Facebook, LinkedIn, GooglePlus, Twitter and even Pinterest are social media platforms that are now used extensively by both job hunters and recruiters. A recent survey by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) found that 95% of recruiters use LinkedIn for sourcing candidates. On the flip side, the recently-released State of the Job Search in 2013 report by CareerArc Group found that using social media ranked in the top three as the most valuable resources for job seekers along with personal referrals and online searches.
Social media is not just for young people either. The same report by the CareerArc Group reported that 58% of respondents 45 or older ranked social media as their top job-hunting resource.
First Impressions Matter
Get a professional headshot taken or at the very least have someone take a photo of you that would make someone want to hire you. So take down the photo of your dog, your favorite rock band or movie symbol and post a great photo of yourself.
Many social media platforms allow you to create a profile. While you're job searching modify your profiles to reflect qualities and experience that reflect your professional self. It's ok to add in a little bit of personal information. As you write your profile, think about whether you would want a potential boss to know this information. Something along the lines of "Certified Teacher's Assistant (CTA) with experience in helping children with autism. Avid reader and marathon runner" Those key words "teacher's assistant" and "autism" will help you appear higher up in searches by recruiters.
In a recent infographic "10 Tips For Finding a Job Using Social Media" posted on MediaBistro, revealed that 89% of recruiters check candidate social media profiles and dislike the following behavior:
- References to illegal drugs
- Sexual content
- Spelling and grammatical errors
- Alcohol consumption
Promote Your Job Search Online
Before social media, you could use your personal network to explore job opportunities. Today, your social network is probably larger than your personal network and your connections are connected to others. So putting it out there that your job searching and what you're looking for, can get exposure to a lot of people who may be able to help you.
There are only so many networking events you can attend on your own. Social media can substantially increase your networking power.
- Use twitter to identify some key people at a company you might want to work for and "follow up." Reply or comment on tweets to get noticed.
- LinkedIn allows you to send "Inmail messages" to decision makers.
- The Daily Muse recently published an informative article "How to Write LinkedIn Messages That Actually Get Read. This article will help you write personalized messages that can help you stand apart from the crowd.
- LinkedIn also has thousands of niche groups that allow you to network with hundreds of others in those groups. If you're in healthcare, there are groups for physical therapists, social workers, teachers, marketers, and thousands more. These groups put you in touch with others like you who may be hiring or know someone who might be hiring.
- This leads to a critically important aspect of making social media work for you. Publish, publish and publish some more.
Not too long ago, you could find job opportunities in the newspaper and maybe on a corporate website. You sent in a cover letter with a resume and hoped to get that coveted phone call. There was really no way to be proactive in your job search. Not today.
Today, you can take an active role. You don't just put up a profile and hope for the best. Each social media platform allows you to be an active participant. Learn the rules and how to post online, then produce content or share articles that may be of interest to your network and position yourself as a thought leader. That could lead to speaking spots or invitations to write a blog post or that coveted phone call or email that invites you in for a meeting from someone who may want you to join their organization.
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