How to use social media in your job search
Most employers and recruitment agencies today are using social media to source the right candidates, which means it should be a big part of your job search strategy.
On-line social network sites have become an essential forum to advertise your skills and allow you to establish your social brand, network with people online, identify job opportunities, and turn those leads into real-life job opportunities.
Your CV is normally only seen by those to whom you have either sent it directly, or by recruiters who have paid for access to the candidate database of a recruitment website, so by using social media sites in your job search you can increase the visibility of your professional profile and be seen by the wider world. It puts your skills and experience into the public domain and provides opportunities to network online with professionals from all kinds of different employment sectors.
LinkedIn can be a valuable tool in your job search as businesses, recruiters and head-hunters will use LinkedIn to search for candidates for particular jobs and then approach them directly.
If you are actively job searching it is essential that you have an up to date LinkedIn profile. Your LinkedIn profile is pretty similar to writing an online CV. However, the digital technology aspects of LinkedIn, offers some other useful features including Endorsements. Companies often use positive feedback from customers to persuade other potential buyers. LinkedIn takes this idea and allows you to include personal testimonials. Ask people you know, whether it is your manager, colleagues, customers, suppliers or friends to write a few positive words about your work capabilities on your LinkedIn page. You can make suggestions for the kind of thing you would like them to write. But the fact that another individual has taken the time to write positive things for and about you will be viewed by others as an indication of credibility and authenticity.
LinkedIn is not a replacement for a conventional CV but it has become a very useful, if not essential, complement to it. If you are, or aspire to be, in a professional role then you must join, as recruiters who receive your CV will check to see if you are also on LinkedIn. If you are not, they will assume that you are either technologically outdated or perhaps have got something to hide.
Twitter is a public platform for people to post and exchange short messages. People use it to interact with other people or organisations they find interesting or useful, including attaching links or photos that they want to share with their Twitter community.
Businesses use it to promote their services, expertise and entice people to visit their website. When using Twitter in your job search, be professional! Twitter is a very informal medium but do remember that if you are trying to attract the attention of recruiters and others in your field, then you must represent yourself in an attractive and professional light.
You don’t have to tweet yourself – you can just follow companies or topics and retweet. You can use your own tweets to show your interest in a particular career and tweet about current affairs in the sector you wish to work in.
Your Twitter profile should include a professional looking photo, an appropriate bio and a link to your CV, LinkedIn profile or website. Twitter is much more informal than LinkedIn or conventional CVs, but you should not underplay your skills and expertise.
In April 2016, Facebook reported that they had 1.59 billion active users. This astonishingly successful social networking website allows users to create a personal profile, add other users as friends, and exchange messages within its community framework. You can also join groups, organise events and share photos and videos.
Although it’s a very informal medium and largely used by people for connecting with friends and family, it is increasingly being used by organisations for more commercial reasons. Many organisations use it to communicate with staff, customers and the wider public sometimes to get their comments and views. Some companies are also using it to recruit and vet potential candidates. On Facebook the boundaries between the personal and the professional can be very blurred, so make sure that you are always aware of what information about you can be accessed and by whom.
From a career perspective Facebook can be useful as it’s an easy way to ask your personal connections for information and advice about your career or job search and can also provide a resource of information on both individuals and companies. The informal nature of the site, and its interactivity, means that you can often obtain information and communicate with employers in a way that may not be possible elsewhere.
A word of warning though! While social networking sites present excellent opportunities for recruitment, it also means that employers, both current and prospective, have become extremely sensitive to their employees’ web-presence.
Before you post any information in your own name on the web, consider whether you would be happy to have this information published in a national newspaper where your family, friends, current and future employers could see it. If not, then change it.
Here are some of the benefits of using social media in your job search
- You can apply for advertised roles easily and quickly
- You are more visible to recruiters who are using social media to advertise their jobs and source candidates
- You can build your network and engage with a wider audience across multiple social channels
- You can create positive PR by presenting testimonials, endorsements and presentations of your work onto your social media accounts, blog and/or website
- You can speak to recruiters, head-hunters and prospective employers throughout your job search by engaging with them across all channels in real time
Here is a summary of our top tips:
- Ensure your social media profiles state that you are actively job seeking and the type of role you are interested in, make sure you use keywords so recruiters can find you
- Follow relevant companies and individuals in your industry or network
- Get involved in LinkedIn Groups related to your industry and let me know the type of role you are looking for
- Initiate conversations with individuals and companies on any interesting topics related to your industry
- Keep your personal updates and professional updates on separate social media accounts