You’ve read all the blog posts, articles and ebooks. You’ve heard pundits on TV, radio and down your local pub swearing by the power of social media. It’s the solution to everyone’s customer service gripes, online dating, general time waste and of course your job search.
We’re told recruiters and employers spend all day trawling through random social networks to find their next hire. So what are you doing even reading this, you should be busy branding yourself on social media surely?
Which ones should you use?
How do you know which social tools are actually useful for jobs and which ones are a giant waste of time and effort? Well that’s not easy to tell. They all look equally shiny and typically have a decent content marketer pushing out good stories on a blog.
If you’re a jobseeker (or an employer) you will have noticed that almost every week there is a new shiny tool, app, plugin, add-on, extension or platform launched in the career space. They all have ‘unique’ features and promise to automate your job search (or candidate search for employers).
You might find yourself signing up to new tools every week and going through the motions of filling in your bio, uploading that photo and connecting with the same people again. By doing this it’s easy to achieve a false sense of achievement, just like spraying out 50 CVs to random companies.
Low barriers to entry
The trouble with online technology is that the barriers to entry are very low, meaning anyone can set up the ‘next big thing’ from their garage. This is of course a great leveller and you would hope the invisible hand of business would sift out the inferior products. Not so I’m afraid. Just as it’s easy to set something up, it’s easy to keep it ticking over as well whilst you decide what to do with it (that’s what they call BETA testing). This situation is not something the end-user will benefit from.
Big companies always succeed surely
And just because a large company launches a new application doesn’t mean it’s going to take off; Monster.com launched BeKnown last year. It was billed the professional network hosted on Facebook and was going to be a game changer. A year later you barely hear about it anymore – those guinea pigs that signed up and did up their profiles, connected with others and started ‘engaging’ must be regretting their early adoption.
What are some of the good ones?
There are a few tools that are genuinely useful and they have either been acquired by the bigger players, such as Rapportive or SlideShare which were both snapped up by LinkedIn. The best way to find out which ones are worth bothering with is to take a step back and let others do the testing for you. Instead of jumping on every new plug-in, wait for reviews to come in and ask your network if they get any use out of ‘Super Cool Plug-in 3.0′.
Social media is about people and a hiring process is about people (I would hope). Use social to identify and contact the right people within an organisation, don’t sign up for another tool that somehow automagically would contact people on your behalf.
If you think a tool looks useful, take a step back and breathe. Read the reviews, ask your peers and do your due diligence. Then you’re ready to invest your time and effort.
What social recruiting tools work for your career management? Please let me know in the comments!