way, it’ll look more natural and the content you’ve written will be more relevant to that platform. Copy and pasting your CV across will look lazy, the content will be long and informative and it won’t do you any favours in the long run.
Keyword Optimise your CV and Profiles
Whilst you’ll be searching for a job, when the company is in the market for a new employee, they’ll be searching themselves. According to Gerrit Hall writing for Mashable, potential employers actually use search engines such as Google and Applicant Tracking Systems when looking for candidates on various social media platforms.
So if your CV is online, and you’ve signed up to various social media profiles, make sure you write what they want to hear. The more specific you are with job experience, skills, likes and interests, the more likely that an employer will find you. So use keywords related to your industry of choice, as well as keywords that all employers like to hear such as ‘reliable’, ‘proactive’, ‘confident’ and ‘hard working’.
Searching for jobs online and getting advice on careers is more popular than ever, so stand out from the crowd and do what others aren’t, take advantage of social media. This way you’ll get ahead of your competition for that all important job you so desperately want and need.
Photo of man and woman sitting back to back via BigStock