For better or worse, social media has become thoroughly ingrained in our society over the past decade. It’s fun, it helps us to stay in touch with family and friends, it keeps us up to date on current events and it shows us pictures of cute animals. But did you know that social media can also make or break your job search? Here are my top tips for making the most of social media when job hunting, without letting it become a barrier to your dream job.
- Have a LinkedIn profile. Everyone who is searching for a job or a new job should have a LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn is a social network designed specifically for professional networking. On LinkedIn, you can connect with current and former coworkers and supervisors, recruiters, and others in your field of interest, which allows you to cast a wide net of potential job contacts. LinkedIn allows you to list your past jobs, duties, skills, education, certifications, and volunteer work- essentially creating an online resume! Beyond that, it also allows other in your network to “endorse” your skills and write letters of recommendation, which adds authenticity to what you’ve listed.
- Be careful what you post, or make visible to the public. If you are actively using social media in your job search, this is obvious. However, even if you are not using social media in your job search, it’s very important to be mindful of controversial or unflattering posts or pictures on ALL of your social media accounts. If you use your Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram for professional purposes and keep it public, avoid political or religious postings, cursing, and personal photos. Additionally, you will want to be sure that all your posts are thoughtful, grammatically correct and well-written, as this will reflect your communication skills. If you use your social media for personal purposes, check your privacy settings to ensure that potential recruiters and hiring mangers cannot see all your posts and photos. Because it is a free resource that nearly everyone has access to, it is possible that recruiters or hiring managers could search for you on social media before ever contacting you for an interview. Any controversial content could impede your chances of getting even a call back.
- That being said, if your social media presence is professional, don’t be afraid to connect with, or follow, other people in your career field. Networking is an important part advancing your career- as the old adage goes, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. You may want to include a personalized note, introducing yourself if connecting with someone you do not know in person. Increasing the number of professional connections that you have can increase your access to job leads, and give you an advantage over the general public when being considered for a position.
- Follow the businesses or organizations you are interested in working for. Most businesses or organizations have a social media presence and it is to your advantage to follow the ones you are interested in working for. Following a business on social media will help you learn more about what the company does, their current events, and their culture- and what you know about a company almost always comes up in interviews. Many of the popular social media sites also allow businesses to see who their followers are, and if potential employers see that you are following them, this further demonstrates your interest in the company and mission. Additionally, some businesses utilize their social media presence to advertise job openings, since this can be more cost effective than using a more traditional online outlet, such as CareerBuilder. This means you may see job postings that other candidates won’t!
- Join groups. Both Facebook and LinkedIn offer options for starting and joining groups. You can join groups associated with your profession or field. This is will not only help you to build more contacts and keep up with current events and trends in your field, but it can also help you to discover more opportunities as people in these groups sometimes share job leads.
Utilizing social media and job hunting can be a tricky endeavor, but if you do it use it wisely, you may just find yourself landing your perfect job!