L’importance des réseaux sociaux

On parle beaucoup en ce moment de la nocivité des réseaux sociaux, de comment les jeunes se montrent de plus en plus dépendants de ces monstres de l’âge moderne, alimentant leurs egos avec des ‘likes’ ou des ‘shares’.  Pourtant, jusqu’à quel point ces affirmations sont-elles vraies ? Sont-elles, en fait, seulement une manière de diaboliser une génération, tout en rejetant les outils aussi efficaces qui sont les réseaux sociaux ?

Sites tels que Facebook et Twitter nous permettent de garder contact avec nos proches, sans avoir recours à envoyer ses photos et ses petites pensées à chaque personne individuellement. Certes, des images sans fin du petit-déjeuner d’un ancien ami de la fac ou de son chien si mignon peuvent embêter, mais sans doute sa mère est heureuse de partager un petit moment dans la vie de son fils. Il suffit de bloquer ceux qui t’énervent ainsi, pour que vous ne puissiez rester en contact qu’avec ceux qui comptent dans votre vie. Bien qu’il existe un degré d’égoïsme autour des ‘likes’,  l’important pour la plupart des gens est de se sentir plus proche à ceux qui sont peut-être physiquement éloignés.

Qui plus est, les réseaux sociaux peuvent se servir comme moyen de faire de nouvelles connaissances. Par exemple, des étudiants qui viennent d’arriver dans une nouvelle ville peuvent s’inscrire aux groupes Erasmus sur Facebook pour rencontre des amis, rester informés quant aux événements ou même pour faire des échanges linguistiques, ainsi rendant sa vie plus facile.

Tout cela sans parler des avantages au sein des entreprises, qui sont aussi nombreux. Le facebook d’une entreprise est maintenant le centre de sa présence en ligne, et c’est par ce moyen que ses clients choisissent de lui communiquer, qu’il soit pour exprimer leurs plaintes ou pour faire l’éloge. Les entreprises peuvent également se servir des réseaux plutôt stylés, tels que Instagram ou Pinterest, comme outil de publicité, puisqu’il y a tout un monde de blogueurs qui sont prêts à publiciser n’importe quel produit. Donner un produit gratuit à un blogueur  est beaucoup moins cher que payer une campagne publicitaire, et en fait les clients se sentent beaucoup plus proches à eux, fessant plus confiance à son blogueur préféré qu’à une pub à la télé. Même le réseau assez jeune ‘Snapchat’ commence à être utilisé pour diffuser événements avec ses ‘histoires’ publiques, auxquelles les utilisateurs peuvent soumettre leurs photos et vidéos et ainsi fournir de la publicité gratuite. Et n’oublions pas l’importance du géant Linkedin qui compte maintenant 160 millions de membres autour du monde et qui agit comme outil important chez les chasseurs de têtes, de même qu’une plateforme pour construire les relations professionnelles.

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Voilà pourquoi les réseaux sociaux ne sont pas les diables que vous les croyez ! À condition que vous soyez prudent avec leur utilisation, ils peuvent vous offrir un monde d’opportunités dans votre vie professionnelle aussi bien que dans votre vie privée. Si vous avez aimé ce blog, vous pouvez lire plus ici, et n’oubliez pas de consulter nos offres d’emploi pour les assistants bilingues à Paris !

Comment gérer votre e-réputation bien

Récemment, j’ai lu un article, ‘Must-have Job Skills in 2013’ et il ressort que l’une des compétences désirée et nécessaire est le <<personal branding>>. L’influence des réseaux sociaux est incontestable si l’on en juge par la croissance de Facebook, de Twitter,  de LinkedIn ces dernières années. Malgré la perception erronée qu’il vaut mieux éviter les réseaux sociaux, il vous faut profiter de cette occasion pour contrôler et optimiser votre image professionnelle.

