If you have ever been in the job search market, then you have probably heard the saying, “it is a job looking for a job”. If you’re a smart job searcher, more than likely you have researched everything there is to know about the basics: resumes, cover letters, interviews. But there is one thing you might not have ever considered in your job search: social media. Most people know what social media is because they probably use it for personal reasons, but social media can make or break or job search.
Why Use Social Media?
Studies have shown that 92% of companies are using social media as a hiring tool and that 75% of employers will look at potential candidate’s social media profiles for a “quick background & character check”. With these types of screening tools being used, if you don’t have some kind of social presence, you’re likely missing out on opportunities.
Using social media sites is a way to find unofficial job postings or find opportunities through your online connections at the companies you are most interested in. Social media has become a way for professionals to network and “meet” hundreds of people. Using social networking in your job search is important because it:
- Shows to employers that you have some tech savvy and resourcefulness.
- Assists in showcasing your “personal brand” or your online profile
- Connects you to hidden opportunities that aren’t posted on job boards
- Grows your professional networking contacts, which are important to your job search
- Allows you to research industries, companies, and positions of interest
- Makes you visible to hiring managers, recruiters, and other decision makers
Getting started using social media sites may seem overwhelming at first. Focus on tackling one site at a time. Check out the 10 tips below so you can leverage the power of social media to your advantage.
10 Social Media Job Search Tips
- Clean Up Your Profiles
This should be a no-brainer, but it is still worth mentioning. Make sure all your public information super clean. Of course you should not have any profanity or questionable pictures, you should also remove articles that are politically divisive or could be considered offensive. Also be mindful of the posts you share. While they may not be your posts, sharing them connects you to them.
- Choose Your Platforms Wisely
Being “active on social media” doesn’t mean opening an account on every platform possible. Quite the opposite in fact! It’s much better to have a well-crafted, up-to-date account on one or two platforms than to have a bunch of accounts that haven’t been touched in years. Every job seeker should have a LinkedIn account, and a Facebook or Twitter to show that you’re a real person doesn’t hurt.
- Use Your Real Name
It can be tempting to pick a nickname or something catchy when making your profiles but, as much as possible, use your real name. This is more professional and will allow employers to find you when they are doing their research. If you have a common name or often go by a nickname, at least choose a consistent name you’ll use across platforms, and try to have your real name somewhere on each account.
- Keep Your Image Professional and Consistent
You should have a clear, friendly, recent, and appropriately professional image to use across all platforms. If you’re are not sure what is appropriate for your industry, take a look at the pictures of other people in your field.
- Get Your Personal Branding Down
In addition to a consistent name and consistent photo, you should have a consistent brand across your social platforms. You want people to know who you are, what you do, and where you’re going.
- Use Your Social Accounts as Jumping Off Points
A social media account should never live in isolation—it should link off to somewhere that people can learn more about you. On all your social media accounts, make sure to include a link to the projects you’re working on from current jobs or past jobs, your personal website, your blog, or anywhere else someone could learn more about you.
- Bring All Your Accounts Together in One Place
Having a central location for all of your platforms is a great idea. Think about creating a personal website or landing page. Alternatively, could simply make sure to link to them all from your LinkedIn profile. Doing this will mean that whenever hiring managers or potential contacts search for you on social media for potential jobs, they can easily find all the profiles you want them to see.
- Add Profiles to Your Job Search Materials
Once you create or clean your social media profiles, they are now a great representation of who you are and where you’re going. Make sure they’re out there! Put your Twitter handle on your resume, mention your industry-specific network in your cover letter, and tell people where to find you on your business card or your email signature. If you’ve done the work to make them good and professional, don’t be shy about sharing them!
- Don’t Use it for Professional Communications
While it’s okay to promote your professional social media profiles in your materials when searching for jobs, don’t use it for job-search related communications. In other words, you should contact the person who interviewed you using social media communications. Email or phone are still the standard.
- Use Scheduling Tools
Worried you won’t remember to update your social profiles regularly? There are plenty of tools out there that will allow you to schedule, get ahead, share things directly from your browser, and hardly have to think about keeping an active social presence. Hootsuite is one of our favorites, but there are plenty of others out there.
Whether you’re just starting your job search or thinking about moving on from your current job, a solid social media presence that supports your professional brand is critical. Get active on the networks and spend some time connecting with your network for maximum job search benefits.