Facebook is fundamentally on online address book that allows you to gather contacts and see what they’re doing. Unlike LinkedIn, Facebook has a social theme. However, don’t discount the platform as a key element in a broader job search strategy. By using Facebook to promote your personal brand, and developing a smart networking strategy, opportunity awaits…

Go, Go Facebook Profile Power

You can confidently assume that recruiters and employers will look at your Facebook profile to ascertain the individual behind the CV. So here’s the rule: if you’d be embarrassed if a future boss saw it, get rid of it. Now. This means culling tactless groups, pages, images, messages, and whatever other junk your profile may have amassed over the years.

Facebook, unlike LinkedIn, should not replicate your professional image – rather, your profile should be complimentary. As such, be sure to show off your personality and background. Looking for a work in design? Make sure your profile has creative impact.

Appropriate holiday snaps and pictures families and friends will endear yourself to recruiters. As will suitable groups/pages that reflect your interests. A super clean-cut professional profile is not only boring, it looks like you’re being fake.

Privacy options are a personal decision. At the very least, if you’re using Facebook to position your personal brand and network, don’t be guarded. But have in mind that when it comes to viewing your profile, your ‘friends’ appreciate privileges that your ‘non-friends’ don’t have.

There are some great apps out there that will enhance your profile, and direct visitors to other social channels such as your LinkedIn account, blog, and Twitter account. You can even link to your Innovate CV, which can be created, managed, shared and sent in Facebook itself via the Innovate CV app. Your network can view and ‘like’ your new-generation CV, effectively spreading it across their respective networks. Which brings us to our next key point…

Networking. Networking. Networking

You should have a comprehensive Facebook network before you need one. Quality networking has two components: building and developing.

Building Relationships

At the very least, your network should consist of contacts you’ve made in the ‘real world’ – yes, search for your old school friends and distant family. After all, you never know who could assist your career.

However, a simple ‘friend request’ and ‘acceptance’ doesn’t re-establish a relationship. With every contact renewal, send a genuinely friendly and tailored message. Quality online networking doesn’t allow for generic templates.

Now here’s where the fun begins: targeting. Who do you want to get to know?

Let’s say you’ve identified a company you’d like to work for. Who works there, and what are their positions? Do you share any mutual friends?

While this information is best gathered on LinkedIn, Facebook is arguably the ideal platform to make contact. LinkedIn is the acknowledged professional networking site, which is why it is so difficult to make a quality connection – after all, everyone is trying to network with everyone. Good luck getting a response any time soon. If at all.

By sending a carefully worded Facebook message to your desired contact, you’ll easily stand out from the crowd. Don’t ask for a job. Don’t sound desperate. Don’t be apologetic. A genuine request for information or an opinion, and even a compliment, is all that is needed to get the ball rolling. Only after some back and forth, you may feel it’s appropriate to send through a formal friend request – be it on Facebook or LinkedIn.

Facebook Groups are an ideal forum to build credibility and identify targets. Are you interested in the gaming industry? Choose the group with the soundest reputation, and get involved in the discussion.  Make sure you’re adding value, and have in mind that your future boss could well be paying attention to what you’re saying.  At the very least, you’ll build your network. And who knows, you could even make an impression with some influential group-members.

Developing Relationships

Imagine you receive a personal message from a friend that after some introductory pleasantries, asks if you know anyone hiring.

How do you respond?

If you’re like most of us, it depends. Is this person someone who has been appropriately developing (or at least, sustaining) a relationship? If so, you’ll have a good think. And if you don’t know anyone, you may suggest someone who may.

However, what if this engagement is a flash in the pan? You may be ‘friends’, but you’re very much aware that you don’t have a relationship of any real worth. Chances are, you may resent feeling used, and resist exerting effort in wondering if you can help.

And herein lies the lesson. Strategically engage your friends. Of course, a common sense approach is needed to ascertain who to engage, and how much time to invest. However, make sure you have a regiment of appropriately commenting on friends’ updates and photos, for example. But be wary of sending lengthy private messages that demand equally lengthy responses.

When it comes time that you do need some help, you’ll have a steady stream of contacts who you can be confident will help out.  Some relationships, remember, could be the smartest investments you make.

While social networking cannot (and should not) replaces real-life contact, Facebook is an ideal platform to find and attract hidden job opportunities and promote yourself as the ideal candidate.