Image via s_falkow

Pourquoi être présent sur les réseaux sociaux ? D’abord, l’internet est la première étape de recherche pour les recruteurs donc il est nécessaire de saisir la chance pour donner la meilleure première impression. En outre, les entreprises commencent à reconnaître le pouvoir des réseaux sociaux. De plus en plus entreprises demandent à leurs employés à de tweeter sur leur nom, d’écrire un blog, afin de contribuer effectivement au développement des médias sociaux d’entreprise. Il est donc essentiel que vous sachiez comment utiliser les médias sociaux à votre avantage. Finalement,  vous pouvez vous représenter  comme un expert dans votre domaine et cela permet de vous ouvrir les portes plus facilement. Donc, ce serait une erreur de croire que l’on peut ignorer les réseaux sociaux.

Afin de bien vous représenter bien, décidez les meilleurs méthodes et moyens pour communiquer. Commencez par être présent sur les réseaux sociaux principaux cela  veut dire Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn.), écrivez des blogs pour démontrer votre savoir-faire, interconnectez vous en partageant des articles de vos connections et répondez aux questions et discussions sur les forums. Pour être efficace, ne partagez que des articles etc., donnez votre avis et partagez vos pensées. Toutefois, n’hésitez pas à montrer votre vie en dehors du travail, il est important de montrer vos intérêts et votre sens  de l’humour pour bien faire savoir que vous êtes humain ! Ces mesures contribueraient à bien établir votre e-réputation.

Il faut cependant considérer les choses à ne pas faire pour optimiser votre <<personal branding>>. Premièrement, un profil incomplet est une erreur très facile à éviter.  Comme je l’ai déjà dit, vos comptes de réseaux sociaux sont votre première impression et un profil incomplet peut donner une impression que vous êtes paresseux et vous vous souciez peu de votre image. A noter également qu’une présence inconsistante nuit à votre efficacité en ligne. Essayez de mettre à jour vos comptes régulièrement ainsi que les transmissions des nouvelles et la maintenance des rapports en ligne. Sans aucun doute, la chose la plus importante  à retenir est qu’il est essentiel de toujours présentez une image professionnelle de vous. 69% de recruteurs ont rejeté un candidat à cause de son image représentée sur les réseaux sociaux. Les principales raisons ? 13% ont menti sur ses qualifications, 11% ont dénoncé son chef ou ses collègues et 10% ont publié un contenu inapproprié. N’oubliez pas qu’il est très facile d’accéder aux informations et les gaffes en ligne ont une tendance à réapparaître. Par conséquent ayez la sagesse rétrospective et pensez bien avant de publier en ligne !

Naturellement, il faut être sensible aux pièges des réseaux sociaux mais leur croissance marque indéniablement un changement sur lequel on doit s’adapter.

Alors, qu’attendez-vous ? Inscrivez-vous et créez votre e-réputation !

Facebook – est-il possible d’assurer notre confidentialité en ligne ?

Image via Steel Wool (Flickr)

Dû aux événements récents sur Facebook, notre idée de la confidentialité en ligne est remise en question.  Malgré le fait que Facebook continue à démentir les rumeurs, plusieurs internautes exigent que les messages privés soient  rendus publics. Que les allégations soient vraies ou fausses, c’est peut être le moment de considérer de plus près ce qu’on partage en ligne.

Selon quelques experts, le lancement récent de Timeline en France est à l’origine du bug allégué. Metro France, qui a publié la nouvelle en premier,  a rapporté que les messages privés datant de 2007, 2008 et 2009 apparaissaient directement sur la Timeline des utilisateurs. Encore pire, bien que vous pouvez supprimer les messages sur votre profil Facebook, les messages restent toujours sur les Timelines d’autres participants.

Chaque mois, on compte 71 millions de mises à jour de statut, 103 millions de postes publiés sur les murs des membres et 734 millions de messages envoyés sur Facebook en France.  Ces chiffres montrent le rôle toujours croissant de Facebook en tant que moyen de communication. Mais si notre confidentialité ne peut pas être assurée à 100%, qu’est-ce qu’on peut faire pour garder une vie privée sur Facebook ?

Pour conserver votre vie privée en ligne, voici quelques conseils : n’utiliser pas d’application mobile ; avant de vous connecter, supprimer vos cookies ; déconnecter après chaque utilisation et finalement configurer vos paramètres de confidentialité au plus strict et vérifier qu’ils le restent.

