How many of you have spent numerous hours writing, polishing, and submitting your resumes, only to have them end up in a black hole? In today’s competitive job search arena this conventional, passive approach to job seeking is not only ineffective, but is becoming increasingly out-dated. Social media networks are breaking down the barriers of communication and reinventing the job search, changing the lengthy and unpredictable nature of formal job seeking and job recruitment.
A recent survey of 300 hiring professionals found that 89% have visited a potential candidate’s profile on a social network site as part of the screening process (Jobvite 2011 Social Recruiting Survey Results). In fact, some CRM programs now used by recruiters will have your LinkedIn profile automatically embedded into their record on you. So maintaining your online image is as important as having a great CV. It’s all about personal branding that promotes ‘you’ and allows you to launch a profile that centres on both your expertise and passions. And it’s free.
Here’s how to go about finding your dream job using social media:
1. Create a great LinkedIn profile:
A great LinkedIn profile will give prospective employers a first impression of you before even stepping into the interview room. Make sure your Job Title accurately reflects your present role, or if you are not currently working, write something which reflects your qualifications or skills, for example, ‘Qualified Electrical Engineer’. Then make sure you complete your profile as fully as possible. Create a profile that communicates your key skills and qualities to potential employers and upload a recent photo of yourself looking friendly and professional.
2. Get LinkedIn Recommendations:
Ask past employers or happy clients to write you a LinkedIn Recommendation. The recommendations get posted as updates to all your contacts and are kept on your profile page. A great recommendation will make you infinitely more desirable to employers.
Here’s a great example: “Mark is an extremely capable professional who exhibits great rapport with colleagues and gets things done with a minimum of fuss. I had the pleasure of working with Mark for my entire time at (company name). During this time I was always taken by his cool and calm handling of any crisis that emerged. His rational response to adversity had a stabilising effect on the entire organisation.. .”
3. Expand your LinkedIn Connections.
Don’t just invite colleagues and friends to connect with you. Seek out key people who could influence your career. Make sure you personally connect with recruiters working in your industry. Once you have sent your CV to a recruiter look up that person on LinkedIn and send them an invitation to connect. It’ll not only make you more memorable but they will post fresh updates on new jobs they have on their own profile so you’ll be the first to know!
Connect with people in companies you aspire to work for and follow those companies on LinkedIn. If they post about a job they are trying to fill you’ll get the inside track.
4. Join LinkedIn Groups
Groups are an important part of your job search. Joining industry groups will mean you get front-line information on projects and developments in your chosen area. There is also a Jobs section in all groups which you should check regularly. Look for groups in your industry by typing in key words in your search function and also by looking at which groups other key influencers belong to. Some groups are moderated so only industry experts are able to join. This keeps the quality of the members in those groups relevant.
Don’t be passive in the group. If you are actively seeking a job, post that as a discussion on your group page. You’ll find people love to help and you will usually get a couple of responses.
5. Get into Twitter
Twitter is a great way to get real time industry information. It’s a great resource for keeping track of companies you want to work for and allowing you to start engaging with them. Follow companies you’d like to work for as well as industry groups and publications to get the latest news in your field. Also follow recruitment companies working in your chosen field to get new jobs sent to you as they open.
When setting up your own Twitter profile keep it short and think of a catchy but truthful title. Something like, “Web Developer – my passion is creating exciting, user friendly technology.” No need to mention what you drink or that you hate the government please!
6. What about Facebook?
Facebook has over 640 million registered users, making it the largest social media site. Facebook can be an effective tool in the job search process through its marketplace feature, which lists job openings and hosts other opportunities in your network. However, Facebook also has the potential to hinder your job search. Most people have a Facebook profile in an attempt to connect with family and friends. What this means is that if you are using Facebook as a supplemental networking tool for job hunting, then you must pay close attention to your profile privacy setting as companies could gain access to your posts and inappropriate posts have forced companies to detract job offers or even to fire employees. In short, we suggest keeping Facebook for personal use only.
7. Have consistent information across all social media platforms
Now that you have profiles on all the major social media sites, keep it up! Be consistent presenting yourself, personal brand, accomplishments, and employment history on all of these sites. No recruiter or hiring manager wants to see one thing on your CV that is not included in your LinkedIn profile. Can you say red flag? Inconsistencies like this are going to land you on the bottom of the hiring managers’ pile. Make it a good first impression and maintain a professional social media presence. All of you have to do is keep your information up to date and consistent for potential employers.
8. Be realistic and truthful
When creating a Twitter or LinkedIn profile you will be asked for lots of information, often times an overwhelming amount of details, but keep it 100% accurate and valid. It is absolutely essential that your profile encompasses accurate information both about yourself and what you can give to the company. Don’t put what you think may sound good to companies now – it won’t do you any good once you are hired and not able to meet the expectations the company has for you.
9. Fully utilise each networking site
To give you the highest chance of being noticed by a potential employer, you need to get involved – social media job hunting is easy but it’s not a passive process. Creating your profile is the easy part.
There are great Twitter and LinkedIn apps available that make checking and updating these sites as easy as touching the icon!
10. Be Someone Worth Following
Sharing expertise via social networks can be as simple as sharing a link to a relevant article or webpage alongside your own comment, or answering a question in a LinkedIn Group. By far the best way to get out to employers is making thoughtful attempts to communicate with leaders of organisations. Ask them thoughtful questions, re-tweet their messages and comment on or LIKE their posted content. After responding to their tweets a few times, they may start following you and can even respond back. Once they respond back to you all of their followers will see what you have to say and you can continue your exposure through this social networking domino effect. If you keep on posting relevant comments and news on the field you wish to work in you will eventually be regarded as a bit of an expert and that that will gain the attention of employers and recruiters.
In today’s tough job market, it is difficult to overstate the importance of using social networking, to manage your online image across the different social networks, to differentiate yourself, and highlight the value you can bring to an employer. If you are using social media it is going to be hard for prospective employers to assume that you are incapable of learning new things and that won’t bring something fresh to the table.
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