If you're a Recruiter or HR Professional, 2008 may have been the first year that you actually heard the terms Web 2.0, social media or social networking. So you may be a little late to the game, but congratulations – you're here – so that's a start! And just so you know, I'm officially declaring 2009 to be THE year to get to know and effectively utilize social media tools that can help you in your career. To create your Personal Development Plan (gotta call it something you're familiar with so you'll feel comfortable), I'm recommending 10 tools that you need to implement or increase your involvement with in 2009. You'll get 5 in this post, and 5 in a subsequent post. You may already be using many of these tools, and if you're rockin' and rollin' with all 10 of them, then move to the head of the class! (Of course, you're probably already there since using social media tools has likely set you apart from your peers who haven't figured them out yet.)
Go where the peeps like you hang out on the web. The best way to get smarter about something is to surround yourself with people smarter than you. There are plenty of options to choose from, including – RecruitingBlogs.com, HRM Today, ERE.net, and The Fordyce Letter Network - just to name a few. Check them all out, see which one best fits your niche and join at least one. Create a profile and set aside a few minutes each day to explore. Next, add some contacts and join Groups of interest. Work your way up to commenting on blog posts and forum discussions and participating in the live chats. Graduate to posting content and questions of your own as well as helping others. By participating, you'll be able to network with other recruiting and HR professionals who are dealing with and solving similar challenges, and you'll be able to build a community of like-minded folks who are willing and able to help you when you need it. If you're not involved with these groups, you're missing great information like this, this, this and this.
Learn how to use (really use) LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a no-brainer these days for business professionals. I'm regularly surprised to find HR or recruiting pros on LinkedIn with incomplete profiles (or worse, no profile), very few connections and no Group memberships. LinkedIn is one of the best on-line tools out there for Personal Branding, Job Search, Business Development and Recruiting! An effective profile is your on-line business card, marketing brochure, Google-rank helper, etc. Create a great profile, connect to others, join and/or create Groups, participate in Discussions, ask and answer Questions, etc. Need help? Here are some great resources to get you started: Jason Alba's "I'm on LinkedIn — Now What??" book and blog, the Social Media Headhunter's LinkedIn Recruiting Companion, Shally Steckerl's LinkedIn Cheatsheets, and the LinkedIn Blog for the latest news on what's new at LinkedIn.
Read more Blogs by becoming an RSS Rockstar or Ninja. I started reading blogs early in 2008, and like most, I subscribed via email. Like most, I also get too much email, so I found myself moving blog posts to a "Read Later" folder – which I never got to. After discovering Google Reader (there are others too), I now subscribe to over 300 blogs, and I can skim through or read content at a much more efficient pace (and my email box is happier too). Some people get their info from books or newspapers - I read blogs and feeds. And I learn. A lot. Need some suggestions for your starter kit? Start with FOT's latest Talent Management Blog Power Rankings, Business School Directory's Top 50 HR Blogs, and RecruitingBlogs.com Best 2007 Recruiting Blogs. (You can also find many smart bloggers who syndicate their feeds on RecruitingBlogs.com and HRM Today.) Subscribe to several, and then add and subtract as you go. Pretty soon, you'll be up to 300+ blogs in your Reader too. Or not. It's up to you!
It's time to try Twitter. If you've been resisting using Twitter so far, then it's time to give in. I resisted initially too, but since I started Tweeting in March 2008, Twitter has become one of the best resources I have as a recruiter, coach and talent consultant. Why? Because I connect with thought leaders who share what they're working on, resources, tips, links to interesting articles, etc. Twitter doesn't have to take over your life. Like you, I have a day job. Some days I check in a few times in between phone calls, interviews and client meetings, and other days I'm not there at all. And for those who say the people they need to connect with aren't on Twitter – think again. I deal mostly with senior level professionals and executives, and I have clients, candidates and potential clients/candidates following me on Twitter. Trust me. They're there - or will be. Need help getting started? Check out Why Recruiters Should Use Twitter on RBC, and my post over at CincyRecruiter's World on 10 People All Recruiters Should Follow on Twitter.
Figure out how to use Facebook for recruiting. I'm also adding this one to my own PDP for 2009. LinkedIn wasn't necessarily the place to be in early 2006 when I joined, and while recruiters were certainly some of the early adopters, it's most definitely the place to be now. Because I got in early and spent time developing my network and learning to use the tools, I'm ahead of many of my counterparts in using LinkedIn to develop my business, my personal brand and my relationships. I predict that Facebook will become an even more important tool for Recruiters and HR professionals in the future. Many companies are already effectively utilizing Facebook to connect with and recruit young professionals, but I'm seeing more and more senior level talent signing up and trying to figure it out as well. (Translation – everybody's doing it.) Facebook has some cool tools for recruiting and employment branding. So stop thinking about all of the pitfalls of Facebook and just do it already! And when you figure out how to use it well, share your knowledge on all of the tools above.
Stay tuned to Fistful of Talent for 5 more social media tools to get involved with in 2009. (And if you need help with subscribing – see #3 above, or just click here and add to your Reader! I'm on all of the tools above, so hopefully, I'll see you/meet you on the Interwebs!
Jennifer McClure is a Vice President at Centennial, Inc.,a Cincinnati-based recruitment and coaching firm, where she’s charged with strategic recruiting efforts, executive coaching and business development for the firm. Send her an uncustomized LinkedIn invite at your own peril…