Bien entendu, on ne peut pas assurer votre confidentialité en ligne à 100% – sauf si vous ne partagez aucune information privée sur les réseaux sociaux, même les messages privés !

Qu’en pensez-vous? Est-ce vous vous méfiez des réseaux sociaux?

Social Media privacy: So who exactly can see my personal information?

Since the birth of social media sites such as Facebook, parents have internationally spent many an hour worrying about what exactly strangers can see on their children’s profiles. Today, however, social media privacy is not just a worry for anxious parents. Recent privacy breaches and ever-changing social media privacy laws have brought privacy on such sites to media attention of late. According to a recent survey, a staggering 50% of social media users report to have had problems concerning privacy. It is clear to anyone paying the smallest amount of attention that the popularity and growth of sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn show no signs of slowing. With consumers sharing a growing volume of increasingly varied content, there is a growing awareness of the need for stricter rules concerning privacy. So what can you – as a user – do to keep your information private?

I was extremely shocked recently when I read about a new smart phone application (developed in Russia) called “Girls Around Me”. Combining details made public by Facebook, Foursquare and Google Maps, the app (targeting young men) plots a map of attractive girls currently in the area surrounding the user. For an application to be exposing the whereabouts of individuals (while they have no idea whatsoever) just seems completely wrong. But is it really? Millions of people around the world regularly make use of social media, but 68% of American users say that they don’t understand what information they are sharing or who they are sharing it with. You could argue that if social media users are willing to share their personal data without ensuring that they completely understand privacy settings, then more fool them. Yes, all networks do offer default security settings, but in general these are fairly loose. They will not – for example – protect photos that you have been tagged in if a recruiter searches your Facebook profile. Many users are in fact surprised by just how little information is protected by the default settings. There is nearly always an option to customize privacy settings, enabling users to limit who can see what. Job seekers in particular would be wise to look into customizing their settings if they don’t want their next interviewer to see those photos.

We have all heard that hiring managers may well search our social media profiles before an interview to see what extra information they can find. It surprises me just how many avid social media users I have heard pondering over what exactly a recruiter or potential boss could see. Fully aware of the consequences, many of us still do not check what we are sharing with others, or take two minutes to adjust our privacy settings. It is clear that there is a real need for users to educate themselves on exactly what they are sharing through their use of social media. Did you know, for example, that every time you click “I agree “ to use a new Facebook application, you are agreeing to a new set of rules on sharing your information. Sure, nobody ever reads Terms and Conditions, but perhaps it is worthwhile taking the time to delete apps you don’t use and to look into the privacy settings of those you find useful. This may make you think twice about which applications you really need.

Given the nature of the information shared, Facebook is usually the network causing the most concern regarding privacy. The undeniable growth of social media motivates us to share more and more information. “Check-ins” on location-based services are a more recent addition to social media. As the “Girls Around You” example clearly illustrates, users should be very wary when using such applications. Countless stories in the news of youngsters mistakenly advertising the address of parties they are hosting to thousands of strangers perfectly illustrate the need for care. In an ideal world, it is best just not to use location-based services. Being quite this strict however does put restrictions on your use of social media.

So to really be safe, users can set up specific email accounts to use for social media (to avoid directing any spam brought about by social media to your main email account). Furthermore, it is advisable to make passwords as strong as possible (with numbers and letters, upper and lower case, no memorable names or dates…) and to change them regularly. To go even further, those really concerned about social media privacy could simply share less. If you don’t want the world to see a picture, don’t post it. If you’re not sure about the privacy settings of an application, then don’t use it. Simple! Such a strict approach however is easier said than done.  If you follow all the advice out there, your profile will be well protected, but probably not nearly as much fun. Really making the most of today’s social media experience necessitates a certain lack of privacy. Yes, it’s unwise to share your details through location-based apps, but how many avid social media users are honestly going to pass up the opportunity to take part in social media’s latest trend? It’s up to the individual to weigh up their own priorities and to decide what they value most highly; their social media freedom, or their privacy.

Will Facebook and Google make LinkedIn obsolete?

