Believe it or not, the field of aging is where the jobs are.
Believe it or not, the field of aging is where the jobs are.
By 2020, 16% of adults will be age 65, compared to 13% today (Pew Research). America’s aging population is living longer and maintaining better health, but faces increasingly diversified challenges and needs as they age.
Due to the aging of the population and advances in medical technology, healthcare and social service jobs working with older adults will be in strong demand. In fact, jobs working with older adults will grow by 45%–faster than the average of all other occupations through 2015.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, registered nurses are expected to gain the largest number of jobs, about 582,000, by 2018. Home health aide is the second-largest healthcare occupation in terms of job growth, followed by personal home care aide, nursing aide, orderly and attendant, and medical assistant.
However, it’s hard to deny a sign of the times: the days of printing out stacks of resumes and suiting up for an endless parade of job fairs are over. Social media is the new 24/7 job fair, giving you access to prospective employers and job listings as was never before available.
So, how do you set yourself apart and position yourself for a job in aging and elder care? Combining traditional job searching techniques with a sharp social networking strategy is the answer. A survey by Jobvite noted that more than 22 million Americans used social networks to find jobs in 2011. In fact,one in six people, more than 15%, say they found a job through social networking.
Here we take on the Big 3 networks: Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin to reveal techniques for leveraging the uber-power of social media for finding a jobin the aging field. All are free, a breeze to set up, and easy to maintain with the right efforts. Let’s get started!:
Most of us think of Facebook as a network for connecting with family, friends, or past acquantainces. However, with all of Facebook’s recent changes, its a more valuable networking tool than ever.
- Make Status Updates –Make frequent status updates about your search to ensure that others know you’re in the market for a job in elder care. For example, if you say things like “I had a great interview this morning… keep your fingers crossed!” or “I have a networking meeting later today with an organization I’m really interested in”, friends may respond offering a contact they know, a suggestion for a similar role/ organization, or may simply voice support and encouragement that will help sustain your energy and enthusiasm.
- “Like” Pages – Facebook’s Pages allows agencies and organizations to have a profile on Facebook. Make a list of the ideal organizations you’d love to work for and “like” their page on Facebook. Show you are a true fan by following their posts and commenting when appropriate. This will prove you are interested in their work with seniors and will give your first access to their job postings.
If you’re not already on LinkedIn, create your profile today. LinkedIn has been called “Facebook with a suit and tie” and is the prominent network for business connections. Expand your real-life network online by searching names or importing your email contacts. Connect with colleagues, friends, and schoolmates.
- Showcase your resume for free – LinkedIn allows you to post your resume and showcase your skills. Make sure to fill out your profile with current AND past experiences, volunteer work…and don’t forget a profile picture!
- Job Postings – LinkedIn allows employers to post jobs on the site. The jobs are usually high quality positions.
- Recommendations – Ask for recommendations on your profile. Recommendations are proof of your past successes and aptitudes, which is appealing to prospective employers. Only ask for recommendations from people that can say good things about you.
- Linkedin Groups – Similar to Facebook groups, Linkedin’s groups features allows you to engage people with who have similar professional interests. Linkedin even offers a “groups your may like” feature which generates interesting groups based on your resume and experiences. Participate in groups about elder care, aging, and home health to stay on top of trends in the field. Many group members post jobs available at their respective agencies, giving you a perfect entry point into the role.
Twitter opens you up to a world new contacts and real-time jobs postings from around the web, all in 140 characters or less. Twitter moves fast, so use these tips to cut straight to the good stuff!:
- Prepare your Twitter for the job search – Make sure your Twitter account presents your professional face to the world. Create a Twitter handle using your first name and last name to make you easily findable in search engines. Include information about your interests in aging in your bio.
- Use WeFollow.com or Listorious.com to find people on Twitter who share professional interests.– Use aging-related keywords to find and follow experts, thought leaders, and potential mentors with a common interest in elder care and home health. Reads their streams, re-tweet their posts, and respond to their questions. A few casual tweets can result in a strong business relationship. Once you have an established connection, it’s OK to ask for advice, but don’t jump the gun. It’s better to focus on giving good feedback and contributing value to that person first.
- Twitter search for jobs- Use Twitter’s search feature to keyword phrases like “geriatric social work” and “Job”. This will bring up a feed of results with tweets that reference job opportunities that you may be interested in and qualified for. Simply visit http://search.twitter.com. This is a great way to expand your reach beyond just the Twitter accounts that you follow.
Keep in mind social media is not a cure-all. Social networks are a great initial point of contact for finding new connections and leads for jobs, but ultimately its up to you to do the heavy lifting and move the relationship forward offline. Offer to take people out to coffee, meet over lunch, or set up a brief informational interview. It’s worthwhile to invest time to build relationships with people who may someday become your boss.
What struggles or successes have you had with social media and your aging-related job search?