Platt Perspective on Business and Technology

Using social media as job search and career development business analysis resources 2: tapping into a wider range of insider sources 1

This is my second installment to a series on the points of intersection between business intelligence and its gathering, and social media and related interactive online channels as sources of actionable information and insight, as they can be applied to job search and career development (see Part 1: tapping into the widening range of information sources.)

My goal in this second series installment is to at least begin a discussion of:

• Where your jobs and careers business intelligence can come from when you strategically plan for and follow through on job search and career development campaigns,
• So you can approach them and the decisions that you have to make in them, better informed.

And I begin that with at least a brief background discussion of where you could find out about industries and businesses in an earlier pre-interactive internet, centrally published-only information resource environment. That means discussing more traditional and I add still useful information gathering channels, but it also means discussing their limitations too – increasingly avoidable limitations if these older but still widely used sources of business information are supplemented with information and insight gained from newer more interactive sources.

A wide range of business intelligence sources have always been available for any job searcher or career developer and certainly from central publishing model news and information channels such as:

• Marketing department and other information provided directly by businesses themselves, and often both in print and online and certainly for larger more established businesses,
• Information as to individual business’ finances and related publically reportable issues as provided by those organizations themselves and by third party organizations. This can mean annual financial reports for any publically traded businesses, Better Business Bureau and similar evaluation reports that can address essentially any type of business, and a range of other largely third party sourced reviews.
• That can mean searching and studying reviews and ratings reports from organizations such as Dun and Bradstreet. Any good business library or business section in a more general library can provide you with information about and access to a wide range of such central publishing model resources with both general, and industry-specific and functional area-specific research resources included.
• And to cite one more such categorical source of information, consider researching business news stories and certainly wherever a specific business or more generally its industry would be covered in ongoing news reporting, in general news publications and general interest radio and television coverage or in specialized professional publications and other limited audience coverage.

All of these channels are pre-vetted and screened, and edited for both level of detail, and usually for compliance with editorial policy and content standards too. All of them can be largely if not entirely one sided in what they present and in how they represent that. Picking the first of these three bullet points by way of example, when a business shares news and background information about itself, this all goes out in support of that organization’s overall marketing plan and as a part of its official organizational voice and vision. This type of information can be very useful but it only represents one side of what is always a larger and more complex and nuanced story. And this side of that overall story is all but certain to be limited in what it says as to problems and unmet opportunities faced, that would lead a business to want to hire and that any interested job seeker would want to know of, as part of their own career due diligence process.

I add to that initial list of more traditional resources:

• Job opportunity postings, which can at least begin to fill in some of those business intelligence gaps. And I add, systematically reading the job opportunity listings and open position listings from a business of interest can help you to identify where it might be growing or cutting back, and it can show you what the hiring managers there are looking for as to background skills and experience – that can add details as to what they and their teams do and how, and what they seek to do next. So look at these resources more widely than you would if only focusing on your own specific here and now job search as a wider search here can tell you a lot about the businesses that you would apply for positions at.

That last point is important. Do not just read the specific job descriptions that you might be interested in pursuing yourself if you are looking into a specific business of interest to you. Study that business as a whole and where they are competitively active and why, and seek to understand how the position that you would apply for there, fits into that business’ larger picture. How widely and actively are they hiring and in what areas and for what skills and job functions? What levels are they hiring at? What does this tell you about how they are currently competitively positioned and about where they are going? This type of bigger picture insight can offer real value to anyone seeking a position at a business.

As a perhaps seemingly minor but actually very important issue, pay close attention to the wording that a business uses in its job postings and other vetted communications; read what they have to say with an eye to that level and type of detail. And use the same key word selection choices that they do when drafting the version of your resume that you would send to them, and when writing your accompanying cover letter and any follow-up correspondence. I have discussed the why of this in detail in other postings and series, and simply note here that if you sound more like an industry insider, this puts you at more of a competitive advantage, and particularly when initially starting a career. And at least as importantly, most businesses face so many incoming resumes when they post job openings notices, that they routinely add all of the responses that arrive to them into computer databases – which they then mine for best candidates from, using search queries that use their preferred wording for skills and experience types that they are looking for. So if you have the necessary skills and experience but you indicate that in your resume by using word selections that they do not use, your resume will not be found when they do this initial screening.

My focus here is on using posted and publically announced job descriptions as a source of information that you can use when planning and executing a job search and when managing your career in general. See my series: Finding Your Best Practices Plan B when Your Job Search isn’t Working (at page 1 of my Jobs and Careers Guide, postings 56-72) for a systematic discussion of job search campaigns and how to strategically plan and carry through on them as complete process flows.

I am going to continue this discussion in a next installment where I will discuss traditional approaches to business social networking. And after that I will add new and still emerging social media options to this mix, there primarily focusing on its use in business intelligence gathering. And as a final organizing thought for this posting, and perhaps even for this series as a whole:

• The job candidate and career planner who takes an ongoing, long-term-perspective approach
• And who cultivates the widest-reaching information gathering practices in their job search and career development endeavors,
• Is long-term going to be more successfully competitive in finding and securing the right jobs for themselves and in advancing in their chosen career paths.

This series is about best practices approaches for accomplishing that. Meanwhile, you can find this and related postings at my Guide to Effective Job Search and Career Development – 3 and at the first directory page and second, continuation page to this Guide. And you can find this and related material at Social Networking and Business and its continuation page too.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: