Career Testing
Career Testing
Career Testing
SOCIAL MEDIA / NOV. 09, 2016
version 17, draft 17

A Beginner’s Guide to Boosting Your Job Prospects with Social Media

social media guide

Jobseekers are constantly incorporating different social media platforms into their job search, and it’s easy to see why: social media has the power to make a tiresome task like job hunting easier by allowing the user to feel in charge.

But, it’s not just jobseekers that are using these sites. In fact, many recruiters and hiring managers find them to be useful tools in the hiring process.

According to Jobvite’s recent survey, a whopping 87 per cent of recruiters use LinkedIn to evaluate candidates, but this is not the only platform being used. 43 per cent also use Facebook, while 3 per cent even look for candidates on Snapchat. These figures are increasing year by year, and the truth is that if you want to stay ahead of the game, you need to come up with different social media strategies that will allow you to increase your employment prospects.

#1 Building Professional Social Profiles

professional social profiles
 

You might already have accounts on various social channels, but before you start job hunting, you need to ensure that your presence is spread across all the different mediums available and that it remains consistent. But you can’t just sign up for every social platform; you also have to ensure that all of your accounts are active by sharing things regularly.

The Benefits of Setting up Your Profiles Correctly

1. Find More Job Opportunities

Building a social media profile is not just about making yourself more visible, it’s also about opening yourself up to a bigger audience and therefore to more job opportunities. Following companies you’d like to work for will allow you to be aware of when they are looking for new hires.

This can be especially beneficial for you if you are already employed and are not actively looking for another job but would like the opportunity work for a particular company. Also, bear in mind that as many employers never advertise their vacancies, following them on their social media could increase your chances of finding out about vacancies.

2. Engage With a Company

Perhaps the biggest perk of having an account with these mediums is that they allow you to engage with an employer you are interested in directly. By liking, commenting and sharing any content they post, the people in the company will get to know you, and they might even ask you if you’d like a job with them.

But, you should be professional at all times and add value to their content by sharing your views and thoughts on the matter. The key here is to see this as an opportunity to convince them of your skills and win them over.

3. Establish Your Personal Brand

Social media recruiting offers employers the opportunity to understand how each candidate is unique and this works to your benefit as a jobseeker. It allows you to focus on aspects of your skills that make you a valuable candidate.

To showcase these skills, you need a strong personal brand that will communicate your vision. These platforms are a great medium through which you can establish your brand and make yourself more attractive to recruiters.

4. Research Companies

As you probably already know, a tailored job application can go a long way to helping you get called in for an interview. The problem that jobseekers often face is that they only have the advert to use as a guide, and it can be hard to understand how to present yourself as a good fit for the company culture with such limited information.

Being on social media though can help you get around this problem as these channels are great at showcasing company culture as well as the trends within the organisation. You can customise your CV, your Cover Letter and Job Interview answers to match the needs of the organisation.

Platforms You Need to Focus on:

  1. LinkedIn: It remains the most important professional network as it offers a wide array of tools which can be used to leverage your presence. From a very successful job board to endorsements and recommendations, LinkedIn can help you present yourself as an industry expert.
  2. Facebook: This channel has been developing tools which can be used to increase your career prospects. Whether you are actively looking for a job here, or merely applying to sponsored posts which are of interest to you, there’s no way you can go wrong with this platform.
  3. Twitter: It may be the most famous ‘speak your mind’ platform, but what’s great about it is that it allows you to actively look for hashtags of specific vacancies. Moreover, if you are looking to charm a hiring manager, it's 140 character limit will force you to be the wittiest you’ve ever been.
  4. Pinterest: A great space for showcasing your skills, especially if you are in a visual occupation and you can provide samples of your work. If you are a freelancer, a stunning account on this channel is necessary.
  5. Instagram: The ultimate hipster platform, Instagram is perfect for millennials who are looking to join companies with great company culture. It allows you to engage with a company effectively, search for hashtags, as well as present samples of your work.
  6. Snapchat: Although often considered as a channel for teenagers, the reality is that lots of millennials use it as well. It allows you to communicate your goals and vision to the world effectively.

Although some social networks are more specific to certain industries; it’s always advised that you maintain an active presence throughout all the channels available. For example, if you are hoping to get a job as a video producer; then it’s vital to have an active Snapchat account, as well as a personal Youtube channel as these two platforms can help you showcase your talent. If on the other hand, you are looking for an investment banker position there’s not that much that these two platforms can offer you, so you might be better off sticking to more traditional mediums such as LinkedIn or Twitter. Of course, Linkedin isn't the only professional network out there, there are actually many alternatives so make sure you check out your other options as well. 

Tips for Building your Social Profiles

  • Make them as complete as possible: This means that there shouldn’t be any blank sections and this is especially true for LinkedIn. Having a complete profile shows that you are a professional through and through.
  • Use a professional photo: Don’t forget to add a great photo of yourself as it helps to make yourself look more professional.
  • Communicate your vision: Don’t be afraid to talk about your vision, it’s important to talk about your goals as these are what drives you and hiring managers want to know what you are passionate about.
  • Update regularly: You need to update your information regularly. For example, if you’ve changed jobs, or taken on a new project, etc. it should be added. Also, add notifications on your calendar to share content on your profiles regularly. The content should, of course, be industry related and if you feel like writing or even sharing your own thoughts, do it.
  • Keep your account professional: Although it might be easy to figure out that a picture of you partying drunk is not professional, not everything is quite as straightforward. Spelling mistakes, even in a Facebook comment, could be viewed negatively as could any radical opinions you share.

