Most of us use social media on a daily basis – but did you know that used strategically, social media can also be a great job search tool? Here are some tips to get you started!
What do people find when they Google your name? This is something you need to look at, as most employers these days will Google potential job candidates to see what comes up. If the results bring up unprofessional pics or posts, then it’s time to clean up your online image.
Start by taking down anything you wouldn’t want an employer to see, and set up a professional profile on LinkedIn, and make sure you include a professional-looking photo. Do the same for Twitter, Google and Facebook, and any other social media you use.
Look at how other professionals in your industry present themselves online, what social media networks they belong to and what information they include in their profiles. This will give you insight into industry ‘best practice’ and will help you to develop your own profile. Make sure all your social media profiles include keywords that a recruiter or hiring manager might use to find a person just like you.
You need to present the best image of yourself online. Whether you’re blogging, tweeting or updating your Facebook status, it’s important that you maintain your reputation and professional credibility. The last thing you want to do is destroy all your hard work by making a careless Twitter comment. What you do on social media is there to stay – so think before you tweet, blog, post or share!
You need to effectively manage the information that’s available about you online. That means you should make sure your personal information on Facebook is private. Use the Privacy Settings and Tools menu to manage what’s visible to others and ensure that it’s set to Friends and not Everyone! This way, if an employer Googles you, they won’t be able to see the details of your profile and delve into your personal life.
Add the URL for your LinkedIn profile and Twitter handle to your resume (but not your Facebook profile). This provides an employer with another avenue to connect with you and allows them to see you in a professional light. It also demonstrates that you are social media savvy, which is an increasingly desirable asset.
Participating in online conversations and discussion forums helps you to establish yourself as an expert in the field. It also demonstrates that you are serious about contributing to your industry, so you should share content, forward links and answer questions whenever it’s appropriate.
LinkedIn can be a great resource for finding information on organisations and the individuals who work there. If you’re looking for opportunities that aren’t advertised, put together a list of companies that you’re interested in. Use LinkedIn and your investigative powers to find out the names of people who work there and then look at ways that you can start connecting with them – follow them on Twitter, repost their tweets, and look at who your shared connections are.
Make sure your connections know that you’re looking for a job (as long as this doesn’t jeopardise your current employment), as your contacts are the best people to provide you with referrals. You want people to think of you when a position becomes available and for them to let you know when they hear about a position they think you would be interested in. To remind people you are job hunting, you can post updates such as, ‘I have an interview at X Company tomorrow, wish me luck’.
There is not one social media network that works best for all job seekers. The important thing is to know which platforms are most used by your industry. Find out the latest happenings by joining specialist industry groups on LinkedIn, following industry blogs, signing up to newsletters and participating in discussion forums. This helps you stay up-to-date with the latest industry information and provides you with the opportunity to make connections that could result in job leads.
Consider writing your own blog so that you too can claim your stake in the world of social media. Blogging can be a great way to demonstrate your knowledge and passion to a potential employer. You never know – your blog could be reposted and then you might catch the eye of a recruiter or hiring manager.