At the time of this blog being written, LinkedIn is the number one professional network. It is home to around 116 million users, a number which continues to climb. Its profits have risen and its stock remains buoyant. It operates within its own niche, tactically deciding to avoid competing against the social network powerhouse that is Facebook. It seems to be doing everything right, so why is there the feeling that this may change in the future?

Well, there has been a lot of debate recently surrounding the battle for social dominance. Facebook, the current King of the social networks, is now not looking so comfortable on its throne. As I have discussed in previous posts, Google+ is on the rise and poised to take that crown. But what’s this got to do with LinkedIn?

It is clear that Facebook itself has purposefully avoided targeting the professional crowd and Google+ has only just begun its exploits in the world of “social business,” and it certainly hasn’t outlined plans  to target professionals from the get go. But as the struggle for dominance grows it is becoming clear that the only way to win/succeed will be to offer new, and better, features for users.

Unfortunately for LinkedIn, the job market and the professional crowd seem the perfect area for Facebook and/or Google to expand into. With these two internet giants entering into this niche, and therefore directly competing with LinkedIn, it spells trouble for the current, almost unchallenged, professional network. Now, I’m not suggesting that this is going to happen right away, but what must be underlined is that it really is a question of “when” rather than “if”. It is a natural progression for both Google and Facebook and it’s one of the key strategies to keep the competition alive. But can we just write off LinkedIn?

Well, a lot of people are. LinkedIn has experienced a barrage of criticism recently and there have been a number of hints at its potential downfall. The “problem” associated with LinkedIn is that it’s boring. There’s no sex appeal and a clear lack of imagination in its creative team. Although it does have an impressive user-base, the number of unique visitors is much lower and many current users have admitted to ignoring the site. So does this mean that LinkedIn is heading for a fall?

Well, not necessarily.

Yes, LinkedIn isn’t the sexiest social site and it’s not one that constantly updates and adds new features to enthrall its user-base, but it never wanted to or said it was going to.

LinkedIn is the professional network.

I would happily bet that an overwhelming majority of LinkedIn users also have a Facebook profile. This is simply because they want to separate their personal and professional lives, and this seems the general consensus amongst my colleagues and my friends. LinkedIn has been described as social media with no buzz and no sex appeal. For example: Facebook can get you friends, Twitter and YouTube can make you famous but LinkedIn is unexciting and unstylish.

Whilst I do agree that it could use a “sprucing up” I also feel it’s important to stress that it isn’t a site with no buzz. The buzz, or appeal, of LinkedIn is that it can get you a job or get you more business. So do I think it’s just going to disappear whilst Facebook and Google take the reins?

In a word, no. LinkedIn isn’t going to just disappear any time soon. It has a loyal (and growing) user base and remains the preferred professional network. LinkedIn’s critics say its downfall will be a result of its lack of sex appeal, but what they don’t seem to have recognized is that the LinkedIn user-base don’t want sexy, they want professional. The young users want jobs and the older executives want to generate business. That said, Facebook and/or Google are sure to start targeting the professional crowd in the coming months and they will be prepared to fight for market share. What is certain is that it promises to be an interesting future for social business. But if you remember one thing, let it be that LinkedIn will not go down without a fight.

You’re being watched: Privacy is dead

Sharing is great. It’s easy, it’s fun and pretty much everyone does it. With the technology available today you can share anything, with anyone, from anywhere. Unfortunately though, there is one major negative impact of this for professionals: Privacy is dead. And Facebook, with its 800+ million user base, is the main culprit.

In 2010 Mark Zuckerberg labeled sharing as “the social norm.” What he didn’t choose to bring up, or even consider, was the other side of the sharing equation: Privacy. Now, there are various problems or dangers that can arise from the privacy issue but the one that’s most prevalent, and perhaps most influential at the moment, concerns the job seeker.

There’s been a lot of buzz about Facebook privacy in the recruitment world recently. According to a recent survey, around 70% of recruiters in the US have rejected an application based on information found online. That’s a pretty high number, and it’s important to underline that it isn’t just a trend confined to the US; it really is a global phenomenon.