#2 Improving Your Social Media Presence

social presence

You can expect that potential employers will check your online presence during the recruitment process. Generally speaking, hiring managers tend to go through people’s profiles right after they’ve received an application and before calling them for an interview, although some do their online checks after the first interview.

Remember that if the company’s in the habit of advertising jobs on Facebook, they will go through your profile even if you just like their post. It’s also important to note that many employers actively scout talent on LinkedIn, so, it’s essential that your social media presence is spot on from day one.

Social media platforms are a lot different when you are using them to find a job than communicate with friends. Your goal is not to share aspects of your life with friends and family but appeal to a hiring manager by showcasing your skills.

Any traces of activities that a boss wouldn’t approve of have to disappear. Photos that show you as anything but angelic need to be deleted and posts with typos should also be edited as 72 per cent of recruiters see typos as disconcerting – a figure which is even higher than the number of recruiters who view marijuana use negatively.  Even voicing an opinion on the upcoming elections could be viewed negatively by a hiring manager; according to Jobvite’s research 64 per cent of recruiters surveyed said that they’d be more likely not to hire a candidate who supported Trump.

All these figures might make you feel like there’s no hope, but the reality is that improving your social media presence is not that hard. It simply requires a few checks and a heavy dose of logic. The step by step guide below will help you clean up your profiles in a quick and stress-free way.

Step 1: Google Yourself

The first step to cleaning up your profiles is to identify what information is available about you online. When searching for someone on Google, social media platforms tend to come up first, but before you delve into those, look at all the results that come up. Look at the pictures and explore the furthest reaches of Google (i.e. anything beyond the first results page) to see what’s there. You may find a picture of yourself that’s not too flattering for example, or you might find something you shared once that you no longer want to be associated with. Also, make sure to keep an eye out for anything about you that wasn’t posted by you as these things would be of interest to a hiring manager.

Step 2: Check Your Privacy Settings

If you created your social media profiles ages ago and haven’t bothered checking your privacy settings since, then you might be in for a surprise. When these networks first popped up there wasn’t a lot of regard for online privacy; it was because of social media that a lot of the concerns about privacy were first raised. However, things are a lot different now, and you can control who sees what you post so make sure that you personalise your settings.

Of course, as discussed earlier, you can always have two different accounts, one for potential recruiters and one for personal use and this could be extremely beneficial on platforms such as Twitter and Pinterest where you might not want to censor yourself all the time.

Step 3: Delete Embarrassing Content

We’ve all been foolish with social media at one point or another, but it’s essential that your online presence as a jobseeker is spot on and this means that you need to go back through all of your accounts and find content that you are no longer proud of. This means deleting pictures of yourselves or others, as well as comments and remarks you’ve ever made. Being thorough about this is important.

Don’t just stick to looking at posts and pictures, look for things you shared as well or for hashtags you’ve used that you are not particularly proud of. 

If hiring managers find typos offensive, there’s nothing to say that they won’t find your habit of staying up late to watch movies problematic.

Step 4: Complete Your Profiles

It’s essential that your profiles are complete and that nothing that would be of interest to recruiters is missing. Your contact information should always be available, and it’s always a good idea to communicate your goals throughout your social media presence (sharing content that relates to your goals is always a great strategy). Ensure that you have friends/connections with other people in the industry and remain professional at all times. Keep in mind that the more active you appear to be on these networks, the more engaged you will seem to be.

Step 5: Join Industry Groups

Both Facebook and LinkedIn give you the option to join groups and discussions, and you should make the most of this option by joining industry related groups. Not only will this help you connect with other professionals, but it will also help you seem more involved with the industry.

But, you shouldn’t just take the time to join all the right groups, you should also leave any groups that you, as a jobseeker, shouldn’t be associated with. These include any religious or political affiliations you might have so take the time to spring clean your social media profiles.

#3 Increase Job Opportunities with Networking

networking

There was a time when anyone interested in making connections with people in their industries had to attend boring networking events, but those days are long gone. Today, networking can be done through social media, and this doesn’t just make it easier and more pleasant, it can also be more effective. Just imagine being able to contact a professional across the globe who’s talking about a new strategy they’ve implemented in their work that has made their operation smoother and has massively increased productivity.

How to Use Your Connections

1. Get Referred

Many companies prefer employee referral programs as research has proven that these hires are better; they are not only of higher quality, but they are also more productive; two things that are music to the ears of employers.

As such, many companies choose this recruitment option instead of posting their vacancies on job boards, which essentially means that no matter how many hours a day you spend on career sites, you’ll never find listings for certain companies.

The problem, therefore, is that unless you know someone within the company, there’s no way to get a job. An excellent way to get over this issue is connecting with people who already work in companies you wish to work for.

