tough, vacancies are often filled before the need to advertise the position, and whether you’re employed or unemployed, finding employment opportunities can seem an uphill struggle. So, how about considering an additional way of finding suitable positions? (Please do not stop all of your other endeavours, as you need to use every method you possibly can in this economy, so continue checking with the job centre, badgering your employment agency, and searching on the internet) It’s now possible to find positions and engage with the people who will be interviewing you via social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and even YouTube) as there are now just under 600 million users on Facebook, over 105 million users on Twitter (source, 90 million members on LinkedIn and YouTube continues to grow in popularity every single moment of the day. So, if most of the UK population is “engaging” (talking, conversing, networking, posting information) on social media sites for over an hour a day, it’s a good place to be seen and heard, and get up close to companies and their directors and employees. Where do you start? Firstly ensure that your profile is tidy (ie, drunken shots at the latest party are not conducive to securing a job when your potential interviewer checks you out, however, it IS important to post a picture to your profile, people will not interact with a “faceless” profile). Update your job history where you can (Facebook and LinkedIn provide the facility to do this). Post your business interests as well as social interests in your online profiles , and use the “info” field well (if using twitter, you have 140 characters to sell yourself, so choose wisely!) Next, go search on the social media sites for companies that you’d like to work for, or search for your “niche” area of expertise, and follow or like those companies. This will ensure that you see their latest news in your news feed for any of the social media sites. Once you’ve followed/liked these companies/people/industries, start engaging with them. That means have conversations, listen, see how people are interacting, and then join in the conversation. Don’t jump straight in begging for a job, but engage in what interests you, show what you know, share experience, it will get you noticed! Once you’ve established a relationship with these companies/people, then there is no harm in mentioning that you’re looking for work with them, but it’s imperative to establish the relationship first. Companies often post vacancies now on social media sites, so by following/liking them, you’ll also see any vacancies as soon as they appear, and so can get your application over as soon as possible. Finally, spread the word that you’re looking for work with your contacts on all social media sites that you use. If you’ve not spoken to someone for 10 years, they may find it cheeky if you approach them asking for a job, but select your contacts who you know will support your job seeking, and ask them to let you know of opportunities, additionally you may find that friends and colleagues become marketing machines for you, and so connect you to the people that are recruiting. If you know of someone who is frequent user of social media, and has lost motivation to job seek, it’s worth encouraging them to use their hobby (Facebook etc) to seek employment, I know it would work very well with young adults in particular, as they spend far more than an hour a day on social media, and often use mobile devices to access it, and therefore are far more likely to see opportunities if they know how to look for them. So, what can each of the sites offer you as as someone seeking work opportunities? LinkedIn and Ecademy are more widely used for career advancement, and cater for professionals well.  You can easily build a network of contacts, and get introductions to people that may be hard to “access” or guarded by gatekeepers. Companies have just started to create profiles on LinkedIn now, so it’s possible to keep track of companies, as well as network with individuals. Facebook and Twitter give you easy access to well known brands/companies, as well as making it easy for you to search for your target industry in a particular location. You can interact easily with companies (that allow it) on their walls on Facebook, and by tweets on Twitter to attract their attention. YouTube is the perfect place to post your latest presentation or project (if it doesn’t include confidential or sensitive information) or even create a video CV (now wouldn’t that make you stand out from the crowd). So, gone are the days that Social Media was just for playing, use it to your advantage, and please let me know how you get on! Caroline Thomas will help you to increase sales by providing sales and marketing strategies and social media marketing solutions  – to find out more or to book an appointment, please call 0844 556 5116 or email [email protected] – Caroline is also easily found on Twitterand FacebookCaroline on Google +  ]]>