March 25, 2014
It is often said, “it’s a small world after all,” but it is also a world rooted in social media. Today, your job search is not complete without leveraging an online networking strategy. Many nurses state that they are so involved in patient care and satisfaction that they have yet to get involved in the world of social networks. In addition, there is a perception that the medical community may not be as engaged online.
Social media helps you humanize yourself in an otherwise inhuman job search process of documents and applications. It ultimately helps you expand your network to decision-makers in your target companies and learn about new opportunities.
The Role of Social Media In Job Search
Social networking is the most efficient way to connect with the world today. Remember that the key strategy in job search – talking with hiring managers – has not changed, though we have new tools to help us get there. Today, according to Undercover Recruiter, approximately 80% of opportunities come through networking and approximately 90% of employers today use social networks to find candidates. With so much competition in the marketplace, simply sending a resume and hoping for the best is a passive approach to your search.
Nurses and clinical staff are often challenged when establishing themselves online because in many cases their primary responsibilities do not require sitting behind a computer for most of the day. Consequently, time and accessibility to resources is also a contributing factor. If you are in a career transition, it is important to get started using social media early, as it takes time to build your online connections and leverage your contacts. See our tips below to help you stay on track with an effective job search while incorporating social media.
Start with LinkedIn
The first step in creating a social media presence is to visit LinkedIn, the largest professional social media outlet. Set up your LinkedIn profile to lay the foundation for your online brand. This allows recruiters to find you when searching for candidates and gives them a more rounded view of your experience when you apply for jobs. Create an impact with your heading, such as “Experienced Nurse Practitioner” that recognizes the value of your tenure in your field or emphasizes your track record of success as a nurse.
Research companies and people using LinkedIn, and invite people you know to join your network. The magic happens when you use this feature to expand your connections beyond your inner circle, so you do not need to limit your connections to your target industry. Make sure you are in the habit of inviting professionals you meet to connect with you online, and make social networking a professional lifestyle choice moving forward.
Expand to Other Networks
As your social network grows, keep in mind that your job search is an overall process of connectivity. You want to stay productive by having conversations with people and targeting companies in order to get a full picture of the opportunities that are available, or may become available.
Think of some of the places where you might find people who could benefit you in your search: family, friends, co-workers, or continuing education courses for nurses, community involvement, and professional associations. In your quest to connect with people on a larger scale, consider the following online strategies:
- Twitter: Are you an avid reader of industry publications? Share the best articles with your network through Twitter. Interact with others and respond to their opinions and questions.
- Blogs: If you enjoy writing, consider creating a work-related blog to share and discuss industry trends as well as information. Also, comment on other blogs and consider following key leaders through your social networks.
- Facebook: Continue your research and assessment of target companies by reviewing their Facebook Company pages. Note job postings and nuances of company culture and values.
- YouTube: Do you enjoy watching videos about best practices in the field of nursing? Engage in this online outlet by posting comments and sharing your favorite videos through other online channels.
Seek Out Information
One of the most effective strategies in your networking efforts is to request conversations, or “informational interviews”, with professionals in your industry. When you talk with someone who is accomplished in your target industry or company, you increase your knowledge while making yourself known and positioning yourself for a new opportunity. In these interactions, you typically achieve the best results simply by asking probing questions. Most people are eager to assist you, as it is a compliment to ask someone about their unique career story and expert advice.
As your connections build through social media, request referrals to influential individuals whose insight and additional connections can move you forward.
Every balanced job search relies on these core components: communicating your skills, researching companies, finding opportunities, and connecting with people. As a nurse, your ability to connect with others and generate rapport serves you well and translates to success during a job transition. Add social media to your job search to enhance each of these areas more effectively and efficiently. Place emphasis on targeted companies, your personal brand, hiring managers, and always remember the value you bring to the table.
Note the Chinese proverb, “The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The next best time is now.” Get started today, and begin your networking journey.