Of course, you should be careful and maintain your professionalism at all times as you don’t want to seem like a stalker. Just remember that you need to cultivate a relationship of mutual trust. So don’t just go asking someone to refer you as soon as you have connected. Start by cultivating a relationship with them and simply mention that you’d be interested in working for the company.

2. Ask for Tips

Nothing beats an insider’s knowledge of how things operate and this is precisely why being connected to someone inside an organisation can go a long way to improving your job application. From understanding what the company is looking for to finding out what the right buzzwords to use are, a professional connection with an insider will increase your chances of getting hired a lot.

3. Find Out About Job Opportunities

Many prestigious companies don’t advertise their vacancies on job boards because either they expect that candidates will come looking for them or because they have lots of CVs on file and they are certain that they can fill a position. Knowing someone inside the company can help you know who’s looking to hire at any moment so ensure that you make connections with people in firms you want to work for.

#4 Searching for Jobs

job search

Although job boards remain as strong as ever, social media recruiting is also utilised a lot these days. This means that searching for a position on these channels could make your search more efficient.

Each channel offers different options, and although some are great for showcasing your skills and talent, others can help you with searching for a job.

LinkedIn Job Search

LinkedIn remains the most effective social media platform when it comes to anything professional, and this is precisely why you need to create a profile and start hunting for jobs with it.

It also offers its own job board which you can set to notify you whenever there’s position in your industry available.

But, it is best used to target companies you want to work for. You can directly message a hiring manager or people already working at the company and gradually make yourself more known so that you’ll be a viable candidate when there’s an opening.

Facebook Job Search

The number of recruiters advertising jobs on Facebook has been increasing over the last few years, and this means that finding employment could be as easy as scrolling down your feed. Of course, after seeing a post, you need to follow the same process you’d follow if you had seen the job application on a job board.

Sponsored posts are not the only option on Facebook. You can use the search tool to target cities or locations you are interested in, check what people are saying about opportunities and join one of the myriad of groups that provide information about vacancies.

Following potential employers can also go a long way to helping you create a professional relationship with an organisation. If there’s somewhere you’d like to work, follow them and try to comment on their posts and share them.

But, the best thing about Facebook is that it allows you to get an insight into the company culture so you can match their tone of voice and tailor your CV properly.

Twitter Job Search

Much like any other social media medium, Twitter allows its users to follow and target employers they are interested in and create a more personal relationship with them. However, the secret weapon of Twitter is that it allows users to search for vacancies with hashtags.

Using hashtags like #NowHiring or #Jobs is guaranteed to deliver lots of results so taking the time to find a job on Twitter is worth the time.

Other hashtags you can tr include:

  • #Hiring
  • #Careers
  • #TweetMyJobs
  • #JobOpening
  • #JobListing
  • #JobPosting
  • #HR
  • #Graduate Jobs

You can also search use hashtags specific to your industry. #ITJobs or #MarketingJobs might deliver more relevant results.

Other Social Media Channels

You can search for jobs pretty much any social media platform, including Google+, Instagram and Snapchat in a similar way as on the channels mentioned above. But, the key is to use these mediums to showcase your skills and engage with hiring managers.

Although boards are highly customizable and they allow you to find positions available that fit your exact needs they don’t allow you to formulate relationships with a company, and this is exactly what makes social media job search so effective.

#5 Effectively Branding Yourself

personal branding

Personal branding is becoming increasingly important in the job market world as it not only tells hiring managers who you are, but it also tells them how you are different from the rest of the competition.

It should be utilised by every jobseeker as it can increase their chances of getting employed. Hiring managers are constantly on the lookout for talent, and if you can successfully demonstrate your uniqueness with your social media channels, then you’ll be guaranteed a job.

How to Establish Your Brand

Luckily, branding yourself has been made easier thanks to social networks, and you should ensure that you utilise them in your effort to establishing yourself as a professional. You should make sure that every channel you are on tells the same story about you and your skills.

Every single one of your profiles needs to include details about what drives you (i.e. your passions), your personal characteristics (that are relevant to getting a job, including soft skills) and your strengths (including hard skills).

It’s always a good idea to have a personal website and then branch off to different channels so start by creating a website which lists examples of your work. For example, if you are an architect add a few of your designs, if you are a teacher add students projects, etc. There’s always something to demonstrate and it’s important to have a sample of your work as this will attract recruiters. Bear in mind that the more original the sample is and the more unique, the better your chances will be of appealing to hiring managers.

Ensure that you link to your website and social media channels on every job application you make as this will help you appear more professional. But, don’t just rely on getting it to do the advertising for you. Try to liven things up by posting and sharing things regularly and ensure that the content available to the public is always industry-related.

Continuously connect with people as the more you grow your network, the more you will be opening yourself up to a larger audience and increased employment opportunities.

 

Searching for a job through social media can be extremely beneficial for jobseekers as they promote engagement and can help them establish their personal brand. The key to having a successful search is to ensure that you follow all the strategies listed above and to maintain a high level of professionalism throughout the process.

Do you have any questions about using social media to search for jobs? If you do, please leave your questions in the comment section below. 

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