Using Google+ in your job search – is that shrewd? Essential? Overkill? In this article I’ll share with you my thoughts on the effectiveness of using Google+ in your job search – along with the steps you can follow to get yourself up and running as a Google+ job seeker.
(Note: whilst written with the job seeker in mind, much will also be relevant for recruiters wanting to explore a new social recruiting tool)
So Google+ has been through the mill the last couple of years. Launched to great fanfare, it was both praised and ridiculed during its infancy. Praised for much of the functionality and interface, plus the way it lends itself to being a more business-oriented / professional social networking site. Praised for the speed with which the platform gained users. Yet ridiculed because the time spent on the network by each of its users was truly pitiful compared with Facebook and Twitter.
As its fans will tell you, the fact that people spend far less time on Google+ than on Facebook or Twitter is a reflection of people’s activities on each platform. Gossiping with friends, sharing family photos and the like from the environment of one’s home is invariably going to eat up hours in a way that sharing great business content and striking up business relationships never could. LinkedIn and Google+ are quite alike in this sense, as figures for time spent on site show (see Mashable’s time spent on social media piece)
So if Google+ has far more active users than LinkedIn, lends itself to business networking (and dare I say it, suffers far less from spam)… then the case for using Google+ as part of your job search is stronger than you might have imagined. Whether it’s right for you will depend on the sectors you operate in (and the geography), plus the traction you already have on other social networking sites; most crucially, it’ll depend on whether the employers / recruiters you want to reach are active on the site and therefore there for you to reach out to.
Let’s assume that your research shows this to be the case. What steps should you then be taking to use Google+ as a job seeker?
Below are the 7 things I'd recommend you do if you want to incorporate Google+ into your job search strategy:
1. Create a professional and keyword-optimised profile
Create your Google+ profile as if it were your LinkedIn profile. Assume it will be looked at by recruiters and employers – and therefore is i) professional in its entirety, ii) comprehensively filled out and iii) consistent with your CV / Resume.
Keep in mind that recruiters actively search platforms such as LinkedIn and Google+ for candidates who may be a fit for their openings. It’s therefore critical that you take a few minutes to do some research and keyword optimise your profile in ways that maximise its chances of showing up in recruiters’ searches. If you need some ideas on how to do this check out the earlier post on optimising the wording of your LinkedIn profile.
2. Organise your activity around targeted circles
A great feature of Google+ is the ability for you to organise the people you follow (“add to circles”) by circles whose names and activity you control. You can create as many circles as you need and add people to as many circles as seem relevant. Other people will not know the names of your circles or how many circles you have added them to. They will simply be notified at the point when you first choose to add them to one of your circles.
This is a really powerful feature for a job-seeker. Just think for a moment…
The possibilities here are endless. What’s powerful though is that – depending on the stage you’re at in your job search process – you can focus in on the activities of particular circles. At the point you’ve secured a job interview with a particular employer, you’re going to want to monitor what the people working at that employer are currently talking about. You’re also going to want to step up your efforts to engage with the people working at the target companies where you have yet to secure a job interview.
3. Explore Google+ Communities
If you’re not familiar with them already, Google+ Communities are Google’s take on a LinkedIn Group. The downside of Communities is that they are very new – and so the membership of each is only a fraction of what you’d find on LinkedIn. But the flipside is that Communities seem far less prone to spam – and the engagement levels you’ll enjoy within Communities certainly seem higher. Have a search to see what Communities there are serving the markets and geographies you are interested in. If there are some already established, they may offer up quick wins for you to engage with recruiters and helpful contacts in a short space of time.
(You're welcome to join our Google+ Community for job seekers and recruiters to see how they work)
4. Get on other users’ radars!
As with other social media, you want to get on people’s radars in ways that are unobtrusive / helpful / engaging (as opposed to coming across as a needy / desperate candidate!). As has already been remarked, adding someone to your Circles will result in them being notified that you have done so – and therefore being prompted to check your profile. One element of using Google+ in your job search is certainly to find and “add to circles” relevant recruiter and business contacts. A portion will choose to follow you back – and thereafter will see your updates via Google+.
Other things you can do that will have a similar effect are to comment on their updates, especially where you can add value to the post or stimulate further discussion and debate. This can very quickly lead to a situation where you are engaging and interacting with that person rather than merely circling them.
Similarly, mentioning people (by typing + and their name) when you are sharing an update can be a great way of getting on their radar. Perhaps you’re sharing information they authored, or content you became aware of because of them. Acknowledge this and it helps raise their profile (and makes them aware you’ve done so). If you see a recruiter posting updates about forthcoming recruiting events or new content they’ve just posted on their careers blog, consider sharing it to further their reach. Remember, helping other people is always a great way of sparking a relationship.
5. Share interesting content in a way that stimulates discussion and interaction
The most surefire way to build up a solid network on any social network is to share content that will be valuable to others. Use your circles to target with laser-precision the articles and resources you share. Employees at a particular company will value market updates and competitor interviews. Members of recruiting teams will value insights into the strategies other companies are using to recruit. As you conduct your job search activities, you will come across lots of information that would be valuable to others in your network. The key things are i) to segment what you share with whom, so that your content shares are always highly relevant and ii) to share them in a way that stimulates discussion and interaction – say by sharing an article as an open question to your contacts, asking others to share their insights, etc.
6. Maintain your presence using scheduling
In my experience, it’s beneficial on all social networks to be “active” on those networks during whatever are the daytime hours of the geographies you are targeting.
Since using Google+ is hopefully only one element of your job search strategy, you’re often times going to be out at meetings, networking in person, attending interviews (even taking time to recharge) - at precisely the times you might want to be appearing on people's radar via Google+. The point being, you will want to schedule some posts to your Google+ profile and/or shares with your circles so that you’re there to be engaged with, even at times of the day you’re not able to do these things in person.
With Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, candidates have many options – including Hootsuite and Buffer – to spread their posts out through the day. With Google+ the options are very limited. But one I can personally recommend you take a look at is Do Share (available as a free service from the Google Chrome Store)
7. Be in it for the long haul
As with all social networking, the greatest results come to those who take time to invest in their presence, build their network and nurture their relationships. The weakest results are achieved by those who dive straight in looking for urgent help from people they have no relationship with.
If you’ve been out of work for some time and are looking for a quick fix, I’d therefore be reluctant to suggest Google+ (or indeed any social networking platform) as the remedy to your situation. Notable results will take many months (rather than hours) to come to fruition. But if you’re someone who is starting to consider their career options and conscious that you may want to make a move at some point in the coming year, using Google+ is definitely a job search tactic you’ll want to at least explore.
What are your thoughts and first-hand experiences of using Google+? Please do share in the comments section below.
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