You don’t have to spend much time at all on LinkedIn before it becomes apparent that recruiters use the service heavily. I consistently get a few calls a week inquiring if I’d be interested in this job or that. I ain’t goin’ nowhere but it’s nice to know you’re thinking of me.
I’ve also been tracking the trend of companies having a difficult time finding and retaining qualified employees. When something’s on your radar screen, you start noticing it all over the place.Â And what I’ve been noticing is how social networking and crowd sourcing have really leveled the playing field between employee and employer.
Job seekers can now prepare for their interviews by researching the likely questions they’ll be asked, the companies for whom they want to work, and, through social network sites like Facebook and LinkedIn, even find what current and former employees have to say about the company.
Through those same social networking sites, or industry-specific social networking sites, job seekers can more efficiently do the business networking that often leads to jobs.
While the job seekers themselves can expect to be Googled by their
potential employer, they can just as easily Google their interviewer and learn about the person who will be asking the questions.
Through the use of standard Internet marketing tactics like blogging and search engine optimization, job seekers can mold their brand online and present their best face to Googling interviewers.
Prior to the Internet, nearly all of the knowledge, and therefore all of the power in the hiring process was in the hands of employers.Â By disseminating the information that was the basis of that power to everyone, power was taken away from employers and put it into the potential employees’ hands.
But the tools are available for those with the expertise, ability to communicate, and willingness to do the work to essentially become free agents.
Forrester analyst Charlene Li is the perfect example. By demonstrating her knowledge and expertise through her blog, she built a name for herself and a following (her Twitter account, for example, boasts nearly 2700 followers) that culminated in her best-selling book, Groundswell. Li recently announced that she’ll be leaving Forrester so that she will have more control over her schedule.
She will, no doubt, have potential employers fighting over the privilege of hiring her or client clamoring to pay her for her expertise.
The ability to demonstrate your expertise through blogging, building industry celebrity, and, as a result, building a network of industry professionals though social networking sites like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, will increasingly allow individuals to call the empl0yment shots.
A wide network has always been valuable in relationship professions like politics, journalism, and public relations. With LinkedIn and Facebook, those networks are far more easy to manage and grow with the added benefit of quantifying them.
I believe that the social networks you bring with you will be an ever more important asset that you offer as an employee, especially in knowledge economy jobs.
I have a niece in college and two nephews about to enter college. They are fluent in social media and use them effortlessly but think little of how they work or could be put to use. The advice I’m giving them is to use their social networking accounts strategically, as career tools, as marketing and expert positioning tools, and as a way to add value as an employee.