You’ve been trying left, right and any other way you can think of to land a new job. You’ve applied online, you’ve scoured your network and believe you’re having all of the right conversations — yet nothing is panning out. How frustrating! What is the deal?!
First things first, timing is everything. It's annoying to hear, I know, but it's true. Searching for your next career move can take time and a lot of effort, but don’t lose heart. Chances are, you haven’t played all of your cards just yet.
Have you tried Facebook?
Yes, I know your news feed can be a black hole of cat videos or a number of other random things you'd typically find on social media, but consider Facebook groups, which can be an extremely valuable tool to those of you on the job hunt. Facebook groups are an excellent way to make valuable connections with like-minded people and to make new friends. By connecting with other members, you can learn about potential career tracks and different organizations. Here are two easy steps to help you get started:
1. Find your tribe.
Just like there is a cap for every pen, there is a Facebook group for every type of person. Find yours. Likely, there are several that might be a good fit for you.
For instance, I belong to a few. I am (and want to be) working with female entrepreneurs (hence Tech Ladies and Dreamers/Doers) I’m a coach and belong to several coaching Facebook groups (Ipec and Coach Pony Mastermind, among others). I like to have conversations with people who have similar interests, can provide different perspectives and want to nerd out with me about stuff we’re mutually passionate about.
In those groups, members share challenges they are facing, opportunities at their companies and upcoming events that might be of interest. Basically anything and everything under the sun. Think about the type of work that lights you up. What could you spend hours discussing? Use that inspiration to start digging. Somewhere on Facebook, there exists a group dedicated to exactly that realm.
It make take you some time to find the perfect Facebook group for you. Not every group is an open group. A group of bloggers you've heard about may be a secret group, while a group of home-based business entrepreneurs may be a close group that requires a group admin invite to join. Similar to how you build a professional network of contacts, you'll want to approach building out your social network the same way. Research the community very carefully (which, yes, includes reading the group description) and determine how you can become one of its members.
2. Join the conversation.
When you’ve found what feels like the right type of group for you, don’t be shy. Jump right into those conversations and start posting. Ask people about their backgrounds, where they work an, how you might be able to help them achieve something that they are working on in some way. Share photos, business ideas and other interesting content. Be open and inquisitive in a genuine way. Engage and be a part of the conversations.
If someone takes to the group to vent about an especially challenging situation at work, offer support even if you don’t see yourself as an expert in that realm. Sometimes, it’s just about having a good person who is willing to listen and validate what you’re thinking or a person who is willing to tell you if you’re nuts!
Attend events and put faces to names if at all possible. Put yourself out there. Tell your story and be vulnerable enough to share what brings you to the user group and what you are hoping to achieve. If your dream is to be a developer at a certain start-up in NYC — ask the group if they know anyone that works at that company who would be willing to chat for five minutes. If you’re moving to a new town and want someone to connect with for a drink, ask the group. Maybe even reach out to the group administrator to learn how they built the community where you're meeting all these new people! You never know what posts (and the users that write them) could lead you to the next career move. And you never know if another group member could become your new BFF.
So, if you're going the Facebook group route — one last thing to note. Your profile will become fair game. If you’re asking for career help from someone in a group, it’s safe to assume they’ll scope out your page. Your Facebook profile should be a balance of the "you" that your real-life friends see, and the "you" that you would want a business owner or your colleagues to see. If you come off as super unprofessional, it might not leave the best impression. Be mindful of what you’re sharing and the settings you’re using when doing so. (Now would be a really great time to go check your Facebook privacy setting!)
We automatically tend to think of LinkedIn when searching for jobs. Don’t get me wrong — that is also an excellent social media platform to use during your search, but it’s not the only game in town. Get creative, join a group app and look at Facebook from another perspective.
Kelly is a human resources pro and coach who helps people find and achieve what they want career-wise and beyond. Coaching, training, recruiting – if you name it in the world of HR, she's done it in a variety of industries. Her advice has been featured on The Muse, Career Contessa, Levo, Workology, among others. Learn more by scoping her out at www.kellypoulson.com.