By NINA TARNAWSKY
Social networking Web sites such as Google+, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn have become a part of the equation when it comes to the job hunt. That last statement may serve as yet another source of distress for those looking for work but feeling less than internet savvy. Thankfully, the new book Web 2.0 Job Finder by Brenda Greene and Coleen Byrne gives even the most technologically phobic jobseeker a solid foundation in how best to utilize the internet.
Some of the book’s tips are timeless: It’s easier to look for a job when you already have one; know what your market value is; try to target specific jobs with a tailored resume. Others are more specific to the internet age: Use LinkedIn to find job postings; work your social networks.
In a conversation with the Gazette, Coleen Byrne spoke of her own learning experience through writing this book. While her coauthor and aunt, Brenda Greene, has written a number of books on business and the job hunt, this is Ms. Byrne’s first book. While doing research, Ms. Byrne conducted countless interviews with Human Resource (HR) professionals at various Fortune 500 companies.
“A lot of people still just don’t think about using [the internet],” Ms. Byrne said as she discussed one of the book’s main points which is the importance of maintaining an online social network. Ms. Byrne is a self-described connector who enjoys meeting new people and connecting them with others.
“Social networking provides you essentially with a database of your network, so it allows you to really keep in touch with a larger group of people and keep track of a larger group,” she said.
According to Web 2.0 Job Finder, 75 per cent of jobs are filled through networking, people hiring applicants they know or who’ve been recommended to them by someone within the company. The remaining 25 per cent consists of jobs that have been posted publicly. Ms. Byrne’s advice is to zero in on a handful of companies and find a way to connect through LinkedIn and set up a face-to-face meeting.
“You can say it’s cold-calling, but with more of a personal touch,” Ms. Byrne said of reaching out through cyberspace to HR departments.
Another point stressed frequently in the book is that it’s easier to find a new job when you’re still employed. But this doesn’t mean you always have to be looking.
“I’m not an advocate of jumping from job to job. If you’re happy in your current place of employment and you’re getting contacted, most likely you’re going to decline job leads that come your way. But just knowing and keeping tabs on what’s happening in your market is important because it allows you to know your value in the market place,” Ms. Byrne said.
But how would all of this apply to the Vineyard?
“When you take a look at the amount of college students who come onto this Island every summer, Martha’s Vineyard is an amazing,” Ms. Byrne said. “It attracts a great set of people who come here and tend to go on and do amazing things.”
Ms. Byrne added that college students who have Google+ and Facebook profiles would do well to join LinkedIn. And she offers further tips for college students and recent graduates, a generation who has been using Facebook since high school: Get rid of those beer pong pictures. While young people tend to have strong online social networks, their profiles can actually be detrimental, depending on the nature of the subjects posted. For example, job recruiters are notoriously not impressed with seeing a picture of an applicant playing drinking games, even if she’s winning.
The point the authors make most clearly is that in these uncertain economic times everyone of working age, even those currently employed, needs to have an online strategy. Web 2.0 Job Finder helps give the appropriate nudge, even for those of us who still prefer pecking away at our Smith Corona typewriters.