I won’t consider hiring someone if they don’t have a LinkedIn profile.

Melodie Tao, of MarketingMelodie.com, explains the importance of social media as tools for job seekers.

Please tell me about your background and how you came to be involved with social media.

I started out working in traditional media and marketing for four years focusing on radio ads, events, billboards and promotions for clients. Although Social Media had been around, it wasn’t until around 2007 when it became a tool people started using more effectively for business, so I began using it to market myself. I started my blog, MarketingMelodie, as a resource for people to learn about marketing. I noticed that it became more effective for clients to be online and to have their own profiles and websites than to place a traditional media ad, which led me to transition into online marketing. I worked at a couple full service online agencies in San Diego, and then a year later, I decided to follow my passion and focus on social media to help businesses, organizations, students, or anyone who wants to enhance their professional development. Today, I’m a marketing consultant specializing in social media and new technology.

How would you explain the term social media to someone who doesn’t know what it means?

Social media, unlike regular media (TV, radio, magazines) is interactive. Simply said, it’s social. There’s no social media unless there’s interaction between the consumer and the brand. It’s up to the brand to create an opportunity for their users to interact with them and create user generated content. Social media is also very personal. Individuals are using social media to create their own personal brands. If you’re looking for a job, your employer’s going to Google you. So it’s important that you have clean digital footprints.

Many haven’t yet taken the leap to explore social media. What do you think is holding them back?

I think social media is a shift that’s been happening so quickly that some people haven’t caught on yet. With more time, I believe people are going to get more integrated with social media because it’s everywhere. Right now, you hear a radio commercial, and instead of saying, ‘Call us,’ they say, ‘Find us on Facebook,’ or, ‘Follow us on Twitter’. Over time, I believe it’s going to become a norm.

Can you give me a breakdown of the top two social media tools that would be of the most use to job seekers?

Number one is definitely LinkedIn. These days it’s almost as important as a résumé. In many industries, employers look up a potential candidate’s LinkedIn before they invite him in for an interview. Since I work in an industry focused on new technology, it’s important that people I work with demonstrate they can use the latest technologies. I won’t consider hiring someone if they don’t have a LinkedIn profile.

Other tools depend on the type of job you’re looking for. It’s always great to have your own blog, especially if the blog is about the industry you want to work in. If you’re looking to work in architecture, for example, it would be beneficial if you had an architecture blog giving examples of tips or insights on great architecture. Or if you’re looking into working in real estate and you have a real estate blog, you can provide people with information and resources about house hunting, financing a home, etc. A blog is a great way to create content and be a resource for people. When an employer sees your blog on your résumé, they see you’re interested and knowledgeable about their industry, which will give you an edge over a candidate who doesn’t provide that resource.

I also recommend that people buy their own domain name and create an online portfolio, even if it’s one page. List the skills you have, projects you’ve worked on, and add links to your social networks.

Do you provide social media services for job seekers?

Yes, I teach marketing classes and guest lecture at universities and colleges where many of my lessons are focused on helping students with their career development through social media. University career centers hire me to teach seminars to students. Most of the consulting I do is for larger corporations or organizations. If an individual would like to engage my services, I host events such my Digital Media Dinner series where business owners and students can learn about topics such as branding and using Facebook and Twitter for business.

Can you recommend other resources for social media newbies?

There are an abundance of resources online so it’s important to find ones that work for you. Twitter is great for finding people who work in an industry you’re interested in. For example, I always post events and tips related to marketing and social media. Someone looking for information on these topics can follow me. I don’t have one specific resource, because new books, blogs, seminars, and events come up all the time.

There are a few tools I use to be more efficient. I use Netvibes.com to create my own personal dashboard which aggregate RSS feeds for all the blogs I read in one place. I also recommend Evernote.com. It’s a digital repository allowing me to keep track of my notes everywhere including photos, clips from websites, and even voice recordings. I also use Delicious.com, a social bookmarking tool where I can save different articles about careers, jobs, different companies I’ve worked with. If I’m conducting an online job search, Delicious is a great way to save websites offering jobs I’m interested in all in one place that’s easy to access on any computer.

For more resources on marketing and using social media for a job search, anyone can also follow me on Twitter and join me on Facebook.

So, let’s say all this information is too much for the beginner to handle at once. What would you say is the most important step to get started?

LinkedIn is the most basic network and the most relevant to job seekers. You can start by copying and pasting snippets of your résumé into your LinkedIn profile. It’s a professional networking tool, so for job seekers, I’d start there.

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It’s no brainer to see that social media is here to stay for good. Given vast variety of the existing channels to choose and stick with, it’s time for such a hot space to enter into a new category. There is a need for a portal to provide a quick and intelligent decision for both the consumer and the enterprise about their online connections.

A Platform to Help us to Distinguish Our Quality vs. Quantity Friends, Fans, Followers, and Companies

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Youtube, Flickr and others have been doing a decent job of providing additional marketing exposure and even in some cases, additional revenue. However, as more and more social networking sites pop up, how do you manage your brand across all these channels? Maybe more importantly, which one of these sites should you select as the one that will help you best reach your target audience? The proliferation of the social media avenues is becoming overwhelming.

This glut of information reminds me of the early 90’s when WWW was adopted broadly by the general public. Every company rushed to have a presence, to the point it became literally impossible to find the right information on the Web. That’s when a better generation of search engines – at first the Yahoo! and then Google – entered the market and helped us find the most relevant information by just typing simple keywords in their search box. If you had asked before Google launched, if there was a need for another search engine – most would have said no, we already have those….

Then came Web 1.0 & 2.0 – Youtube, Flickr, myspace, Facebook, Twitter and countless others have turned everyday people into content producers, influencers and experts. We basically tripled down on the information overload How do you know which channels to select for deploying your social media strategy? How do you know which one is the right channel to let your fans and followers to find you, your products, and services? Most importantly, who is Joe Smith that is recommending that person, that company, that product?

I hope my awesomize.me can accomplish such a mission. The site is not another social networking platform. Yet the portal to all your existing social media channels. The platform helps you, your fans, your potential clients to make an intelligent decision as to which company to connect to or follow via which social media channels and why? It’s free!

Elias CEO & Founder http://awesomize.me

Same philosophy goes for me too. The proficiency of the employee with regards to technology and social media is a major factor for me in the hiring process. However, sometimes the pain of going through each one of them (including viewing their LinkedIn profile) could be such a time waster. What I mostly do is to go to this site (or any other online job directories for that matter) and hire my employees from there. It is more convenient for me as an employer to do it that way. It takes lesser time too.

I will never join LinkedIn.

It's so annoying to receive all those emails "So-and-so wants you to join Linked In."

I get them over and over again, and have grown to hate LinkedIn because of it.

Count me out.

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