This is a guest post by Sam Hamilton. Follow her on Twitter @SamJHamilton.
Recently I was fortunate enough to be asked to sit on an alumni career panel at my alma mater, Roger Williams. As a former political science (and communications) major, I was put on the Government/Political Science/International Relations panel. Because of some of the work I’ve been doing with our public affairs practice, I felt comfortable talking about alternative, private-sector applications for a political science degree.
Here I was, sitting on a panel with a congressional candidate, a director of government affairs for a university, and a state government staffer and talking about the importance of networking to find your first job. While some of my fellow panelists were talking up the merits of networking events, cold calls and resume drops, I found it astounding that they were all missing SOCIAL networking. Traditional networking methods have strong merits, and I’m not knocking them, but for the current generation of entry-level job seekers, social networking has a tremendous value. A value, I found, that is greatly UNDER-valued in fields other than PR.
Time for a trip down memory lane. A year ago I was a college senior, completely terrified of joining the real world and completely lost on how to effectively look for a job. Sure, my school’s Career Center offered advice and training, but traditional methods just weren’t working for me. The prospect of graduating without ever even getting a response to my inquiries scared me to death.
So, I started job hunting my own way. I continued scouring job boards, attending networking events, and responding to advertisements. But on the side I digitally stalked every company I had an interest in (it’s less creepy than it sounds, I promise!). Then, I started following their employees and, ultimately, connecting with them (okay, this might have been a little weird). Within a month of employing this new strategy, I had connected with an employee of Racepoint Group and struck up a conversation. Ultimately, she passed along my resume and the rest, as we say, is history.
This little reminiscing interlude has a point, I promise. Networking through social channels really works and I’m living, working, RPGing proof! I’m also advocating, strongly, that social networking for your job hunt doesn’t have to be limited to just public relations. Don’t believe me? Here are 25 Twitter Chats that prove it. It’s also true that there are employers from every industry included in LinkedIn’s over 100 million users. So is your job hunt stagnating? Put yourself out there on social networks to rejuvenate your search.
What are your thoughts on using social networks for job searches?