Michele Cuthbert is the Principal of Baker Creative, a brand architectural firm that practices a holistic branding approach which encompasses marketing, business, HR, public relations, social media and new media. Follow her on Twitter @BakerCreative or read the team’s blog.
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In an era when 50% of recent college graduates are unemployed or underemployed, according to government data analyzed by the Associated Press, the U.S. tech industry shines brightly in a dreary hiring climate. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, technology has shown a relatively steady increase in jobs created since June 2009.
As a generation, millennials have an advantage when it comes searching online for job opportunities.
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“I definitely think that my generation is more technologically dexterous, so we have the advantage in using social media,” explains Francesca Krihely, an online community manager from San Francisco. “I also think that we are in positions of power for defining the rules and regulations to some degree. The tactics we use now are going to influence how people use social media in the future.”
Know Where to Go
One of the best ways to reach find out about these opportunities is via social media. But, knowing where and when to find these openings is the key to successful job searches.
Alexa Lindsay of promotional campaigns company ePrize says that learning to wade through the glut of information available online was one of the most challenging aspects of conducting a social media-centered job search.
“Searches have become so easy,” says Lindsay. “All you have to do is type in a few words, and more than a thousand websites come up. If you rearrange the order of those words, a different set of websites come up. While technology has been a blessing by making it easier to search for jobs, companies and opportunities all over the globe, it also requires you to weed through to find what you are really looking for.“
All of the effort seems to be worth it for those who endure. According to an infographic by CareerEnlightenment.com, one in five employers use social networking sites to research job candidates. Nearly two-thirds of organizations say they have hired new talent through social media, and 56% of HR professionals search for potential candidates using networking websites. And in 2010, 92% of hiring companies planned to use social networking to recruit new talent. LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter — in that order — were the primary places hiring professionals would be looking for their next hire.
Unsurprisingly, LinkedIn remains the place to see and be seen online among professionals. All participants in this article admitted to using the online professional network more than any other social media platform during their job search.
College grad Zach Holdren says LinkedIn has been key while searching for jobs in the tech sector: “LinkedIn.com has been my best asset for learning the most valuable information about companies I’m targeting. Twitter follows by a close second.”
Know Who to Connect With
James Purdy, a recent hire at UIEvolution — a mobile, tablet, TV and automotive applications development company in Kirkland, Wash. — decided to look for a new job when his new interests waned from the direction of his day job.
“On some occasions I would even come home for lunch to work on my iOS project. I didn’t feel the same intensity with my work projects, which made the work week less personally rewarding,” Purdy says in his blog, MyiPhoneAdventure.com. “I suppose one might say I was suffering from the-grass-is-always-greener-on-the-other-side-of-the-fence syndrome, but it looked so green in the neighboring field, and I couldn’t look away.”
Purdy utilized both traditional and social media job search techniques when doing his search, and he came across the listing for his current UIEvolution position on Craigslist. To demonstrate that he possessed the skills needed for the job, Purdy made a YouTube video showing his most recent project, a nearly completed iPad app.
About a week later, Purdy heard from several companies and had several interviews, ultimately resulting in a job offer.
Social media is the ideal avenue to connect with candidates for tech opportunities. Francesca Krihely was offered a position at 10gen, the company behind open source NoSQL database system MongoDB, after connecting with key decision makers from the company via Twitter.
“I had heard about and been following 10gen for quite some time on Tumblr, Facebook and Twitter, so naturally I started following two executives — the two most public-facing people in the company,” says Krihely. “I also followed the company’s LinkedIn group and saw how the popularity and legitimacy of MongoDB had grown. After months of lurking on the sidelines, I started re-tweeting Meghan and @mongodb’s tweets in hopes of getting their attention.”
Her tactic worked, and after five months of searching, Krihely landed a position as a community manager for the company.
Both Lindsay and Krihely recommend you “watch what you tweet.”
“Job seekers should avoid creating an online presence they would not want their future boss to see,” Lindsay says. “If you are using social media to check out companies, they are doing the same for you.”
Social Media Job Listings
Every week we post a list of social media and web job opportunities. While we publish a huge range of job listings, we’ve selected some of the top social media job opportunities from the past two weeks to get you started. Happy hunting!
- Creative Director, Digital Video Production VH1 at Viacom Media Networks in New York City
- Social Media Community Manager at Ruby Tuesday in Maryville, Tenn.
- Sr. Web Developer at Dyrdek Enterprises in Los Angeles
This story originally published on Mashable here.