Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Have Pittsburgh Job Seekers and Recruiters Jumped on the Social Media Band Wagon?

Facebook. Twitter. LinkedIn. These and literally hundreds of other networking sites on the Internet, with new ones popping up everyday, have seen dramatic increases this year in both traffic and news headlines. Pittsburgh area jobseekers and recruiters are just now realizing the advantage of using these newer tools in their recruitment and search mix (along with the rest of the country).

LinkedIn, considered to be populated by a more professional networking audience, allows users to build out an online resume showing career history, awards, group memberships and education background. Users can communicate both publically and in private. Due to the popularity of employment networking on LinkedIn the site has been actively pursuing this as a revenue stream.

Facebook is more family and friends oriented. Once you create a profile on Facebook the site helps you locate people you might know by looking for similar school histories, hometowns and more. You can allow the site access to your email contact list and it will tell you if any of those emails are registered with the site. The biggest advantage Facebook offers jobseekers and recruiters are “Groups” established on the site specifically set up to help them find one another. These are usually uncovered by doing searches on the site or from “Friends” passing along information (called viral).

Then there is
Twitter. Everyone it seems is still trying to figure out what to do with Twitter. How to use it and NOT use it has become the topic of hundreds of news articles, blog posts and even “Tweets” (postings on Twitter). Twitter is a “micro blogging” site that lets you tell, in 140 characters or less, what you are doing. Pick any topic, hobby, political view, or quest and you will find “Tweeps” (people who use twitter) that specialize in what you are looking for. This allows you to “Follow” any and all whom you find interesting and eventually build a list of hundreds or even thousands of “Tweeples” (also people who use Twitter). If you are so inclined, you also have the ability to build your own following depending on how public you wish to be. As a job seeker or recruiter this gives you the ability to find one another, or those with similar interests, and communicate on regular, even daily, bases.

How the social networking phenomena will change the recruitisphere is so far unknown. Some consider most of it a fad that will fade over time. Many believe it is only in its infancy and will eventually transform how jobs are filled even more than the advent of the big job board. If any of you who are reading this are not at least putting your toe in the water, you are missing out on a very important tool for your toolbox. Pittsburgh, it seems, is embracing this new way of communicating as well as most areas of the country. Local communities of people who otherwise have never met are forming bonds and taking advantage of this new ability to “get their story out”.

If you have read this with familiarity because you use these resources then you can feel good that you are ahead of the curve. If you have resisted taking the social networking plunge we ask “what are you waiting for”? Since it can take a few months to get up and running on these sites, and build a network that can be of value, starting now can mean the difference between a three month job search and a six month job search! But remember, these are additional tools in your toolbox. No successful carpenter uses only one tool!