6 job-hunting tricks for a Web 2.0 world

Recruiters and savvy job finders reveal their top six job-search strategies using Web 2.0 technologies.

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2. Facebook: Not Just for Fun Anymore

While many job seekers regard LinkedIn as their professional website and Facebook as their friends-and-family hub, more recruiters are trolling Facebook to get a feel for prospective candidates', ahem, softer side, Perry says.

"As recruiters, we're not just looking for skills and experience, we're looking to understand the three-dimensional person," Perry explains. "We can tap into them on Facebook and understand their likes, dislikes, and interests -- the music they listen to, photos they post, games they play. Facebook can give you a deeper understanding of 'the person.' "

Those that blend their professional and personal contacts need to be careful of the information they're posting and how it affects their brand image, says Coleen Byrne, former sales director at Yahoo and co-author of The Web 2.0 Job Finder: Winning Social Media Strategies to Get the Job You Want. For starters, keep your party photos on your camera, and avoid blogging or commenting about controversial topics. "The taboos are always going to be politics, religion, same-sex marriage -- if you have very strong opinions, all of these things get a little bit dicey" with prospective employers, she says. Also, avoid abbreviations (OMG!) and typos, even on status updates. "At the end of the day, it all represents you, and people are going to make quick judgments," Byrne says.

The concept of combining the social with the professional caught Facebook's attention, too, and in August 2010 it launched BranchOut, an app that lets users create their own professional profile on Facebook and link their professional network. The app had more than 800,000 active users as of June 2011.

3. Show Your Talents on YouTube

International staffing firm Yoh Services fills a lot of positions at gaming companies, and it finds many content developers and 3D imaging artists through YouTube, says Tammy Browning, Yoh's West Coast senior vice president. "They build mini videos and post them [on YouTube]. About 80% of our jobs that we're filling [in gaming and 3D] are through YouTube," she explains. Microsoft is one of many tech companies that use the video-posting site to "discover" talented programmers. Two senior managers in Microsoft's gaming division, whom the company won't name, were reportedly discovered on YouTube as teenagers and recruited.

But the video site doesn't just benefit gamers, Browning adds. "Even software developers who can speak about their portfolio of projects or Web developers who can show the fresh, hot website they've designed should post on YouTube," she says. Prospective employers and talent seekers can not only see your work, but also glimpse your personality and communication style "to see if you're somebody who would fit in their world," she says.

4. Get Your Tweet On

Contingency recruiters, who get paid only if they fill a job, are in a daily race with their competitors to find the right candidates fast -- sometimes in a matter of hours -- so many of them tweet about job openings on Twitter.

"They're hoping someone in their network is going to say 'That's for me!' So more contingency firms are using Twitter, as are regular companies, to tweet their job openings," Perry says.

Tweet Grader (Tweet.Grader.com) lets job seekers search for their desired job titles to find out who is tweeting about those jobs. Tweeters can also join recruiters' job search groups and be alerted when new positions are posted.

5. Stalk Headhunters With TwitJobSearch.com

This free service from HubSpot lets job seekers search for their targeted job title to find out who has tweeted about a similar job that day. If you become a "follower" of a targeted recruiter, you'll receive tweets when new jobs are posted.

6. Social Network Overload? Try About.me

Once you establish multiple portfolios on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other networking sites, then the challenge becomes managing and monitoring all of those Web presences. How do you separate your personal life from your professional one? About.me can be the central point of those interactions by allowing users to connect all of their social networks in one place and present only the information that the user wants a particular contact to see -- business or personal.

"I think About.me is going to be the centerpiece [of social networking] in the not-so-distant future, about six to nine months, for people who are very active with social networks and have a big challenge managing it all and pointing people in the right direction," Perry says.

A Tool, Not a Solution

The 50-year-old out-of-work IT executive from Raleigh is now using several social networking tools to look for job leads, but he still believes he'll find his next job the old-fashioned way.

"I suspect how I find a job is not going to have a whole lot to do with my research on the Net," he says. "It's going to be an individual who knows I'm available because of what happened to my company. I've been getting together with many of them over the last seven months."

Recruiters warn that Web 2.0 isn't the silver bullet that will bring your job search to a successful conclusion, but it certainly is a valuable tool. "When you need a job, you should slow down and spend a day or two creating a profile that makes it easy for you to be found," Perry says. "It's more likely then that the jobs will come to you."

Next: Opinion: Sustaining your career during unsettled times

Collett is a Computerworld contributing writer. You can contact her at stcollett@aol.com.

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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