So how are job seekers reacting? Well it is now quite commonplace for a jobseeker to invent a Facebook alias to protect themselves. By changing their display name and tightening their privacy settings, in terms of who sees what content, jobseekers (mostly young professionals/graduates) are essentially having to “hide” from potential employers. And with stats like that who can blame them?

It’s definitely becoming more and more important to manage your online reputation.

But it’s not just jobseekers that are at risk. It seems like every other day that I hear a “horror story” about someone who’s lost their job because of something they’ve said/done on Facebook. Anything from an inappropriate comment or an unsuitable photo or video to a criticism of a former employer/colleague or even a comment left by a friend or family member have landed people in hot water.

According to the same survey, 79% of US companies admitted to having used the internet to “better assess applicants.” As the world, and more importantly the working world, becomes more social, a site like Facebook becomes more and more influential for professionals. Although it did begin as a purely social site used for personal connections, it is now widely used for networking, job hunting and recruiting and therefore to ignore the privacy issue is a mistake which you are likely to regret.

So, what should (and shouldn’t) you be doing?

Number one for me is to take a look at your privacy settings. Make sure you only share posts, information, photos etc with the people you want to see them. Facebook “lists” make this an easier task. Secondly, make sure never to criticize or complain about your work on Facebook – nothing good can come of it! Thirdly, and this one’s probably less common but not unheard of, only accept to add people you know. The reason for this is that sometimes a recruiter will create an alias, friend you and essentially spy on you. Don’t get me wrong, I can’t believe that this occurs too often, and certainly none of the recruiters I know do it, but as I said it’s not unheard of and you should always be careful.

Remember a recruiter is well within their rights to research you. They will happily throw away your CV if they see something they don’t like and they can fire an existing employee for the same reason. So be careful! Your life is not as private as you think it is.

Google+ vs. Facebook: Google’s Battle Plan… (Part 2)

In Part 1 I focused on the explosion of Google+ onto the social business scene. I talked about the ever-increasing rivalry between the two tech giants, briefly mentioning some benefits and ultimately recognized Google+ as a force to be reckoned with. What I didn’t do was go into too much detail or discuss the future implications. Now unfortunately I cannot predict the future, but what I can do is explain what is happening right now and offer some suggestions on what I think is likely to happen in the next few months and the New Year.

Already, since Part 1, things have changed. Google+ was getting a lot of negative attention, and had been since its launch. Many people had written it off before even giving it a chance. But, in the last week or so, opinions and attitudes seem to have gradually changed. People are recognizing that Google+ is not a fad and it will not just disappear; it is something that has to be taken seriously. I mentioned a few of its benefits in Part 1 but the key to Google+ is its potential, and its potential is huge.

Everyone wants to know who will win the battle for social dominance. Marketers are dying to find out so they can plan their strategy and know how they will need to think. So, will Google+ overtake Facebook? And ultimately can Google beat Facebook?

As you are probably aware by now, this is not a question with a simple, or definitive, answer. The reason it isn’t as simple a question as: who will win the battle? is because the competitors are fighting for different things. Google and Facebook work in completely different ways and they have very different ideas when it comes to what makes the best social site. However, despite these differences, the rivalry between the two will continue to escalate and will without doubt impact you as a business.

So, in this part I am going to focus on what Google are doing (and planning to do) to “beat” Facebook.

Firstly, we have the +1 button. This is the fastest growing social recommendation widget in history, with over 5 billion impressions a day. Not bad. These +1’s are going to be connected to your Google+ brand page. This will allow Google to extend your brand on a global scale; and by analyzing who is recommending you and where you are being recommended from, Google can put your brand where relevant people are.

The +1 button is revolutionizing the world of recommendation. You should never forget the fact that people trust people. A recommendation could become more important than your advertising strategy, a reality that becomes a lot more real with the growth in influence of +1’s.

Now, I mentioned Google Direct Search in Part 1 but what does this mean for the future?

“Typing in ‘+YouTube’ goes straight to the Google+ YouTube Page and automatically adds YouTube to your circles on Google+ for easy following. An on-going relationship gets established through one Google Search. This isn’t about Google — it’s about Plus and your brand, putting you at the center of everything on Google.”

