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How to Start a Career Using Social Media!

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By Hector Cisneros

If you are seeking employment in today's competitive job market, you're looking for every edge you can get to beat the competition. Social media can be that edge. When used in a systematic and focused way, social media can provide you with multitude of job seeking avenues and connections that you could not achieve using just your feet, friends and a phone. In this article on Working the Web to Win, we will explore how any would-be job seeker can gain worthwhile employment, start their career and join today's workforce, with a job that they want, and the potential they seek.  This is a comprehensive article that covers all aspects of using social media for your search. So read on and learn how to use social media in the war to win gainful employment.

Let’s begin our journey with an understanding of what I believe are universal truths that will help you get an edge over your competition for a long term gainful career. First of all, I believe that a person with a positive attitude will have an advantage over those looking to take shortcuts to get a job. I believe in avoiding trickery, being consistent and fully understanding what you want in a career. Even if you’re not sure of the type of job you want, being positive and ready to serve when needed, will always help you make the right connections and meet the right people who can help you.

Six Reasons to Join and use a Social Network?  If you haven’t joined a ton of social networks yet, here are six important reasons to make the leap. First, a large social network can help you further your career. It allows you to connect with colleagues and share vital information. It can help you find vital information on potential employers. It can be a stepping stone to your next job or career move. It allows you to hunt for new jobs effectively. It allows you to showcase your skills. Most importantly, it can connect you with people that can help you.

Here are Five Things You Need to Know About Social Media

1.    Social networks are the primary source for job candidate acquisition today. Gone
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are the days when newspapers dominated the job hunt.  Yes, you can still look for a job in the paper, but it's much more efficient to search social media and job sites to find the right job you’re looking for. The number one place people look for a job is “LinkedIn”.  Job sites like monster and ZipRecruiter all post job listings on Twitter, Facebook and yes, LinkedIn. Just search for them on the respective social nets and see what's there.
2.    LinkedIn is the number one place businesses look for new employees. Employers like LinkedIn as a business-friendly social media network. Their sales people use it to generate leads and close more business. However, many businesses love using LinkedIn to post jobs because they feel it produces better candidates.  As a matter of fact, many businesses have company pages designed to recruit potential employees while they are still in school.
3.    As a member of a Social Networks – you are both a user and a product of the Social network. When you join any social network you become a subscriber with all the benefits and privileges that a network has to offer.  However, you are also a product in their database of users, which is bought and sold on a daily basis. This means you need to make sure that your profile is polished and professional and that zero grammatical errors are present. You need to choose your words carefully and you need to make sure you connect with individuals and groups that can help you achieve your goals.
4.    Social Media sells your information to advertisers and other vendors. All social media networks also sell your posts and information to other vendors. Your posts are often sold to Google to be added to their organic search stream. Vendors also routinely buy your profile information for sales and recruiting purposes. Heck, you can look up (often for free) or buy anyone's profile on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook or Google+. For the most part they are free for the taking.
5.    You do not own what you post. The network does. Social networks are not free! When I tell people this, they often seem surprised. But they shouldn’t be. You get to use
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the social networks you join for free! You sign a EULA stating you have little or no rights to anything you post and you get to use their functions at no cost to you, except that they own all of your data. This means you have zero privacy, so make sure you post wisely! Here are some reasons why they are not free.  (a.) It takes time and effort to set up a social network profile. Your time has value. If you multiply your efforts posting to 5 to 8 networks, you have invested a considerable amount of time. (b.) You also have to provide useful, relevant & timely content for your audience to grow daily! If you’re not posting useful information, your profile has minimal usefulness to others. It takes time and effort to do the research to find the best content and it takes time to post the information and format it for each of the different social networks. Time equals money. Time spend equals money spend!

You need to grow your network so that it has reach and depth. Here are the fundamentals of Growth. First, posting useful content on a regular basis is paramount. Second, inviting others to follow and connect with you on a daily basis also needs to be a priority. Third, engaging your connections on a daily basis by asking relevant questions and sharing their useful content makes them more likely to reciprocate. Fourth, you need to spend some time each week managing your connections so that you’ll weed out the riffraff and keep your other connections happy. If you want to grow your network to a large number, you need to invite lots of people to follow you. Remember to stay within the boundaries set by each network. As a rule, most networks will let you invite more as you're following gets bigger!  Of these fundamentals, connecting with others needs to be done daily. Use my “Rule of 3” to grow your network. Invite at least three people a day to connect with you for steady growth. (Invite 10 if you can, and to really see big growth – invite 30).

How to Grow your Social Network based on your Skills and Knowledge. You will have
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to actively connect with people by following and inviting them to connect with you – daily! If you know what skill set you have, target industries that need that skill set. Follow the leaders in your industry in LinkedIn and Twitter at a minimum. The more networks the better. Send email, direct messages and InMails to HR managers, recruiters and decision makers weekly. Follow up with postcards and regular snail mail as well, just to stand out from the competition (chances are they didn’t send this kind of mail). Include your resume along with a list of projects you have worked on, played a critical role in, and or headed up.  This includes projects completed in college and those completed as an intern.

Post/Send links of samples of your work & projects. Also send links to your testimonials and endorsements pages. Post useful, timely and interesting articles (curated posts) on a regular basis. Ask for opinions and comments. Share posts generated by others and give them credit (i.e. Retweet). This is especially true for industry leaders and influencers. Blog about subjects in your industry (these are authoritative posts). Creating quality articles can showcase your skills and expertise. Make sure you share your blogs with friends and coworkers and ask them to share them as well. I like Blogger, but many also use LinkedIn’s Pulse and Slide Share. Repurpose your blogs with e-zines and local publications to get more coverage. Convert them to vlogs & podcasts as well. Create short video blogs (Vlog) that teach others how to use a product or to explain a concept or procedure. This shows you're willing to help others and also shows off your expertise.

