The job market is still tough, so finding your perfect job is going to take more than just searching through your local paper, logging onto online job sites and visiting nearby recruitment agencies. These are useful of course, but if you’re serious about finding the right role you need to be much more pro-active than this.
Social media is fast becoming a popular tool for many employers to use in their recruitment efforts. A survey of 401 HR decision makers conducted by ACAS in 2013 found that 36% of UK companies use social media as a recruitment tool. If you’re not taking full advantage of your social media sites in your job search you risk being left behind.
If you’ve just been using your social media profiles to keep up with friends, arranging nights out and following your favourite band, here are some ways you can also turn them into a job hunting tool:
Clean up your profiles
First you must clean up your profiles and remove anything that could hinder your chances of being offered your ideal job. This doesn’t mean you have to come across as someone without a personality or interests, employers aren’t looking for this, but photos of you falling down drunk or tweets full of offensive language are likely to put potential employers off. Remember that posting information on social media profiles is putting it in the public domain so keep this in mind whenever you’re updating your profile.
Also use your social media sites to sell yourself. If you are looking to enter the health and fitness industry, for example, use your twitter page to demonstrate your knowledge about nutrition and exercise. Alternatively, if you are keen to break into publishing, tweet about the authors you like and the books you are reading. This way employers will be able to see that you are serious about joining the profession.
LinkedIn is now an essential tool for job hunters, so make sure your profile really sells you as a candidate. All your skills and experiences must be honest and up-to-date, also make sure you join relevant groups and that you connect with those who could be possible job leads.
Social media sites are great networking tools, as they allow you to establish relationships with people in different areas of the country, even with those overseas, and the more people you know the more likely you will find out about potential job vacancies. Even if you’re shy and introverted you can still become a networking pro on social media sites, in fact some people find it easier to network this way as they can spend time crafting posts and tweets. Just remember to be honest about your online personality and that it reflects the real you, or else when you turn up to an interview the employer will be expecting someone completely different. It’s a case of showing your best side, rather than creating a whole new person.
Along with following friends, family and bands, make sure you follow those within companies and industries you want to join. Many employers are now starting to tweet and add posts onto their Facebook pages advertising new roles, so if you’re not following the right people and brands you could be missing out on opportunities. As well as this, it will look strange if you go into a job interview saying that you’ve always wanted to work there, but you don’t follow the brand.
Don’t be scared to reach out
Finally, don’t be afraid to contact people in industries or jobs that you want to enter. Often people are happy to provide advice on how to break into their industry and they may be able to provide you with useful tips on how to impress potential employers. This not only provides you with valuable advice, but it also helps to start to get your name known within companies and industries. Besides the worst that can happen is that you message is ignored, in which case don’t take it personally, it might be that the person is just too busy to get back to you.
Written by Derin Clark on behalf of Octopus HR, which provides HR and recruitment software for businesses.
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Good luck in your search.