So, Google is giving you the ability to connect with customers in the easiest possible way. You will be able to develop much deeper relationships and this will prove invaluable because relationships are the most important thing in business. Google+ aims to transform your relationship with Google; they want to give you the power.

Another benefit I underlined in Part 1 was the importance of Google+ for SEO, but how will that become influential in the future? This is quite simple. Google+ will become more and more important for businesses because it is your Google+ page that will appear when customers search for you. Google’s updated search engine will ensure that all features of Google+ are inter-connected with all things Google, something which is quite simply going to become crucial to your company’s SEO. You need Google+ so people find you.

If your business isn’t on Google+, it quite simply should be. But will it beat Facebook? Well, Google+ is going to win, but that doesn’t mean that Facebook is going to lose. As I mentioned, they are fighting for different things. Google+ will transform marketing and search branding. They are going to have an influence on you; that much is certain.

For now Facebook remains in the lead, and in Part 3 I’ll look at what Facebook are doing, and what they have to do in the future, to make sure that there remains more than one social superpower.

Google+ vs. Facebook: And the winner is… (Part 1)

Last week, Google+ opened for business.

You can now create a brand page for your company and, over the last few days, many have rushed to do so. The buzz surrounding the event is nothing short of astonishing. It is being considered by some as a revolution in social business, and the battle of the tech titans has now become a war.

Google now directly rivals Facebook in the territory of social networking, and although neither Mark Zuckerberg nor Larry Page will admit it out loud, the two heads are involved in what looks to become the tech version of the cold war. The sneaky rivalry remains in its early stages, but recently manifested itself with Zuckerberg’s jab labeling Google+ as a “little Facebook”. And, to be fair, at the moment Facebook is winning the “tech race” when it comes to social media, with its 800 million user powerhouse. However, writing off Google+ would be foolish as its potential, simply put, is infinite.

This conflict is likely to develop greatly over the coming months and the buzz surrounding it will inevitably grow. But I’m not going to discuss Google+ and Facebook on a personal level. I want to try to ascertain which one is (or will become) better for business. Should you have a Facebook business page, a Google+ one or both? How are they different from each other? And is Google+ just going to fizzle out like Google Buzz?

So that’s a few questions to get started with.

Google+ has been hit by a wave of criticism since its launch. Many have suggested that it has forgotten a number of key features and is simply not a worthy advisory to Facebook. I however disagree, and I am not alone in that opinion. Yes, there are some drawbacks or weaknesses at the moment but Google has promised improvements in the immediate future and my personal opinion has been shaped so because of the value I place on potential in a business perspective. So, to answer whether or not Google+ will fizzle out, I would have to say no.

Understandably doubts have arisen because, as a company, you probably have a Facebook business page now. You already have a social media presence and managing it already requires a substantial time investment. You don’t want to spend even more time on another site when you’re not certain it will be beneficial. Don’t get me wrong, I can completely understand this point of view. Google+ brand pages are brand new, they are not perfect and they have a way to go in terms of competing with Facebook. But what Google has planned is certain to rival the social media giant.

Google is the largest search engine online. YouTube is the second largest, and Google owns it. Armed with this power, imagine the potential that Google+ has as a social business network. During the internet boom, companies set up a website so people could find them. Google+ makes you easier to find. It is not unlikely that social media will become more important than a company’s website in the next few years. If someone requires your services they most likely search for you on Google. So why wouldn’t you want a brand page on Google’s own social network?

Google+ Direct Connect allows people to find your brand page easily. By adding a “+” in front of the company’s name you will be taken straight to that company’s Google+ page. It’s simple to set up and the returns can be great.

Another plus for Google+ is the +1 button. This drives traffic through word of mouth, which is widely recognized as one of the most important things when it comes to your company’s promotion and your customer’s opinion of you. It has been reported that some websites that currently use the +1 button indicate that they have experienced a 350 percent increase in visits; a figure that cannot be ignored.

