Las Vegas Sun

October 20, 2014

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workplace column:

Social networking sites linking employers and job seekers

Employers are often turning to social networking sites to research job candidates, a study by Challenger, Gray & Christmas, an outplacement company, found last month.

This is a chance for workers looking for a job to use those sites to their advantage.

Any tool to help laid-off Las Vegans is welcome, being as the jobless rate was 13 percent in October. Workers are having to get creative when looking for job leads.

The classified ad section in Sunday’s paper showed more ads were for house and car sales than were ads placed by employers looking for help.

This means expanding your search to your network, and one of the easiest ways to do that is by letting people on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter know you’re looking for work.

“It is important to remember that all of these technologies simply enhance the job search,” Challenger CEO John Challenger said in a statement. “(Technology) will never replace the face-to-face connections that are critical to a successful search.”

But Challenger advises job seekers to, at the very least, set up LinkedIn accounts and consider setting up professionally geared profiles on sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Try establishing relationships with managers who could be looking for employees.

Then, instead of run-of-the-mill postings about family vacations or what you made for dinner, focus your posts on the industry you would like to work in.

Once the domain of young people, social networking sites are gaining popularity among adults. The median age of LinkedIn users is 39 years old; for Facebook, it’s 33; and for Twitter, the median age is 31, according to a recent study by Pew Internet and American Life Project.

Social networking tips from Challenger:

• Build your network: Use everyone in your personal and professional networks;

• Build your brand: Focus on the industry you’d like to work in, such as posting news items and trends;

• Advertise your job loss: Letting people know you are looking for work could open up opportunities for you, especially on Twitter where employers can follow you with ease, allowing you to cast a wider net;

• Get recommendations: On LinkedIn, ask former colleagues and bosses to post a recommendation about you. Return the favor in kind;

• Join groups: LinkedIn and Facebook allow users to join professional groups, giving you a chance to communicate with others in your field;

• Think before you tweet: Use social networking tools to market yourself. Don’t post anything you may regret later.

Challenger also suggested several groups on LinkedIn that job seekers should join including the Talent Buzz, Executive Suite, Linked:HR, JobsDirectUS and Project: Get Hired.

A word of caution from Challenger:

“Perhaps the most dangerous aspect of the Internet is the permanency and pervasiveness of any and all information that finds its way there. Comments on a friend’s blog, reviews on consumer sites and inside jokes made for a private audience on a social networking site’s public group page are all available at the click of a mouse to potential employers.”

Desperate times

Las Vegas-based Adopt-a-Rescue Pet sent out a desperate e-mail to the media Thanksgiving week.

Elizabeth Rubin, founder of the nonprofit organization, said that several of the group’s donors have stopped their donations to Adopt-a-Rescue because of the recession.

The group is in the process of building an animal sanctuary and retirement home for dogs in Amargosa Valley, and had enough money promised to it from its donors until they reneged on their commitment, Rubin said.

Those plans have been put on hold, as has the adoption of dogs sitting in kill shelters. The group is also receiving dogs it had already adopted out from people who have decided to abandon them.

As part of Rubin’s plea for help, she announced that area business K-9 Barracks & Bath is sponsoring a holiday kibble drive to buy food for the 300-plus dogs being held by Adopt-a-Rescue. The group goes through 270 large bags of feed every month.

A $25 donation will buy a 40-pound bag of dog food.

Even a $1 donation will help, if everyone who reads this pitches in, she said.

To donate, visit adoptarescuepet.org or call 883-0035.

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