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Essay: Are Social Media Tools the Key to a Job Search?

If you’re out of a job or reevaluating what you want to do next, using social medias can be a useful tool in extending your exposure to a broader network. However, it is not wise to rely on them exclusively for landing that new, interesting, challenging job.

Why? Because if you don’t understand the fundamentals of good job searching, these tools will only provide the illusion that you’re doing something productive, rather than help you land that “better fit” job.

Remember: These are tools! Much like knowing how to write a good résumé is a tool. That’s all they are. Just like my new 3-wood that was sold to me with the promise that 200+ yard fairway lies will now go straight and long, it didn’t quite live up to the hype. So, too, will your job search stagnate if you rely solely on all the Internet’s latest social-networking tools to land you that exciting new job.

Don’t get me wrong, these tools can work. My daughter just landed an outstanding internship by actively pursuing a Twitter post. But these new Internet tools may continue to repeat the same problems with regard to hiring and networking that have always existed: They give you the illusion that you’re doing something productive toward your job search, when you simply may be Twittcrastinating. Even though we have thousands of job postings at our finger tips, and can search the ones that closely resemble what our expertise might be, most ads are so horribly written, focusing on sterile information about the job description, that only the most desperate job seeker would answer them.

As a side note — Are employee referral programs a reliable hiring tool if the recruiter ends up hiring the most popular person rather than the skilled, yet reserved person, who might be best for the job?

The majority on both sides of the equation (companies and job seekers) continue to miss the mark. There are a few who “get it.” What do they get? They get that people want more than a job. They want to be challenged with the responsibility of contributing to achieving something great. They get that it may be the person with the nose ring and blue hair who rarely says a word who might just love to get things done right.

When companies don’t “get” this, they hire the “best interviewee.” This person is typically the most socially connected, or worse … the most desperate, because that is who they are pitching to!

When job searchers don’t get it, they come across as individuals who are needy and desperate, and will do anything to look good. Looking good doesn’t last too long once they’ve been through the first 90 days. Not to mention the fact that the best companies won’t hire you when you come across as simply desperate to get a job.

Great companies and talented people want to know how each will compliment the achievement of something really interesting. Both parties search and interview with this in mind.

So, for job seekers, the old fashioned way remains the best way. TAKE CHARGE! Know that the easiest way a recruiter can hire is to have someone call them and ask what the given company is trying to accomplish, and how this position is expected to contribute to this mission. Only after you understand all of this, tell them why your skills and experience are a good fit for making that contribution.

While you’re doing that, I’ll be returning to the driving range, working on improving my game, while my gimmick 3-wood sits safely in my bag … and I certainly won’t use it to putt.

David Mashburn earned his doctorate in clinical psychology in 1986. He is in private practice in Bellevue, Washington. He is also a partner in a Seattle-based company, Tidemark, a provider of workforce staffing solutions. He writes and speaks on the science of human flourishing. See his blog at workpuzzle.com.By David Mashburn
David earned his doctorate in clinical psychology in 1986. He is in private practice in Bellevue, Washington. He is also a partner in a Seattle-based company, Tidemark, a provider of workforce staffing solutions. He writes and speaks on the science of human flourishing. See his blog at workpuzzle.com.

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