Leveraging Social Media for an Effective Job Search
By: Recruiting Specialist
Networking on social media during a job search is increasingly becoming popular among job seekers to look for jobs and be noticed by recruiters looking to fill positions. Although social networking should be complementary to traditional job-search methods, if done well, it can be very effective in several ways. Recruiters and hiring managers these days pay close attention to your 'social resume' which simply means your online presence and reputation. Statistics show that in 2011, 89% of all recruiters scrutinized job seekers' social resume and in 2012, that number increased to 92%. Given such statistics, you digital presence in social media must be "dirt-free" and should represent your personal brand in best possible positive light. So the question is where should you build your social presence?
Every job seeker needs to be on LinkedIn. Recruiters always check out candidates' LinkedIn profile thoroughly and connect with them there for networking. You should make a comprehensive and compelling profile using relevant key words, listing career accomplishments, publications and more. You should also join industry groups to participate in discussion and broaden your professional network with those in your industry. The wonderful thing about LinkedIn is that it is a forum to connect with people you know professionally that also allows you to connect with their contacts. You can view profiles of current and prospective connections and effectively build up a virtual networking platform. It also enables you to search specific companies and perhaps find people who are connected with the people you already know. You can then ask your personal contact to connect you with those you do not know. In addition to networking, you can also see jobs posted by various companies and they are usually high quality professional jobs. LinkedIn also allows you to email your connections for networking purposes. As far as building reputation is concerned, LinkedIn allows you to link your blog post to your profile so every time you post a new blog it will get updated on your profile. Similar to blog link, LinkedIn lets you incorporate your conversations from Twitter so your connections can see what you are tweeting about. LinkedIn today is a tool that if used right can make you shine and get noticed by those who are hiring. Your profile should be constantly updated with content that others find valuable, and with your connections' help you will be able to build a robust online presence. Connections usually help each other by endorsing skills and expertise areas that each have and you should make use of this feature. Endorsements are powerful ways of letting potential employers see how you are perceived by your peers. You should get key connections to recommend you which are another powerful way to market yourself. Make use of the LinkedIn status update feature to let people know how your job search is going, a networking event you might be going to or classes or extra credentials you are acquiring to keep your job search goal alive in people's minds. Finally, don't forget the headline in your LinkedIn profile – it is probably the most important content that will draw attention. You can write something catchy about what you do. For instance, instead of writing "consultant" you may want to write "a marketer with creativity and a way with words." Headlines are seen by all and create interest in the reader to learn more about the person.
Twitter allows you to connect with people you don't know based on common interest. When you follow someone or someone follows you, you can read bios and decide if they work somewhere you'd like to be. All you have to do is reach out and try to make a connection. You may hear an occasional "no", but people usually try to be helpful. In Twitter people also tweet about job openings. There is a new tool called Twellow which searches people's bios and the URLs in their bios. Since tweets are short it is easy to tweet meaningful short messages about your job search and keep it fresh on people's minds. Feel free to reach out to network. An important piece to remember is to use your own name for your Twitter handle to help your search engine results. Twitter allows you to acquire "followers" so of course the more followers you have the better your messages are heard and more of an expert to seem to be in a field or area. Tweeting meaningful professional content allows you to increase followers as people will come to depend on you for a certain kind of info. Finally, don't forget to follow job boards or companies as many of them tweet links to their current openings. So, leverage Twitter to build your social presence, online reputation and enhance your job search.
Facebook's status feature allows you to write about your job search quest, networking successes or your interviews without naming names and without being inappropriate. Post "notes" as they tend to stay on people's screens longer. You can also link your blogs on your status updates. A good idea is to post your blogs as a note as people are more likely to read text that's already there rather than click through to the blog. Also, if people comment on it, it becomes more viral. Tag your friends if you mention them in a blog to spread your messages quickly. If you have a few dollars to spend, don't feel hesitant to promote your story or target ads to potential employers. You never know, employers often like to talk to candidates who take unusual and bold steps to express their interest. Take a little risk – businesses like risk takers, as long as they are well thought out (and legal)!
How can you tell if your social resume is working? You can track your progress by checking your social media influencer status in Klout. It measures you on a scale of 0-100 and evaluates your social media presence by the size of your social network and also by extension on how many people you are reaching. In LinkedIn you can track how many people viewed your profile. Also the number of skills endorsements, personal recommendations and connections show strong presence. For Twitter, your tweet volume and retweet frequency shows your influence. If you are an avid blogger you can enlist the help of Technorati to track blog engagement. It gives you a ranking which communicates to you how you measure up with competitors on valuable keywords. Also, Digg.com can give you an idea about how many people are sharing your social resume.
The best time to get started in social media is when you have a job. This is when you have access to other professionals, recruiters and content. However, don't despair if you are unemployed – there is one thing you have more of, and that is time. This is the time to spend hours researching companies and content in the areas where you are interested to find a job. This is when you can invest in building your brand effectively. While you must spend time posting your resume and looking for jobs in job boards such as America's Job Exchange, active participation in social media will bring up your social media presence. Remember, the world has changed and you don't have to always go after the open jobs – let the jobs to come to you. Your social presence and reputation is vital in being noticed by people who are hiring now and who will be hiring tomorrow.
So, don't waste another minute. Get started now!