Finding your perfect job is going to take more than just searching through your local paper, logging onto online job sites and sending your resume to recruiters. These are useful of course and should be a part of your overall job search plan (see The Four Legs of Job Search), but if you’re serious about finding the right job you need to be pro-active in leveraging social media.
Social media is fast becoming a popular tool for many employers to use in their recruitment efforts. According to CareerBuilder, 60 percent of employers use social networking sites to research job candidates, up significantly from 52 percent last year, 22 percent in 2008 and 11 percent in 2006. CareerBuilder also indicated that 59 percent of hiring managers use search engines to research candidates. 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 favorite band, here are some ways you can also turn them into a job hunting tool:
Review Your Social Media Accounts
As mentioned above, the majority of employers use social media to check up on candidates. Review your social media profiles and remove anything that could reduce your chances of being offered a job. The general rule of thumb is, if your social media includes anything that you would be embarrassed if your mother saw, get rid of it. 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.
Use your social media sites to sell yourself. Write or re-post articles that focus on your industry or skills. Follow or link to people who are current or former coworkers, are in your industry or work for companies that are in your industry. Employers will be able to see that you are serious about your profession.
As mentioned in the link above, LinkedIn is an essential tool for job hunters, so make sure your profile really highlights your skills and experience. Your skills and experience must be honest and up-to-date, join relevant groups and that you connect with those who could be possible job leads.
Social media sites are great networking tools, they enable 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 (every connection is a potential lead). 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.
Balance your Network and who you follow
Along with following family and friends, make sure you follow coworkers and 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 follow the right people and brands you will be first to find out about potential opportunities. Following a company will let hiring managers know that you are interested in working for their company.
Leverage your Network
Finally, don’t be afraid to contact people in industries or companies that interest you. 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. The worst that can happen is that your 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.
Career Tip of the Day: Leveraging Social Media in Your Job Search
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Good luck in your search,