Sunday, 18 October 2009

Internet Jobsearch Part 4 - Social Web Presence



SOCIAL WEB

Employers and recruiters routinely check out people online to see if their application forms are thruthful, and whether there is more information about them on the web than they have supplied in their CV or application letter. A quick search on google, or using a people search engine like pipl.com can yield a much better insight into what a job applicant is really like, showing details of who their friends are, and their social interests.

• Jobsearch need not be an individual activity if you get your whole social network on your side, helping find each other new career opportunities. The people in your network can be an invaluable source of help, advice and referrals. Tell your network about your jobsearch activities, ask for referrals.

• Tell others about opportunities you find which you think might interest them. For example if you find out about a new company opening in your town, it may not offer the type of work you are looking for, but it may be of interest to someone in your network, or their family, neighbours or friends.

• It’s not a good idea to say bad things about your work or employer on your social web profile.

• Check the privacy settings on your social network accounts, and think about what you want to be public, and what you’d prefer to be private between you and your close friends and family.

• Some employers keep tabs on their employee’s social web activities, and those who bring their company into disrepute are sometimes sacked as a result of what they say online. Sometimes what you think is a joke, or amusing photograph might be perceived differently by your boss, co-workers, or others in your company.

• Some subjects are best avoided on your social web profile (and also where you comment or are mentioned on other people’s sites) as they can give the wrong impression to a recruiter. References to drugs, alcohol, sex, illegal activities and extremist views (e.g. racism/sexism/homophobia) are all likely to influence recruiters negatively.

• Check what people will find if they search for you on google or pipl.com. If you find things you’d prefer employers not to see, take steps to remove content or ask friends to remove (e.g. drunken party photographs) from their sites. Photographs are a common feature of search results for people, so you may want to review what photos come up in results, and post new, more appropriate photographs online if necessary.

DEVELOPING A POSITIVE WEB PRESENCE

One of the best ways to increase your positive web presence is to start a blog using your real name, and write about topics which reflect your career interests. Search engines like google index blog articles, so the more articles you write the more frequently you will appear in search results for your name. Don’t be surprised if you turn up at interview and are asked a question about your previous blog posts.

Check sites and resources on the topic of “Personal Branding”, which offer advice and tips on how to develop and improve your online presence and reputation.

Respond to other people’s postings in blogs or discussion forums, on newspaper or professional journal or professional body websites, where you have something thoughtful and useful to add to discussions.

Ask or answer questions in Q&A sites like Yahoo Answers, or within Linkedin. This type of activity can help you promote yourself and your interests, and link you to others with similar interests in your chosen industry.

INTERNET SAFETY


• Be careful with your personal information. Don’t publish your CV publicly on the web with your full address, telephone number and email address.

• Don’t arrange to meet people you’ve only met through a discussion forum or social web site.

• For advice on safe web use for young people visit www.thinkuknow.co.uk.

• There are unfortunately some employment related scams around and if you receive unexpected job offers at enormous salaries, from people you don’t know, for jobs you’ve not applied for, it’s most likely spam or some kind of scam. Ask your adviser if you are unsure about an opportunity.

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Internet Jobsearch Part 3 - The social web


Social websites like Facebook, Myspace, Xing and Linkedin offer more opportunities for the internet job seeker.

• Some companies have profiles which you can monitor, or link to as a friend or fan. This will allow you to keep aware of new recruitment initiatives, or other company news.
• Some employees (past and present) set up unofficial social web groups for their company which you may be able to view or join. This can give you a different insight into an organisation, and may offer inside contacts, for advice on applying or being interviewed by a particular company.
• Professional groups are also common on social websites, and these generally welcome anyone interested in a particular field. This can be a useful source of industry insight, as well as advice on forthcoming recruitment opportunities.
• HorsesMouth.co.uk offers over 16 year olds in the UK free online coaching and mentoring. Mentees can search for a mentor with background, skills and interests relevant to their career aspirations.
• Careers services – some careers and recruitment services have social web profiles, and these offer another way of keeping in touch with advisers and recruiters.
• Professional social networks like Xing and Linkedin can help you find career histories of people who work ( or have worked) at a company you are targeting. This is useful as you can often gain an insight into the skills and background an employer may value. You can also see the sort of career progression which may be possible for people in specific roles. You can also start or become part of online professional communities, relating to your specialist interests.

Image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jaycameron/

Internet Jobsearch Part 2 - Company Research


Company websites are a great source of information for jobseekers. You can find content which will help you evaluate whether you want to work for a particular company. For example, you might look at their company report, or mission and values statements. You might also be able to access information about projects they have been involved with, those recently launched, or planned for the future. Many company websites feature news about the company.

Official company website information can help you prepare a more targeted application letter or form. It can also help you prepare for an interview where you are likely to be asked “Why do you want to work for our company?”, and also “Have you any questions you’d like to ask.” Both of these questions give the jobseeker a great opportunity to show they know something about the organisation and its activities.

Search engines like Yahoo, Google and Bing all allow you to restrict search results to news stories. This allows you to check for recent media coverage about a potential employer. Perhaps they just appointed a new chief executive, or launched an expansion programme, or commented on a government proposal.

“Google alerts” allow you to be emailed when a company is mentioned on the web, or when their content is updated. This can be a useful means of keeping in touch with developments at a company you’re interested in working for.

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Internet Jobhunting Part 1 - Job Boards


Today many recruiters make use of the internet to publicise jobs and find candidates. Every job hunter can benefit from using the internet as part of their job search strategy.

JOB BOARDS


General Job board such as Monster, Jobsite, Jobserve, Totaljobs, Jobcentreplus and Fish4jobs are among some of the UK’s most popular.

Microblogging site, Twitter is also being used by some recruiters to advertise job opportunities. Following, or monitoring specialist twitter recruiters may be worthwhile for some jobseekers.

Specialist job boards focus on particular sectors, such as IT or teaching. Some of these are linked to industry publications , or professional bodies and trade associations.

Some companies also operate online job boards just for their own vacancies. You can monitor these boards if you know a company is likely to advertise jobs you’d like to apply for.

Some Connexions /Careers services and adult employment advice services operate online vacancy boards for their students and customers.

• Ask your adviser which job boards may be most suited to your job search
• Learn what features your selected job boards offer – for example can you register your details, upload your CV, or receive email alerts of new jobs?
• Talk to your adviser about adapting your profile with a particular job board if you find you don’t get suitable matches.

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