As a job searching veteran, it can be difficult to know how to even get started, especially since the job hunt today is constantly transforming. With the advent of social media, job searching has changed drastically. You can no longer rely solely on a strong resume and cover letter, but must also have a strong online presence.
According to Social Media Today, 93% of job recruiters are currently using LinkedIn (a professional platform explained in one of our earlier blog posts). The article states that one in ten young job hunters are rejected by companies because of their social media presence. It's important to clean up your communication on all levels, not just in traditionally professional job settings.
From Facebook and LinkedIn, to the more niche sites such as Tumblr and Pinterest, it can be hard to decide where you should invest the most time in developing your professional image.
This post will cover the three most widely used social media networking sites for finding jobs, and will provide tips on how to translate your personal brand across all online platforms.
LinkedIn is often the first professional networking site that people tend to think of. However, it's not enough to just have a profile and a few connections. To be a competitive job seeker on LinkedIn, it's important to engage as much as possible. It's different from Facebook in that the contact and communication should be kept on a more professional and field-focused level, but you can still interact with others and have fun. Mashable suggests that you join groups related to your field and jump in on discussions to learn from others. It's also important to follow "influencers" in your field, who periodically post articles about relevant subjects, and potentially provide conversation fodder for your next interview.
Facebook can be tricky to navigate for job seekers because it is so drastically different from LinkedIn. Even if you are not actively job searching on Facebook, it is almost guaranteed that potential employers are searching for you. It is best to keep your personal profile clean and professional. It doesn't have to be overly formal, but as this CNN article reiterates, any pictures of you at parties or bars will not reflect well to employers out of context, even if the moment captured was perfectly innocent. Save those questionable pictures or quotes for private conversations between you and your friends in real life.
Did you know that you can also use your Facebook profile to actively job search? A recent Forbes article outlines some of the best ways to use Facebook during the job search. Forbes suggests using Facebook to search companies to learn more about their values and work culture. This usually requires "liking" the page first to see all the information listed, but you can always "unlike" the page if you find yourself uninterested in the company. Occasionally, a company may list a job opportunity, so it's important to check the company pages monthly.
To make your profile more employer-friendly, you should have a complete "About" section on your page. This will help recruiters to learn more about you in a quick and easy manner. The Forbes article recommends treating your "About" section in a manner similar to the LinkedIn profile summary. In addition to completing the About section, try to fill out the "Work" and "Education" sections as much as you can. The more you complete your profile, the better Facebook will be able to suggest "friends" for you to connect with, based off of common connections like school and workplaces.
Twitter can be a powerful aid when it comes to expanding your professional network. The most important thing in your Twitter profile is the biography located directly under your picture and username. You have 160 characters to define yourself, and this LinkedIn article suggests strengthening your biography by including your degree and some of your relevant skills. Be sure to use concise language as your character count is limited. Supplement your biography with links to other social media pages, such as your LinkedIn account, personal blog or website.
The profile picture in Twitter is equally important as the biography. It's vital to have an actual photo of yourself, instead of the default egg image. Be sure that your profile picture is relatively professional if you are actively using your account to look for job opportunities.
Surprisingly, there are a lot of job postings on Twitter. The trick is knowing how to find them. Start by searching hashtags specific to your field. A hashtag is a linked topic, and any word can be linked by adding the pound symbol, '#' directly before the word. It is best to use generic job hashtags, as well as those related to the field that you wish to be employed in. Examples of key hashtags to search for would be:
#jobsearch #job #hiring #recruiting #HR #plumbing #mechanics #advertising #publishing
For all social media platforms, it is best to keep in mind that each serves as a jumping off point for the job search, and not a final destination. Social media is best used to start the conversation, not to finish it.
Try to take a little bit of time each day to either polish your profile or to create new ones to help present yourself as a professional to employers. Are there any social media platforms that you like to use for professional networking that weren't included? We'd love to hear from you!