Here are some Simple Techniques for Supersizing your Social Nets.  If you invite 30 people a day to connect and have a non-connection rate of 75%, you will still grow by 2,738 new followers in one year! Here’s the math.  30 x 365 = 10,950 invited followers. 10,950 x 75% = 8,212 people who unfollowed or did not follow back. 10,950 – 8212 = 2,738 net followers!

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7 things to do on a daily basis
  1. Share a positive quote for the day!
  2. Share a current interesting article in your industry, especially on LinkedIn.
  3. Encourage others to read and share your posts.
  4. Thank everyone who follows you or says something nice about you.
  5. Check LinkedIn and other job boards daily.
  6. Connect with at least 3 new people every day.
  7. Provide written testimonials & endorsements for others, especially on LinkedIn.
8 Things to do every week
  1. Check your profile stats every week.
  2. Contact people who are looking at your stats to connect with them.
  3. Look for influencers to read and share your posts and ask them to share your posts as well.
  4. Share the best post of the week on all your social networks. Encourage others to make comments.
  5. Join and actively participate in group discussions, especially on LinkedIn.
  6. Write and publish a weekly quality article on Blogger.
  7. Create and publish a weekly Vlog on YouTube.
  8. Share your blog and Vlog posts on LinkedIn, your other networks and ask people to subscribe to your networks!
Save time and energy by limiting your online social networking. I recommend no more than two hours a day. Don’t forget to engage in face to face networking. Join local industry groups, Meetups and other social networks. The local Chambers of Commerce offer a special job seeker membership; I’d take advantage of this offer. Spend a little, get a lot. Get LinkedIn Premium to make job hunting easier. They have a free trial that you can turn off at any time.

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Always strive to look professional and competent.  Make sure your posts are checked and double-checked for grammar and spelling errors. Always give credit where credit is due. Understand your audience and provide posts at their educational level. Minimize tech speak and acronyms if at all possible, even if you’re in TECH. Keep your posts short & sweet!

Take Advantage of your audience’s preferences. Curated & authoritative posts with videos & pictures are read and shared more often. This is followed by posts with audio and then text only. There are generational gaps for followers. Baby Boomers have very different preferences than do Millennials.  Younger audiences prefer more instant and visual messages. Being mobile-friendly is a must!

Use Leverage to Magnify your message. Whenever possible, post to as many social networks simultaneously. Use aggregation tools like Hootsuite, Hootlet, Tweet Deck & others to schedule your posts. Use information gathering services like Google Alerts, PaperLi & others content services. Gather & organize your posts in advance, then schedule your posts with the aggregation software of your choice.

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Use Hashtags Whenever Possible.  Hashtags are used in twitter, Google+, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and other networks. Hashtags (# symbol) placed in front of a word, makes that word searchable to users of that social network.  That’s right, even the people you’re not connected to can find it.  This allows you to transmit your message beyond the confines of your network connections.

Thank all followers whenever it's appropriate. This includes new followers, mentions, retweets, shares, forwards, comments and even questions. Use “Grandma’s Rules” of social engagement (“you are your manners”). Rules like: Be nice to people. Be courteous. Say please & thank you, help others, etc. If you want people to connect with you, be nice to them. A simple thank you and lending a helpful hand carries more weight than you realize.

Ask and you shall receive. If you want people to share your information by retweeting and sharing your comments and latest post, ask them to do so! You have a 33 % greater chance of them sharing your post if you just ask. If you want to engage people, be engaging, ask open questions, and compliment them on their achievements & good fortune. Console their grief. Be sure to like, comment, share and retweet their posts! Don’t be pushy. Like begets like!  If you don’t ask, you won’t receive!

Recruiters are looking for specific skills + value added individuals! They might check
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your profile because you have the right skill set or because your profile is in a similar industry.  They might contact you because you have a significant list of endorsements or testimonials. Another reason could be that you provided them useful & relevant information in a group discussion or blog. A recruiter may find your comments or content in a blog to be of high quality, timely and/or useful. Or they may just follow you because they hunt by numbers – the more the better.

Some final keys to success. Dedication is your friend. A good attitude goes far beyond just your immediate reach. Bring or add value, where ever you go. It gives you an edge! Smile and be authentic with everyone you interact with. Get the skills needed to compete in your chosen industry. Be patient and persistent. Help others and be courteous. Being respectful when speaking to superiors and potential employers carries real weight. Learn everything you can about your industry.

If you’re really looking to launch a career vs just getting a job) this article provides you a step by step outline of what you need to do to make social media your best weapon of choice to win the war of career advancement. Following these steps will not only improve your chances of getting a great job, but more importantly, it will help you achieve a launching point in the career direction you choose to be in. This article outlines many ways to connect with the right people in the most efficient ways possible and it will get you where you want to be in the shortest possible time frame.
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That’s my opinion, I look forward to hearing yours.

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Hector Cisneros is COO and director of Social Media Marketing at Working the Web to Win, an award-winning Internet marketing company based in Jacksonville, Florida.  He is also co-host of the weekly Internet radio show, "Working the Web to Win" on, which airs every Tuesday at 4 p.m. Eastern. Hector is a syndicated writer and published author of “60 Seconds to Success.”

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