No one needs to tell you how important networking is to finding employment. As of 2014, more than 70 percent of people found their current jobs through personal networks. But networking is no longer something done solely in person. It’s moved online, making social media a critical aspect to landing your next gig. In fact, 79 percent of job seekers are now using social media as part of their job search efforts. For those at the start of their careers, that number jumps to an astounding 86 percent.
So, how exactly do you leverage social media platforms to help find your next job?
LinkedIn is by far the most business-oriented social media platform of the bunch. As you set up your account, you’ll be walked through a series of steps to prepare your professional profile. Make sure to include all the standard information traditionally found on a resume, such as work history, skills (both hard and soft), accomplishments, and strengths. If applicable to your trade, LinkedIn also provides the space to showcase samples of your work. Share the best of the best, of course.
With millions of LinkedIn users, creating a profile isn’t always enough to land the job. Here are a few best practices to help you stand out.
First and foremost, pay special attention to your headline, which appears right under your name. Include some keywords for your industry, and make sure to craft it in such a way that tells readers exactly what to expect when hiring you. For example, writing “Digital Marketing Coordinator” isn’t as impactful as “Digital Marketer With a Proven Ability to Turn Business Objectives into Communication Strategies.”
From there, reach out to friends, colleagues, and former employers to reconnect with people and expand your network. Remember, you never know who knows someone hiring in your industry.
With your profile and network in place, start looking into and following some of the companies on your radar. You’ll want to identify the hiring managers at each of these organizations. Use the Advanced People Search function to make your search a bit easier. Once you know the contacts, you can determine whether someone in your network is already a first-degree connection with any of these hiring managers. If so, consider asking your contact to make an introduction.
Using Facebook for a job search can get a bit tricky. It’s not as self-explanatory as LinkedIn, with its fields for work history, skills, and accomplishments. However, you can optimize your profile for this particular purpose. You just need to know how to do it.
Start with the “Work and Education” section of your profile. Rather than just listing your current position, give additional details on your work history. Provide an abridged description of your responsibilities and accomplishments for each role. Think of it as a “snapshot” of your LinkedIn page.
After setting up this section, turn your attention to your contacts. Create a separate group for your professional contacts. If you’re currently employed, consider doing the same for present work contacts. This allows you to “target” your updates on your timeline. Those not targeted won’t see your posts in their newsfeeds.
Leverage each targeted post by sharing recent accomplishments, news articles related to your industry, and even a few personal updates to humanize your online profile. While you’re at it, make sure to like posts from professional contacts and provide some helpful comments.
With correspondence restricted to just 140 characters, Twitter may not seem a likely source for a job search, but the channel does provide you with some opportunities to connect with others in your field.
Create an account, and treat it as if it’s a business card of sorts. Add a professional, yet snappy line to describe you. Then, start following professionals, companies, and organizations in your particular industry. Focus on the companies where you’d like to work, as well as anyone who might work for those companies.
If you are not sure where to start, try browsing through job related hashtags such as #hiring, #opportunity, #recruiting, #jobsearch, #careers, or #employment. Searching for job specific hashtags will lead you to jobs to apply to, hiring managers you’ll want to connect with, companies you want to work for, and job searching advice.
With a decent amount of people and companies that you’re following, retweet tweets that you find interesting and share insights of your own. Also, consider reaching out to people directly. Twitter makes it easy by letting you click on the person’s user name, which brings up a pop-up screen to compose a personal tweet.
Tweet to these people with some regularity, commenting on something they’ve shared or thanking them for some kernel of knowledge. Eventually, you’ll establish a relationship, and the person may just follow you back.
Given enough time and consistency, you may feel comfortable enough to extend your desire to work with them one day in the future. If they’ve got an opportunity, they might respond with an opportunity to interview for the role.
Getting yourself on social channels has a way of increasing your online presence, and an online presence makes you searchable. It also gives potential employers an idea of your communication skills, professional behavior, and ability to collaborate (if you’re engaging on these platforms), without ever meeting you. Not a bad way to increase interest and improve your chances of landing a job.