For good or for bad, social media has become a part of our job search; we will never go back to scouring the newspaper’s job section and faxing off resumes to red ringed ads. We are now expected to have a professional social presence and be able to navigate those networks to look for jobs.
While all of this can be daunting, there are a couple sure-fire ways you can use social media to help you find your next position.
1. Create a relevant profile and maintain it
Start by building yourself a compelling complete profile on different social media sites. Include your last 3 positions or 10 years of work at least – whichever is longest, time wise. You might have done this already with LinkedIn – excellent! – but remember to consider Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and even Instagram. Completing robust profiles on these media sites might also contribute to your job search, depending on your industry. Select which sites best represent you and your sector, and make sure to clearly show your strengths and accomplishments to future employers.
As you start taking a more active role in social media, you will need to monitor your profile. Scout out what photos you are being tagged in, reply to comments on your posts, keep up with replies in any group discussion you are involved in, and – most importantly – reply to any InMails as soon as you receive them. This also means deleting or removing tags from anything inappropriate or inflammatory. Let people know that you are using your profile as part of your job search and it needs to be professional at all times.
Make sure that you are connected with your entire professional network. Add clients and vendor contacts as soon as you start doing business with them. Meet someone you would love to do business with later on? Pull out your phone and add them then and there!
Another great way to network is through industry-specific groups. Search the directories for various groups that revolve around your industry or are position specific. Look for groups that have both active members and compelling discussions. Furthermore, we recommend joining any college alumni groups that may aid in your job search. Start taking part in discussions that happen on those groups. You never know who may be intrigued by your comments and might recommend you to a friend – or even reach out for an open role they have.
We often forget to leverage our more immediate network – friends and family – when we are looking for a job. You can also message colleagues and previous managers to let them know you have started your job search. Be specific about the kind of roles you are interested in, and ask them to let you know if they hear of anything that might suit you. You never know who people are connected to. Use networking to your advantage.
3. Connect with companies
If you have companies you are interested in, you should “Follow” and “Like” their social profiles. That way you will be notified of new hires, product launches, company news, and job postings. This gives you to opportunity to apply for open roles straight away and engage in discussions directly with the company. It is also the perfect chance to demonstrate your expertise and knowledge to a potential employer.
4. Don’t be desperate
You want to make sure that you are keeping your name in front of potential employers, but you don’t want to be known as “that person” who always asks for a job. Just like in real life, it is a turn off. Create a culture of invitation and openness around your name; not annoyance and harassment. Help people see you as the intelligent qualified employee that you are. Keep their interest by posting relevant content, updating your status, and providing content in the groups you are part of.
If your friends or previous coworkers’ have contacts at a company you are interested in, request an introduction. This is not a chance for you to ask for a role, but rather an opportunity to engage with them on a professional level; ask them about their position, the company, and get to know them. Tell them you are interested in working for Company X, but want to have an idea about the work environment before you apply to any positions that open up. You will get insight many applicants won’t have. Then friend, follow, and connect with these people online.
5. Use a variety of different sites in your job search
Most of us know about the big career sites, but not everyone is mining the lesser known ones. While you should still be looking on Indeed, Monster, Facebook, LinkedIn, Career Builder, and Google Jobs, don’t dismiss the smaller ones, even Kijiji. Not all companies have large budgets for posting positions, nor are all hiring managers going to use the same tools. Some companies will only post on their own websites, their social pages, or only use recruitment agencies to help them. Don’t narrow your search to just one place.
6. Make a plan
As with any job search, having a plan is incredibly helpful. You should have a plan for the content you post on social media, as well as the job search itself. The type of content you are sharing should be relevant and informative to your area of expertise – don’t just post any old thing. Stay active on groups you join – this means checking them every day and contributing to discussions. As you investigate companies as prospective employers start following them and checking their job posts. Your time is precious and you don’t want to waste it trying to do everything all at once, and getting nowhere.
Dream jobs tend not to fall from the sky. You need to be persistent and diligent in your job search, in person and online.