As well as driving traffic, the +1 can hugely improve click-through rates. The influence of the internet and technology in today’s world allows people access to a wealth of information about the product they want to purchase. People trust people, and ultimately the +1 button lets consumers know if your company and your product are good.

These are just a few benefits of using Google+ in a business context. If nothing else, having a brand page will increase your visibility online and can simply act as another source of information about your company. What is important to remember though is that this is just the beginning.

What will Facebook do to respond?

How will the rivalry progress in the coming months?

What is the future of social business?

It won’t be long before we find out…

Using Social Media in your job search

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you will be aware that the job market has been a hot topic of discussion for a long time. The word “crisis” has been used on so many occasions in the media that, to an outsider reading the paper or watching the news, it would seem as if the world is ending. But I’m not going to discuss the reasons for that, or even talk about the problems with the economy, because let’s be honest it gets a little depressing after a while. Yes, the job market is tough right now and no there is no quick fix, no 5 steps which are guaranteed to get you a job. However, that doesn’t mean that it’s all doom and gloom and that there’s no hope. What it means is that you have to alter your approach to the job hunt or come at it from a different angle.

In my last post I discussed the benefits of companies using social media, two of which were particularly relevant to you as the job seeker. Now I have no doubt that most people reading this will have some form of social media presence, whether it be on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or wherever. Most of you will also have noticed that social media is now being used by companies all over the world.

So if you are sitting at home disheartened, wondering why no one’s offering you a job and you’re moaning to your friends on Facebook about how hard life is, you are missing a huge opportunity. You’re already on social media, you already actively use social networking sites but you’re ignoring the answer that’s right in front of you.

If you are a job seeker you have to use social media in your job search.

As a recruitment agency we use social media to enlarge our talent pool and ultimately make it easier to find the best candidates for our positions. If you don’t use social media how do you expect us to find you? No one is going to knock on your door and give you a job. You have to get out into the world and actively “hunt” for that job. Social media enables you to connect with people from all over the world at the click of a mouse.

You have to network, get your name out there, join discussions and grow connections. Take the initiative and be creative and if you see an opportunity, take it or I can almost guarantee you will regret it in the future.

Now I realize that me telling you, you need to be on social media is all well and good but without knowing what to do or how to do it then it’s pretty irrelevant. So, here is my advice for you to break into, and improve your professional social media and discover the world of “social business” with reference to my top 3 social media sites.

Firstly, if you’re not on LinkedIn, get yourself a profile. Get your CV on there and if possible get some recommendations so you’re selling yourself with proof. Remember to put a sensible profile picture up where you look professional i.e. not having a pint or you in on the beach. You can then connect with people you know, people they know and so on to maximize networking possibilities. Join groups of like-minded and relevant professionals and take part in discussions. Ultimately you want to generate relationships with people. Finally, don’t forget to update your status regularly, as you would on Facebook, and let people know you’re current situation. You never know; someone from your past or a new connection could provide you with an opportunity.

I’m going to assume that you use Facebook for connecting with friends at a personal level as most people do (including me). However, it can be an effective networking tool. Again, a status that lets people know your current situation might just mean someone will offer a helping hand. I would advise that you make sure you’re Facebook privacy settings only allow friends to see things you wouldn’t want an employer to see, or just make sure your Facebook puts you in a good light, as it is quite common for recruiters to use social media to assess a potential employee. Facebook has become more important for job seekers, with apps such as Branchout and Beknown. There is also a lot of talk at the moment hinting that Facebook itself may start allowing job postings and therefore is only going to become more important for your job search.

Finally, Twitter is a fantastic networking tool as it gives you the opportunity to connect with people you don’t know based on common interests. By following the right people you can have constant access to new job posts and opportunities more easily than any other social site.

Networking has always been one of the best ways of finding a job and with social media you can increase your networking opportunities globally. The truth is, in today’s society, finding a job is extremely difficult. But the job hunt becomes a lot more difficult if you neglect social media, and its influence is only going to increase.

So my advice to you is simple: Don’t miss out on the opportunity, get out there. Increase your chances of finding a job and get yourself networking professionally on social media. It may just be the best time investment you ever make.