Apple IPAD2Informational interviews are your way of gaining a more in-depth look at a potential employer by gathering first-hand knowledge from past or current employees; a casual, coffee-shop conversation can yield a lot of insights. Social media gives you the opportunity to add two-way communication to the research you have already conducted regarding the company. You can network with alumni, new hires and former employees with the following:

LinkedIn is the professional online network most used by employers. First, make sure you have at least 150 connections prior to utilizing it as an asset to your job search. When you visit your desired company’s page, review “Your College Alumni.” These individuals are great candidates for informational interviews.

Twitter is a level playing field that enables you to reach out to company employees with a likely chance of getting a response. Since many employees mention their employers in their bios, take advantage of Twitter directories such asTwellow to help you find profiles mentioning your desired company. You can also @reply to the company’s personal Twitter account inquiring about an informational interview source.

There are many Facebook applications, such as BranchOut, intended to ease the process of finding connections to companies within in your own network. These applications will help you effectively incorporate the largest social network in your job search.

The catch with reaching out to employers online is that they are not obligated to respond to your requests. Therefore, it is your responsibility to make their contribution as simple as possible. Here is how:

Have a plan: Before ever sending your LinkedIn inMail, direct message or Facebook message to their inbox, be sure you have put some thought behind it.

Get to the point: Don’t throw your resume and your life story on them from the get-go. Be clear of what you want from the start and leave all the fluff for later.

Express your commonalities: Having something in common with the person sparks their interest. If you have a shared interest, their ears may open.

Be specific, avoid generalities: There is a difference between wanting just any job and wanting to work for that specific company. Let the employer know why you are pursuing them.

Social media places our future employers within arm’s length. Although it simplifies the process for us, remember to remain professional and polite when reaching out to employers online. Believe me, your online network works. You just have to use it properly.

Have you utilized social media in your job search? Have you found success in reaching out to potential employers via social media? Share with us below!

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