Social media isn’t usually on engineers’ radar when it comes time to look for a job. But in our brave new digital world, social media is one of the primary ways we with interact with others. That means your social media presence can be important when it comes time to find your next engineering job.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re a freshman engineer looking for your first job, or a veteran engineer who’s been actively working in the field for years, social media is a great tool that adds tangible value to your job search. Here are our best tips for engineers who want to use the incredible reach of social media to their advantage.
clean up your profiles if they’re public
Social media and search engines make it easier than ever for employers to check you out online before they ever meet you, let alone schedule an interview with you! Expect recruiters and hiring managers to search for your name before they consider you for a job. With your professional integrity on the line, it’s essential that your online presence portrays you as the skilled professional you are. Your personal life shouldn’t be a part of the equation when hiring managers are deciding if you’re right for the job.
If you have personal profiles, ensure they’re appropriate for work, make them private, or ensure they’re not currently associated with your real name. If you’re in job hunt mode, Google yourself to see what kinds of images and information comes up, and ensure everything you see would pass through an HR magnifying glass! If you don’t like what you find, there are a variety of tools available to help you clean up your online presence.
linkedin is king when it comes to finding a job
LinkedIn is the largest social networking site dedicated to professionals and is a valuable tool for advancing your career. A whopping 90% of recruiters say they actively look use LinkedIn to look for candidates when filling a job. That’s a lot of people who could be looking for (and finding!) you, without you having to do much of anything at all. Some quick tips and tricks:
- choose a professional photo – this isn’t the place for a selfie or a photo with a ‘creative’ composition. A simple, well-lit headshot is your best bet. Your photo is often used as a gauge of your professionalism. Think of it as your first impression with hiring managers. Make it count.
- bulk up your LinkedIn profile – an ‘all star’ ranking for your LinkedIn profile will ensure you’re easily found. Also, make sure to use keywords related to jobs you’re interested in. For instance, if you’re a mechanical engineer, repeat your job title throughout your profile. If you’re licensed, include your P.Eng designation and mechanical engineering degree. If you’re experienced in a particular industry, that’s also worth noting. Be sure to touch on key software you use and your engineering proficiencies, particularly if they’re technical skills closely related to your job.
- join engineering groups – often recruiters will look in these discussion groups first because they know they’ll find active and engaged recruiters who are passionate about the field. Just remember, if you join, being an active participant is important to raise your profile. Ask relevant questions (that haven’t been asked before!) Find quality engineering articles worth sharing and post links to them, ideally with your own comments and thoughts.
- engage with influencers – the engineering industry’s key influencers and leaders can also be found on LinkedIn. Look to popular authors, owners, and managers at top engineering firms, association presidents and professors at world-renowned universities for the kinds of people you should be following. Doing so offers endless learning and self-development opportunities.
- check in weekly – though most recruiters won’t expect you to be on LinkedIn daily, we recommend checking in at least weekly. Along the same line, always ensure your profile is up to date and reflects your most recent roles, projects, and skills.
Need more help? Check out our article on improving your LinkedIn profile for more tips and tricks.
looking for a job in the engineering sector?
twitter is a great place to engage in discussions and stay current
Although Twitter may seem more social than LinkedIn, it’s actually a great place to connect with top thinkers and influencers. If something is happening in the engineering industry, Twitter is often the first place you’ll hear about it, making it a great place to stay up-to-date on what’s happening in your field.
Twitter makes it easy to target your interests and find other engineers and influencers in the industry whose insights you can benefit from. Most major engineering associations, companies and networks tend to have Twitter accounts, where they share important developments, industry trends, upcoming networking events and job vacancies which you may find useful. It’s also a great place to meet valuable contacts in the industry.
Trending topics are a great way to keep your Twitter feed active. If a new innovation has debuted in your field, it’s likely it’ll become a trending topic, giving you an opportunity to share your thoughts. Evergreen hashtags like #MotivationMonday and #WisdomWednesday are also a great option to stay active.
engage with engineering-specific forums and communities
Another place to engage with like-minded engineering professionals is on engineering-specific forums and websites. Some websites, like Quora, will also have engineering subforums that are worth checking out. Look for forums where people are talking about your field and potential job opportunities. Much like on LinkedIn, it’s important to be active and engaged if you decide to participate in a forum.
Comment on different threads and reinforce your presence. Be wary of only interacting with the people who you think might help your career since it may give the impression that that’s your sole concern. Rather, use forums as an opportunity to network with other engineers and start discussions about the field you love. It is also a fantastic way of demonstrating your passion and interest for the industry by discussing industry news and opinion with others.
Also be sure to follow hashtags related to engineering jobs to ensure you hear about engineering opportunities as soon as they arise. You might be surprised how often hiring managers use Twitter to seek out talented candidates!
need help finding your next job? connect with a randstad branch that specializes in helping engineers find work.
start the conversation and establish expertise with a blog
If you have the time and dedication, starting your own blog is an amazing opportunity for engineers. You have the opportunity to position yourself as an authority in your field and share your passion for engineering by relaying important information about what’s going on in your field. Engineers often deal with highly technical and scientific terms, so showing that you can communicate your ideas to a general audience shows off your communication skills. Just keep in mind, consistency is key to blogging success – at the very least stick to weekly updates, though the more often the better.
Also, ensure your blog is tied to your professional social media channels and that you’re sharing your articles on them to increase their reach. It can take some time and persistence for your blog to pick up steam, but when it does, it’s incredibly worthwhile! Having a successful blog will enhance your personal brand, and show hiring managers you’re passionate about and dedicated to your career. If your blog becomes popular enough, you may even score invites to industry events and networking opportunities, or to publish your work on popular blogs, websites or publications in the industry, which can only benefit your career.
At the end of the day, your social media profiles are what you make of them! No matter what industry or topic you’re interested in, you’ll find like-minded individuals online. The key is to connect with them and contribute to the conversation. The more active and insightful you are, the stronger your personal brand and online presence will be when you’re ready to start your job search!