by Karen O’Keefe
In the same way that some people adopted cell phones and “smart” phones right away and others didn’t, there’s a huge discrepancy right now between those who understand the value of social media and those who don’t. You may know bloggers, Tweeters, or “people who Facebook,” or have friends with profiles on LinkedIn. You may even have participated in one or more of these social-media activities yourself. However, chances are good you still have something to learn, especially if you are over 35-40, which is where the generation gap falls. Older people tend not to be users, while younger people do. However, the trend is growing in all age groups, with baby boomers stepping it up in increasing numbers (www.mashable.com).
If you don’t currently use any social-media tools, let me share something with you a recruiter told me during my own job hunt last year: Executives and hiring managers at all Fortune 500 companies have a presence on LinkedIn, and 70% of high-tech jobs are now found through LinkedIn. Furthermore, more than 30 million people in the US and 60 million worldwide are on LinkedIn (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LinkedIn).
If that doesn’t give you pause, try this: Of those people on LinkedIn, users with incomes of $250,000 to 350,000 are seven times more likely to have 150+ connections (http://socialmediastatistics.wikidot.com/linkedin).
What does this mean? In a slow economy, you need to use all the tools at your disposal, and social networking is both inexpensive and effective.
Let me tell you my own story. Last year, I moved to Portland, OR and needed to find work. What did I do?