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Social Media

Whoa, @Nellie!

  • Create Twitter profile.
  • Learn about tweeting.
  • Research groups to join on LinkedIn.
  • Write blog on cover letters.
  • Reset Facebook privacy settings.
  • Work on Labor Market page for personal website.
  • Upload resume.
  • Make sure blog page, website and Twitter page
    are interconnected.

This was a page off my Social Media To-Do list a couple weeks ago. I was on my computer until 2:45 am—almost 8 hours that evening! By the time I went to bed, I was ready to pull my hair out. When I closed my eyes that night, images of tweeting birds and multiple windows danced in my head for what seemed like hours.

It was the same a few years ago when the latest craze was MySpace. My teenage daughter had just found out about it and was on the computer from the moment she came home from school until I finally closed down the computer at bedtime. When she finished creating and perfecting her own MySpace page, she started on mine. Big mistake.

Lesson learned: don’t let the teenagers have access to the embarrassing pictures.

I figured her hyper-focus on social networking sites was a teenage thing, borne of youthful exuberance and an under-developed sense of self-discipline. I have since learned otherwise. There is something about the addictive power of the Internet that can make a professional career development specialist and empty-nester lose complete control.

Anyone who has surfed the Internet for any period of time probably understands this already. When job searching, however, a certain sense of urgency seems (for me at least) to accompany the ordinary attraction to online activity. I have to get my information out there as fast as possible so the right person or company will see me. If I wait they may pass me by!

Here is where I have to feed myself a small dose of reality. First of all, social media may be a major tool, but it is by no means the only tool. There are still other ways of jobsearching and we cannot neglect them. Second, Rome wasn’t built in a day. A well-constructed and connected online presence isn’t the work of a few hours and no one should try to do so. What is the consequence of not getting my website linked to my LinkedIn site or my latest blog posted by bedtime? Probably not a lot. Unless I have been online for months or years and have built up a large following, few people are going to notice.

That’s the thing about building an online presence. Like getting published, selling a #1 record or landing a leading role in a blockbuster movie, these things take time. Rare is the case of the overnight success. My Facebook account, purely a personal one, now has 134 friends, mostly high school classmates and friends from my church. It took quite some time to accumulate that many friends. My LinkedIn account is getting close to 100 connections after being active with it for about a year. My blog only has a few followers, but I’ve only had it for a couple of weeks!

It’s not just the amount of time put into perfecting your online profiles that make the difference, but where and what we put those efforts into. Some of my customers who have opened LinkedIn profiles complain  that they haven’t gotten any closer to getting a job and LinkedIn hasn’t done them any good. I ask them what they’re doing with LinkedIn.

“I look at their job listings and ask my connections if they have any jobs,” is usually the reply.

Imagine walking into a large party full of people. You walk around, introducing yourself to them, and as soon as you give your name you ask them if they have any jobs! What result will that bring—particularly if you are asking for a nursing position in a room full of lawyers?

My point is that we need to make sure we are not wasting our efforts doing things online that give little or no positive results, just as we would outside in the ‘real world’. While I might ask my friends on Facebook if they know of anyone looking for an administrative assistant or cashier, I know that those friends know and care about me enough to keep a look out. When I am talking to online connections and groups on LinkedIn, however, most of those people know little of me if anything at all. I might ask for an introduction to a connection of my connection, or start a discussion in a group of people with similar backgrounds and interests. These people do not know me. I have to make myself known to them. I have to stand out from the crowd.

That’s my online goal—to stand out. I share my experience. I give assistance. I establish myself as knowledgeable and expert in my field. I do that in many ways, and hopefully those ways lead to results.

But I now only do it an hour a day—that’s my limit!

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About kimberlyjmyers

I am a workforce development professional in Washington State. I have ten years experience working with dislocated workers, vocationally impaired, and people with disabilities on many levels and backgrounds from offenders to non-English speaking refugees from around the world. The One thing the clients I have worked with all had in common: there was some barrier to employment, and I work diligently every day to identify, address and remove those barriers.

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