In Part 2 of the Job Search blog, I would like to take time to recognize two panelists that stood out in my mind, not only during the panel but as some of the best of the whole day.  I mentioned Amanda Haddaway (@ahaddaway) and Rachel Strella (@rachelstrella) as two panelists that exceeded my expectations.  As someone who is presently searching for a job in a very difficult job landscape, I took this panel very seriously and took away from it quite a lot of useful information.

Amanda Haddaway is a very accomplished HR professional that has a great array of expertise in the job search field.  Here is a brief bio from her website (http://amandahaddaway.com):  “Amanda Haddaway is an accomplished freelance writer and marketing practitioner. She has been quoted in numerous national publications for her HR and marketing expertise and has written two books, Destination Real World: Success After Graduation for new and soon-to-be college graduates and Interviewer Success: Become a great interviewer in less than one hour.”  The two things that she discusses in these two books are two of the most important aspects not only for recently graduated or graduating students, but any professional looking for a job.  One of the most important things I learned from Amanda was that just because you have graduated, doesn’t mean you can stop learning.  Many people who I have spoken to over the years have looked at graduation as the culmination of all of their studies.  In my opinion, this could not be further from the truth.  Because traditional colleges often don’t require students to have any social media training in relation to the job search, you must train yourself.  Using some of the pointers from Part 1 of this blog can be extremely beneficial, but following some influential people like Amanda on Twitter can certainly help your social media training.

Amanda had great insight on a subject that many job seekers do not know what is out there about themselves, be it positive or negative.  Amanda offered insight on this topic by asking all the attendees of the panel to now only Google yourself to find out what is out there, but to also set up Google Alerts so you know when people are searching about you.  She also noted that it is important to be proactive in keeping up with your Social Media privacy settings, but to not rely on them as a way to keep information private.  It is important to moderate your page, to untag photos of a late night last weekend, and to let others know that you value their friendship but not their constant tags or obscene comments.  Amanda pleaded to us about thinking about the bigger picture of our job search and to use connections as an asset.

On a side note, this is part of the reason I was so distraught after last year’s Social Media Summit.  I do not think that college gives you the proper tools to prepare yourself adequately for the job search in today’s job landscape.  Maybe I didn’t utilize career services to the utmost extent, but I was an extremely diligent student that was active at both Slippery Rock and Shippensburg.  I should not have this much trouble finding a job that I enjoy and am good at.  I’m so glad that I had the opportunity to attend the last two Summit’s as I have learned so much invaluable information that I can now relay to my connections.  I want to help in a way that I don’t think my professors did.

Another person who had a great impact on not only this panel, but the Social Media Summit as a whole was Rachel Strella, of Camp Hill’s Strella Social Media (http://strellasocialmedia.com/).  Here is a quick bio about Rachel and how Strella Social Media came about:

“It was Rachel’s mentor who suggested that she might be an entrepreneur. She understood that in order for Rachel to be happy, she had to run her own show!  As it happened, Rachel’s mentor provided her not only with inspiration but with a problem that Rachel knew how to solve. That same day, Rachel’s mentor attended a social media marketing event that left her feeling overwhelmed and uncertain about the new tools. She suggested that Rachel use her knowledge of social media to help small business owners understand it and use it properly.  Rachel took a leap of faith and decided to start the business, alongside her day job, in July 2010. The business began as Central PA Webster, a company helping small business owners understand the mechanics of social media. It soon evolved into a social media management business as Rachel found that many business owners did not have time to maintain an effective or consistent social media presence by themselves. By September 2010, Rachel was able to leave her day job and focus on the business full-time.”

As any fan of this blog will tell you, I am an advocate of small business, especially in the Harrisburg area.  I am extremely proud of Rachel and her hard work and I wish her nothing but the best.  But it’s not just well wishers that have made her successful, it was hard work and perseverance.  Rachel has come to the forefront of social media marketing in the Harrisburg area and has a lot of great advice for job seekers.  Rachel stressed to the panel how important personal branding is, using the available tools to make you stand out from the crowd in the job search.  That was the one thing that struck home to me and my situation.  I have worked hard over the last year to make my personal brand stand out and I feel I have done a great job.  She was also quick to point out that the concept of Social Media is much larger than a single social networking site, it is the collaboration of all of them that creates your personal brand.  Letting your personality shine through on social media is one quick way to stand out in the job search.

Overall, this panel was so informative that even I couldn’t imagine covering every single point that the panelists discussed.   To close the discussion of this I would like to give those still in school or those having graduated already a 5-step checklist for using social media for their job search:

1.  Linked In – Completing your Linked In profile to 100% is the easiest thing you can do to help your search.  Consider former professors, present colleagues, former bosses, managers, superiors, etc. to write recommendations of your work.  This provides a personal touch that can go a long way with potential employers.

2. Google Yourself, set Google Alerts, Familiarize yourself with Facebook privacy settings – Knowing what is out there about you and what is and is not available to the public allows you to know what potential employers can see.

3.  Volunteer with local Non-profit organizations – Volunteering your free time (in my case, what little I have) is a powerful way to not only create more connections but to add different skills to your arsenal.  There is an opportunity to network within your non-profit work, but remember that the organization comes first, not your personal agenda.

4.  Join Linked In groups – Linked In groups are a great way to keep up with the pulse of your industry.  Becoming active in the conversations are a very easy way to add connections and possibly land a job.

5.  Blogging – Start a blog about your subject matter.  Create content and start a conversation.  Interview those in the field that are knowledgeable, but stick to your opinion.  Just because they are an expert does not mean that their opinion is paramount to yours.  It is your blog after all!

I truly encourage readers to follow @ahaddaway and @rachelstrella on Twitter for further information about all social media topics, as well as job opportunities.  Thank you so much you two for an amazing panel!

Paul M. Miller

pmiller@solutionsforadvertising.com

Twitter: @SolutionsforAdv

LinkedIn:  http://www.linkedin.com/pub/paul-miller/3b/b5/495

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