After a while when you hear something over and over again, it starts to sound like the truth. And I keep hearing this same “truth” about Facebook. That it is a lousy place to network. Usually from job seekers frustrated with what they perceive as the “Had a turkey sandwich for lunch” update blather for which Facebook is so famous.
But, here today, I am going to break down the walls and ask you to suspend your beliefs about Facebook. To toss that turkey sandwich in the trash.
Because I said so. And because the following 8 reasons prove that Facebook can be a powerful networking tool. For job search, career and life.
1. Compare Your Friend Counts
You may come to realize that you actually have more friends on Facebook than you do on any other social media platform. And if true, how can you ignore that fact? To the extent networking (especially for job search) is a numbers game, on Facebook you are getting a head start.
2. Recognize The Strength Of The Relationships On Facebook
You likely didn’t grow up with or go to college with many of your LinkedIn connections. But your shared experiences with those on Facebook likely have lead to better, more trusting relationships. Ones you can lean on a little bit.
3. You Have A Friends And Family Plan
So one of the big knocks on Facebook is that you don’t have a work history with most of them unless you are under 35. So how can they help you, right? Well, who in your life is more motivated to help you look for a job or build your business if it isn’t family? Someone on Twitter? Less likely.
4. Photos Can Be Your Friend
Everyone is deeply concerned about getting terrorized on Facebook by an old friend or girlfriend who is still bitter from a breakup in high school. They post a picture of questionable character. Of you. So you have to keep your eyes peeled for those things and be smart about the photos you add to your own page. But this fear also exposes one of the fun and potentially endearing aspects of Facebook vs. all the other sites. The real you can come out, be seen, and enjoyed. Yes, by even a future boss.
5. All Those Glorious Fan Pages
Have you even looked to see if one of your target companies has a fan page on Facebook? If they do, you can become a fan and share some smart ideas there or just absorb the culture. You might learn something. Or, and this is a bit more of a commitment, you could start a fan page for a favorite company if they haven’t done so already. Know the story of the Coca Cola fan page? It is absolutely huge. And started by a non-employee.
6. Your Blog Exposed To 1 Billion Eyes
If you write a blog or create audio or video content to support your candidacy or your company’s strengths, then look no further. While YouTube is great for video, Facebook allows a full media smackdown. And an awful lot of people ready to watch.
7. File Sharing Is Plentiful
You can add PowerPoint presentations, Word docs, Excel docs and other files with a huge number of people standing there with their arms open wide. Another way to build up some influence with a pretty big crowd.
8. Tell Them What You Want
Clearly people are listening. Your friends and family are waiting to hear what you are doing. Whether through chat, status updates or wall postings, you have a great opportunity to share your life. Including spots in it where you could use some support. If you are looking for work and you haven’t yet told your family, do it in person. But remind them on Facebook. And make sure they know your specific job search objectives. They probably would love to help . . .
In the end, Facebook is not a perfect place. It will always be high on the time wasting factor (can you say Farmville?) if you let it. Frankly, I like LinkedIn and Twitter over Facebook for job search and business development. The people on LinkedIn and Twitter sites are generally more ready, willing and able to do business. Agree?
And if I split my time properly between the three, I won’t have to hear about your next turkey sandwich.
Until maybe next week.
A 22 year marketing executive, Tim Tyrell-Smith created Tim’s Strategy in September 2008 as a way to give back after his own 2007 job search. Tim writes and creates from the perspective of a hiring manager and a job seeker. He lives with his family in Mission Viejo, California.