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Though there’s place for idle talk about movies, the weather and general skinder, we would probably improve our job prospects if we talked more about job opportunities in our daily interactions on social media.
“Talking and networking has never been so easy as it is today with social media as additional communication tools,” says Natalie Rabson of Boston City Campus & Business College.”
“So why not talk about jobs?”
South Africans spend an impressive period of time daily on social networking.
So much so that a recent study found SA to be the African country that tweets the most.
The study, conducted by Portland Communications and Tweetminster, shows that South Africans sent 5 million Tweets during the past three months of last year.
“Imagine if all this tweeting and networking could broaden your horizons – in terms of knowledge and in terms of finding and creating jobs,” says Rabson.
“Youth unemployment is one of the most important issues and one that we should all be addressing, as it affects us.”
Instead, she points out, a mere 22 percent of the Africans surveyed for the study said they used Twitter to search for job opportunities. Most of those polled said they tweeted mainly to communicate with friends.
Furthermore, the study confirmed that it is the younger generation that loves tweeting – 60 percent of Africa’s most active tweeters are between 20 and 29.
“Since this the age group that is likely to be most active in job searching, it would make sense that they increased their use of Twitter – and other social media – to search for jobs, talk about employment, share career aspirations and build useful connections,” Rabson says.
Tweeting need not only be for social purposes – it can be educational, too.
Students should maintain contact with their friends as well as informed tweeters, such as @skynewsbreak for news or @piersmorgan for interesting opinions.
Rabson believes there are many ways jobseekers and students can benefit from using Twitter, including the following:
lConnect with people in the companies and fields where you are looking for employment.
lMake a Twitter list and add the companies you are interested in working for.
lIdentify and “follow” entrepreneurs, especially if you’re an aspiring entrepreneur with an idea, product or service that you wish to take to the next level.
lTweet some of your skills without linking them to a specific job; somewhere, someone may be looking for those skills.
lTell others about vacancies you’ve heard about or job adverts you have read in the newspaper. After a recent SMS advertising available positions was sent to Boston graduates, 65 percent of the applicants were not from Boston. This shows the power of social networking in helping others to find jobs.
lCreate a LinkedIn profile and link to that on your Twitter page. This way everyone gets to know what you do and you become more accessible, too.
lTweet interesting titbits about your job; this shows you’re passionate about your work and may attract the attention of a prospective employer.
lUse your real name for you account if you can. If not, use something that is professional and related to what you’re going for.
lJoin in conversations that relate to your field of expertise – in the exchange you’re bound to learn, and teach, something new.
lTweeting teaches you to focus on getting across a message quickly, clearly and in few words – applying this useful skill to your CV should improve its impact.
lConnect with those who could possibly mentor you or at least give you a better understanding of what an industry or field of work is about. This will broaden your understanding and knowledge of a career and an industry.
lIf you have a large following or network, you might be able to persuade a company to use you for marketing, brand building and/or market research purposes for a fee. Ensure your dealings are ethical and be upfront about your intentions.
lShare ideas or brainstorm solutions with people in your field of work – this can go a long way to build your reputation.
l Boston City Campus & Business College offers more than 80 dynamic career qualifications at 48 branches, nationwide. Unisa degrees and media studies are also available at selected branches. Call Boston at 011 551 2000, e-mail info@ boston.co.za, visit www.boston. co.za or find it on Facebook.