Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Job Search Tips: Dealing With Social Media

social media
Behold: Everything that will distract you

Today's job search tips will focus on the biggest online distraction of all: Social media.  This is an interesting topic because as distracting as it can be, social media is an important job search tool.  Job seekers often use Twitter to find out about the latest job openings, and Facebook can really help with networking.  Yet both of these sites can also really throw you off your job search with seemingly infinite distractions.  Is it possible to use these sites while still staying on task?  I've always said that nothing is impossible, but this is as close as it gets to that level.  Luckily it only comes close.

Let's start with Facebook.  Most of what will distract you on this site will come from the "News Feed."  This is where you will see the latest news from your friends and, in turn, it is a place you should leave the minute you login.  You should instead move immediately on the task at hand.  If you are trying to contact a former colleague, for example, you should go straight to their page and message them.  This does require a lot of self discipline.  It's akin to trying to eat healthy when there are a bunch of fast food restuarants right in front of you.  If you find that it is too hard to get work done on Facebook, I would recommend using LinkedIn.  It has far fewer distractions than Facebook and it's probably a little better for networking, anyway.

I've always thought that Twitter was the most useful of social media sites.  It's also the most distracting of all of them.  The nature of the site is such that there is almost no way to avoid the constant stream of information coming at you.  Luckily, it's not completely impossible.  You see the search bar at the top of the site?  You should enter in the appropriate Twitter hashtag there so you can filter which messages you see.  Typing in #nonprofitjobs, for instance, will only show you tweets related to that topic.  That will make it much easier to avoid all those, uh, interesting tweets that tend to pollute your feed.

So avoiding distractions on social media isn't impossible after all.  Is it hard?  Certainly.  But with a little effort, you can make social media a valuable ally in your search for nonprofit work.


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