Disseminating expertise online is a growing way to get noticed by employers. LinkedIn, Amazon, and Yahoo all offer areas where you can ask and answer questions. Answering showcases your knowledge, while asking offers an opportunity to pose such queries as: “Can anyone tell me how to break into pharmaceutical sales?”
Of course, if you are in urgent need of a job, engage in online social networking judiciously in tandem with face-to-face networking and conventional job-search methods. Candidates that recruiters actually source from social networks still represent a small percentage of the total, but as Kevin Wheeler writes on Electronic Recruiting Exchange, “Recruiting is moving rapidly from a find ’em and screen ’em, to a court ’em, stay in touch with them, and sell them profession. These networks will power that charge.”
Social-networking, people-finding, and micro-blogging participation are becoming critical to the job search. Social-networking venues have been around for a few years (Facebook celebrated its fifth birthday around the time this book went to press), but the big difference now is that hiring decision-makers are being encouraged to source candidates through these venues in a way they never have before. In past years, job boards have been the centerpiece of advice to these decision-makers – but no longer. We cannot tell you how many webinars we attended and articles we read in 2008 that are how-to’s on finding talent through venues like Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, and Twitter. “Recruiters who are not using these tools … feel as though they are falling behind,” writes Wheeler. Despite a faint undercurrent of concern about looming legal issues (such as discrimination) over bringing social-networking venues into the hiring process, employer and recruiter interest in using these networks is high. Wheeler even predicts that more and more candidates will be recruited, assessed, and hired without actually seeing anyone in person.