You wouldn’t consider a typewriter and whiteout to be proper tools for your job search, but relying solely on resumes and cover letters is becoming almost as antiquated. The widespread use of social media websites for business purposes have made them essential parts of an effective job search, offering unprecedented opportunities to market yourself to prospective employers and network with other professionals.
Employers are Watching
According to a 2012 Jobvite survey of more than 1000 human resources professionals, 92 percent of them have browsed social networks to find talent, with 89 percent using LinkedIn, 26 percent looking at Facebook pages and 15 percent checking Twitter accounts.
Anyone hoping to be hired should expect that their name will be ‘Googled,’ so it’s prudent to be prepared. Audit all your social media profiles to make sure there aren’t any posts or pictures you wouldn’t want a potential employer to see. Assume guilt by association – delete any offensive posts by your friends and hide them if they have a habit of posting questionable content on your profiles.
“Making sure you are ‘buttoned up’ on your social media sites is as important as drafting a perfect resume and cover letter,” says Phil Schmitt, who teaches students at Westwood College-DuPage, Illinois, how to conduct job searches. “It is not uncommon for a prospective employer to go to your Facebook page during the review process.
In his classes, Schmitt emphasizes that social media training is just as important as traditional job training, like practicing resume writing and conducting mock interviews. Here are some ways you should use social media to gain maximum advantage in your job search.
Be proactive. Social media sites make it easier to connect with recruiters, employers and employees of companies you’d like to work for. Join and participate in organizations, groups and blogs in your industry, as well as leveraging other connections you have, like alumni associations. Expand your contacts and engage others with similar interests by posting, sharing/forwarding, tweeting and retweeting relevant articles and blogs. This raises your online profile and encourages others to do the same for you.
Demonstrate knowledge of your profession. Reposting interesting articles related to your field demonstrates knowledge and passion. Use your LinkedIn profile to share your experience and expertise, and post anything of interest that you may have authored on all your social media profiles.
Establish a consistent brand. Make sure your profile is professional and reflects the job you’re looking for across all social media platforms. Ensure your privacy settings are secure (especially on Facebook). On LinkedIn, make sure your profile is complete, including skills and recommendations. On Twitter, link to your website, blog or online resume. And don’t overlook the potential of sites like Google+, Pinterest and YouTube.
Know your audience. People are on Facebook for different reasons than they might be on Twitter or LinkedIn. Make sure your updates reflect that. On LinkedIn, share articles and blogs on industry-related topics. On Facebook, post more personal updates to remind your friends that you’re in the job market. But remember that employers will look for red flags. The Jobvite survey found that 78 percent were turned off by references to drug use, 66 percent by sexual tweets, 61 percent by profanity, 54 percent by poor spelling/grammar and 47 percent by photos of alcohol consumption.
Use social sites for research. Use social media to develop a target list of companies, then research those firms and their employees. Follow companies where you might eventually like to work, so you can build your knowledge base about them. Following the feeds of companies and professional organizations is also a great way to learn about job openings.
Use hashtags on Twitter to find leads. For example, if you are interested in fashion, search #fashionjobs. Sites like Technorati or Twellow let you search people’s bios and the URLs in their bios; you can easily find, follow and engage key employees of your target companies so they get to know you before you approach them for a job. Prepare for a job interview by using social media to research the interviewer and find topics you have in common to break the ice.
Scrutinize your online profile. Google yourself and make sure that what you see is how you want to be perceived by employers. Go to Klout.com so you can see your “klout score,” which measures how influential and engaged you are across platforms. Another useful site is Wefollow.com, a Twitter directory organized by shared interests or categories. Users can add themselves to the categories that best fit their interests.
The Internet has helped level the job-search playing field by offering easy access to resources that enable you to identify and prepare for career opportunities. But it’s also provided employers access to more talented job candidates and an unprecedented level of personal details for screening purposes. A smart social-media strategy can help you stand out, stand up to scrutiny, and step strongly toward the job you seek.
Courtesy of Brandpoint Content