Social media isn’t just for sharing envy-inducing photos of your latest vacation! A carefully crafted social media profile can give your job search a little boost. Though it’s unlikely social media will be the only way you look for a job, it’s an incredible tool that can make your job applications stand out. Recruiters and hiring managers check out your social media profiles to assess your personality and skills to determine whether you’re a good fit for the job they’re hiring for. Anything you post online is fair game. So why not use social media to your advantage? Here’s how to make your social profiles shine.
do a social media audit
Before you launch your next job search, do a social media audit. Put your browser in incognito mode and see what comes up when you search for your name. This negates your personal search history, so you see what a recruiter or hiring manager would. Is there anything that you wouldn’t want them to see? Delete photos or posts that aren’t professional. Or set your profiles to private if you want to keep the photos, but would rather recruiters not access them. If you go down this route, you might consider creating professional social media accounts to use for work-related purposes.
use your professional name
This is especially key on LinkedIn. LinkedIn is the top tool that recruiters use to find and vet candidates. Over 90% of recruiters admit that they use LinkedIn to find great talent and check out the candidates who make their short-list. You want to make sure it’s easy for them to find you, and that means using your proper name or the name you choose to go by professionally. For instance, if your name is Katherine, but you choose go by Kate at work and on your resume, use that, because it’s what hiring managers will be looking for. There is one caveat about using your professional name: only use it on channels you want found. If you use your Instagram or Facebook for strictly personal content, consider using a pseudonym or making your accounts private.
find your personal brand
Who are you as a professional? Shape your social accounts around a few key pillars. Ask yourself: What professional issues do I care about? What areas am I an expert in? What are my professional interests? Once you narrow down a few work-related topics that are of interest to you, it’s much easier to create a narrative on your social media. For instance: maybe you’re an HR professional who cares deeply about diversity in the workplace. Share content about trending HR news, especially if it relates to diversity. Join groups focused on diversity and inclusion on LinkedIn, or follow hashtags on Twitter and Instagram, so you can join in on the conversation when a relevant topic pops up.
show off your personality
The days of putting a concrete barrier between your ‘work’ and ‘casual’ selves are long gone. Employers recognize that you’re a real person with interests, hobbies and a life outside of work. There’s no need to completely scrub your social media free of all signs of your personality in an effort to appear ‘professional.’ Embrace who you are: a 3-dimensional person with insights, opinions and ideas. Recruiters and potential employers want to see that you’d be a good fit for their team.
research, research, research
Social media offers a wealth of information. Use it to your advantage. Research companies you’re interested in. Most major brands and a whole lot of smaller ones have a social media presence. You can learn a lot about their values and what’s important to them by following their social media and seeing how they interact with customers or the types of photos and stories they share about employees. Ensure your professional experience and skills align with the companies and jobs you’re most interested in. Several social sites also have integrated job boards (LinkedIn and Facebook) so you can keep an eye on new job opportunities.
engage and be active
Get involved in online groups that interest you professionally. LinkedIn, in particular, is a great place to expand your professional horizons and find like-minded professionals. Check your profiles and post at least once a week, though even more is better, if you have the time. Commenting on or sharing articles is an excellent first step, but if you want to take it a step further consider writing content of your own. LinkedIn has an easy-to-use platform to post professional articles. Taking the initiative to put your voice out there can only enhance your professional reputation. Just remember to carefully proofread any content before you publish!
On social media, being a jack-of-all-trades tends to be forgettable. Sure it’s great you can do a little bit of everything, but companies tend to look for experts when making hiring decisions. Position yourself as an expert by zeroing in on a niche. What is your ideal job title? What skill set is your biggest strength? What industry do you have a lot of experience in? Highlight these specifics to make your profile shine brighter when a recruiter comes looking.
build your network
We know: networking sucks. It’s often awkward and the worst part of the job hunting process. But it’s a huge help when you’re looking for work. According to HR experts, referrals make up approximately 30% of hires at an average company. That means 1 in 3 people was informed about or recommended for a job by someone already working at the company! Like it or not, who you know is important in today’s workplace. Social media is tailor-made to form these types of beneficial professional connections. Most people want to help out their fellow industry professionals if they can. Just make sure to adopt a networking strategy that isn’t all about you. Be professional and make sure the relationship isn’t all about you interrogating potential connections.
follow careers accounts and hashtags
Many companies have careers accounts that are separate from their day-to-day social media accounts. They often use these to post about job opportunities. Follow ones that interest you. If that’s not an option, hashtags are another simple way to find content that’s interesting to you. If you’re looking for jobs, look for hashtags that include your industry and words such as ‘careers’ or ‘jobs.’ If there’s a particular company you’re interested in working for, check if they use a particular hashtag for sharing career opportunities.
Social media can be an incredible tool for finding job opportunities and building up your professional brand. Put in a little effort and the rewards are great. Have you used social media to find a job before? We’d love to hear about it! You can connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn.