My recent post questioning whether Facebook was taking out LinkedIn generated many comments. This morning, I saw that Guy Kawasaki had put together “Ten Ways to Use LinkedIn to Find a Job.” As a relatively heavy user of both services, and as someone who sees a lot of value in using Facebook for things business oriented, I wanted to put forth my own ideas on 6 ways to use Facebook to help in building your career and resume.
Before I do that, I’m going to build on my prior post comparing Facebook to LinkedIn. To me, the key difference is the active nature of conversations that Facebook drives. I’m connecting with and updating people I know, people who have some shared interest with me. Yes, this is more inherently “non-work” related, but it is far more engaging and conversational. LinkedIn, more and more, has become for me like a souped up CV/resume service. My profile is out there, but it’s not like I got there everyday to update friends and colleagues on what I’m doing. The activeness of Facebook is something I find a big difference versus LinkedIn.
This difference makes an impact on job hunting strategies. Using Facebook to connect and engage with friends and acquaintances can and should be a legitimate route to pursuing a job. This is not to say don’t use LinkedIn–certainly one should use all tools at their disposal. I’m merely arguing that Facebook is a viable, important tool in career building, if you want/need it.
With that, here are my six ways to use Facebook to look for a job. Parroting Guy Kawasaki’s advice, if you know someone who’s looking for a job, forward them these tips along with an invitation to connect on Facebook (if they’re not there already). Before trying these tips, make sure you’ve filled out your profile and added at least twenty friends.
- Let people know you’re looking. No stigma here, let people know you’re looking. I’ve seen friends mention via status updates that they’re looking, meeting with recruiters, whatever. Depending on how well I know them, I can wish them luck, suggest a friend, whatever. A no brainer way to let people know.
- Engage thoughtfully in conversations on topics that interest you. With the recent election, many people have used FBK to engage in conversations on politics, the bailout, etc. Engaging on current event topics gives you an opportunity to connect with new people and build credibility with existing acquaintances. One good tip can be to connect Google Reader to FBK. When you see an article you like in Goog Reader or that you think others might enjoy, then you can “Share” the article via Goog Reader and it posts to Fbk. A good way to build conversations on topics you find interesting.
- Find topical groups that interest you and join them. Microsoft recently announced layoffs. In the short-time since this announcement, support groups on Facebook have sprung up. One, Help Microsoft Friends Find a Job, already has over 900 members comprised of recent casualties in the lay-offs, employed ex-MSFT alums working at different companies, as well as current MSFTies. These types of networks open up new relationship possibilities and new routes for job seeking. If you don’t find a group that fits your needs, create one.
- Start a blog. I loathe writing those three words “Start a Blog,” as I fear it has become such vapid advice for anything. Wanna cure cancer? Start a blog! Wanna make cash? Start a blog. Want a job? Start a blog. Etc. That said, I think blogs can become useful tools for anyone to document thoughts and ideas that are important to them. Write about anything that you find important or interesting–I’d not write about your job hunting, unless there’s something interesting in that to cover. What’s good about writing in general and blogging in particular is that writing can both teach you more about yourself, but give you access to untold people who might read your stuff, find you interesting and connect. Obviously, you can connect your blog postings to Facebook, and if those postings have any relevance, then pushing them into your network of friends at FBK can be a good way to amplify your voice. As silly as I think the advice sounds, I’d suggest having and writing a blog if you’re job-hunting.
- Get background on particular companies through friends. FBK is nowhere near as good as LinkedIn on mapping out who knows whom at which company. LinkedIn is much better at the “who do I know at FOO-tronics?” Still, Facebook has an increasing number of companies and employees of companies available through it, which you can use to find out more of the skinny at a specific company.
- Always be building your network. This is another piece of advice that I kind of cringe to write, as it sounds pat. The problem is that most people when they hear the words “consummate networker” or “schmoozing” think of some shmarmy guy who hands out dozens of business cards every day and says “hey, yeah, let’s do lunch!” This is fake and surface and superficial networking, and it’s not what I mean. Honorable people remember favors. Smart, hard working people who get stuff done, want to know more people who are smart, hard working and who get stuff done. You want to both do favors and be smart, hard working and a gets stuff done person. Building networks of people like that, becoming someone they trust as smart and helpful is something you need to be doing. That to me is networking–if you’re paying it forward, then in my experience, this is does come back to help you in the end. If you network with those ideas in mind, then your network will expand fruitfully. I’ve lived in Silicon Valley for just over a year now, and I’m surprised at how many people either don’t spend time networking, or who do but are far more schmarmy at it than I think they should be.
Good luck, and any feedback or other tips are welcome.