Tapping into social networks

Amanda Ellis, a legal recruiter based in Dallas, recently wrote an article for the Texas Bar Journal entitled The Big Three: Using Social Networking Sites to Connect with Employers and Clients.

I’d like to focus on two techniques Ms. Ellis suggests to identify potentially helpful job hunting contacts. The first is a Facebook application called BranchOut.

Let’s assume you want to work for US Bank. BranchOut allows you to browse your friends’ employers, so you can identify who currently works at US Bank or who has worked there in the past. You can also invite your friends to join your BranchOut network, which will enable you to see where their friends work.

By establishing a contact at US Bank through your friends or the friends of your friends, you’ll have the opportunity to gain insights about job opportunities and will be in a better position to prepare for an interview.

Similarly, LinkedIn provides a Company Search tool. On the LinkedIn main menu, click on “Companies,” then enter the name of the organization with which you’d like to establish a contact or about which you’d like to learn more before an interview. LinkedIn will then display employees at the organization who are in your network, as well as your connections’ connections who work there.

You’ll be able to identify shared connections, which will help you determine which members of your network you can ask for introductions to fruitful job hunting contacts outside your network.

For more tips on how to use social networking sites to your advantage, check out Amanda Ellis’s blog, The 6 Ps of the Big 3: Getting Hired Using Social Networking.

Todd Rogers, Assistant Dean for Career Services