Workforce Cast Offs Can Find Resources in the Social Net

Former CBS talk show host launches site to help laid-off cope with others

Plaxo, Ecademy and Ryze are a few of the more popular professional networking sites that help business people connect. With Ning, Syler was able to build a site that directly complimented her target audience—the unemployed.

The number of business professionals using social networking sites is increasing, found a survey conducted last July by Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc., an outplacement consultancy group. About 10% of respondents said their companies view social networking sites as invaluable marketing, networking, and sales tools, according to the survey. In addition, about 22% of Americans use an online social networking site, up from just 7% in 2005, according to a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press.

Since African Americans are less likely to seek professional help so online support groups might provide help indirectly, advises Lott.

“The hazards of venting on a social networking site can be a tremendous for future employment. A lot of people use Twitter, a micro-blogging site, to vent,” says Wayne Sutton, a social media strategist who started socialwayne.com to help industry leaders navigate the social media landscape.

Many sites like Twitter and LinkedIn are public and someone’s profile can be viewed from a simple Google search. And because of that Sutton cautions people to be careful about what they write in the wide open World Wide Web. If a user applies for a job, it can hurt them if that company sees that they dealt negatively with a layoff.

“An employer wants to know that they can trust that individual,” says Sutton who advises visitors to check the privacy status agreement to see how and where the content from a site will be used. “You do not own that content and that can be used against you,” he says. “You have to be careful. Participate in conversations and let people know your skillset. But there is a difference between reaching out for help and venting. I wouldn’t say anything on a social networking site that I would not say in public to an individual.”

Visitors to sites like Ivebeenlaidoff.ning.com and similar sites can maximize the experience by keeping the following edicts in mind:

Protect your brand. “You should always be aware of what you are putting on line,” says Lott, who reported in the October issue of Black Enterprise that companies like Merrill Lynch and McDonald’s use LinkedIn and Facebook as a corporate recruiting tool. They also use it to weed out candidates.

Build a diverse network. A big part of the job search is contacts and networking, but networking comes in all different forms. You can build a network online that is just as strong as a corporate network. “You might be in one industry and someone might be in a different industry, but a social networking site helps bridge those gaps where you can help each other. You never know who has a job lead for you.”

You still have something to give. “There are some dark days. I remember those. One day you’re feeling great. The next day

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ACROSS THE WEB
  • Jared Cook

    Hi my name is Jared Cook. I am a financial advisor with Merrill Lynch in the Newark, NJ office who specializes in 401K Rollovers for people who are either laid off or just changing jobs. It would be great if we could somehow form a partnership and help provide the financial guidance that is needed during these tough times.

  • http://www.stepwiseassociates.com Marsha Haygood

    Although many people are being laid off, there are still many opportunities available to those with skills and the right attitude.
    Working with a career coach during these uncertain times is an ideal way to take a fresh look at where you are in your career and work toward self development and clarifying your goals.
    Marsha Haygood
    StepWise Associates
    http://www.stepwiseassociates.com

  • Julian L. Combs

    I have been laidoff since November 7th 2007! I have several strikes against me: 1) I’m Black and, have been since birth(smile); 2)I’m seventy three and, don’t act or look it but I am! I have been in Human Resources Recruiting since 1981 and, while that makes me well experienced I’m a “little long in the tooth” for most companies. Black Enterprise had an employment opportunity at Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. and, I applied in October. They didn’t give me the courtesy of a reply! I applied again today because they are still looking and, they stated I had already applied! I also have a B.A. in Television Productions! I’ve been to every Job Board(Daily), Job Fairs etc. Do you have any suggestions?

  • Julian L. Combs

    I have been laidoff since November 7th 2007! I have several strikes against me: 1) I’m Black and, have been since birth(smile); 2)I’m seventy three and, don’t act or look it but I am! I have been in Human Resources Recruiting since 1981 and, while that makes me well experienced I’m a “little long in the tooth” for most companies. Black Enterprise had an employment opportunity at Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. and, I applied in October. They didn’t give me the courtesy of a reply! I applied again today because they are still looking and, they stated I had already applied! I also have a B.A. in Television Productions! I’ve been to every Job Board(Daily), Job Fairs etc. Do you have any Suggestions?

  • http://www.goRaiseTheBar.com Dee Marshall

    @Julian L. Combs,

    Julian:
    Sorry to hear about your situation…

    1.If you’re not getting interviews, perhaps you should revise your resume.
    2.If you’re not getting call backs after interviewing, perhaps you should ask for feedback and then do something about it.
    3.If you’re not finding viable opportunities where you are, consider relocating.
    4.If you’re lacking contacts, expand your network.
    5.If you want/need additional skills or competencies, consider taking a course/seminar. You can also volunteer and take a seat on a Board of Directors.
    6.Have you considered switching industries… perhaps recruiting in a different industry… college/university recruiting?
    7.Join a professional organization like SHRM or NAAHR (google them).
    8.Don’t rely on the virtual world to get you a job. It’s very hard to get any traction, so I suggest you work on personal marketing, personal networking and don’t be afraid of the social network. Are you on Facebook, LinkedIn?
    9.What’s your brand say about you. Are you sure you’re presenting the best you? Are you putting your best foot forward? Are you bringing you’re a game? How do you stack up against your peers in industry? Check your appearance, polish, presence, attitude and energy.
    10.Lastly if nothing happens, pray and find out what this life situation is trying to teach you.
    11.Hire a Coach.

    Stay positive. Change is going to come.

    Coach Dee Marshall
    Raise The Bar, LLC
    Coaching, Training, Development.
    http://www.goRaiseTheBar.com

  • http://www.stepwiseassociates.com Marsha Haygood

    Julian
    I wholeheartedly agree with the feedback given in the above comments. Rather than cast blame, it is a good idea to remain positive, look within and make changes where you can to get the results that you want. A change in your job search method and possibly your resume format may be just what you need. Investing in a coach to help you through this process seems like a good idea.
    I wish you all the best.
    May your unigue gifts lead to much success in 2009!
    Marsha Haygood
    Career/Life Coach
    StepWise Associates
    http://www.stepwiseassociates.com