Using social media tools for your job search is one of the easiest, cheapest ways to build your personal brand and attract employers’ attention. According to an awesome infographic on Mashable.com, 14.4 million people used social media to find their job in 2011. It’s clear that social media can not only help you get a job, but is also helpful in showing you what jobs are open and who you might know that works at that company. In 2010, 92% of hiring managers used or plan to use social networking tools for recruitment.
However, it’s also important to note that while social media is a fantastic resource for the job hunt, it can also lead to your demise depending on the content you post. On average in 2011, 1 out of 3 employers rejected a candidate based on something they found about them online. In general, remember the rule that every time you post something on the web, you should think about whether you would want to talk about that post in an interview. If you answer no to the question, then you shouldn’t post it at all. This includes inappropriate or partying photos, tweets or status updates complaining about work or school, and any posts with swears or offensive statements.
Especially if you’re nearing your graduation date, it’s important to develop and grow your social presence and personal brand. By having a consistent message, picture, and objectives across all of your social media accounts, it will be clear to prospective employers that you are well organized and serious about finding a job.
The first step is to claim your social media accounts and develop each of them, consistently:
While you may already have a Facebook for social or personal use, refining your Facebook and adding your job experience and skills can make a difference if you plan to use your Facebook for career purposes. Start your job search by “liking” the pages of companies that you’re interested in working for. Commenting on their status updates and liking their activity will show that you’re interested and are following their current work.
In my experience, LinkedIn has been one of the most powerful tools for my job hunt. It allows you to showcase your experience and accomplishments, as well as gather digital letters of recommendations. This tool is also great for connecting with alumni from your college or university that can help you if you’re interested in a company they are currently involved in or had past experiences with. Connecting with people from your university, current and past jobs, and other activities is the first step. Also, following companies’ pages and joining groups relevant to the industry you’re looking at can help you broaden your network and make more digital connections. Completely filling out your profile with expertise, skills, and past experiences will give you a step up in the job search.
Using Twitter in your job search is a great way to target the issues and topics that are relevant to the industry you’re considering working in. Make use of job search hashtags (such as #TweetMyJob) and recruiting accounts (such as Ed2010, InternMatch, and BostonInternshp) to find job openings and connect with employers. Be sure not to rant or post inappropriate things on your page, though, because even if you delete it later, tweets can still get picked up by other sites that will hold them online forever.
Next, you should compile all of your account pages into one spot on either an About.me page and/or a blog (WordPress, Tumblr):
About.me pages are great ways to pull all of your accounts together into one location and post a digital bio and “cover letter” explaining your goals and expertise in more depth. Also, you can put your about.me on your resume so that employers can access all of your social accounts with one click. For an example of an about.me page, check out mine here!
WordPress and Tumblr are also great locations for pulling all of your accounts together. These blogging sites can automatically integrate with your other social media accounts and allow you to post longer blog posts about your interests and job search goals, instead of just a short tweet or status update. For an example, check out my personal WordPress account here!
Lastly, you should utilize your accounts on a consistent basis, not just when you’re looking for jobs, by posting relevant content and building your online network.
Here are some tips for keeping your content fresh and professional:
- Post about industry news and innovations.
- Post about your current accomplishments and link to articles that you wrote or are mentioned in.
- Join a tweetup for an event in your industry or about a relevant TV show or news program.
- Don’t be afraid to tag people in your posts or to tweet at companies! It shows your interest in them and will grab their attention.
- Be sure to update your accounts frequently! Set aside time every week or every two weeks to request new connections, request LinkedIn recommendations, and update your profiles.
Good luck in the job hunt!