How to Use Social Media as a Job Seeker

Common sense would dictate that if you are seeking employment and you use social media, you would use that network to locate your next job.

social media for job seekers

photo credit: Robert S. Donovan via photopin cc

Yeah, I would think that too. But it seems that people are either afraid to reach out to their social network (out of fear of looking weak or whatever) or simple lack of understanding how social media can help. As the marketing manager for a group of staffing agencies, I’m posting job seeker ideas, job postings and other resources out there on our various social media to help. While those posts seem to have some reach, I wonder how useful it is to someone looking for work. I wonder if the reason those posts aren’t helping as many people as they could is because job seekers simply aren’t using their social media that way. They’re doing themselves a huge disservice.

There are lots of articles out there about job seekers’ social networks being viewed as a recruitment tool. If a person is interviewed, generally, their social media is looked up and reviewed for anything that could harm their chances of getting hired. We don’t need to debate the ethics of this, but it IS happening and if you’re a job seeker you have to do what you can to limit any negative exposure.

Here are some simple tips for job seekers to use social media to help them land a job:

  • Facebook.  Go through your timeline and profile. Are there any party pics or posts that might be used against you in an interview? Adjust your settings to hide as much as you can. It IS your page and you can have what you want on it, but you should hide anything that would risk a potential job.
  • Twitter. If you have a Twitter account you’re probably safe with whatever you post. You will want to clean up your profile if you have the “egghead” image or don’t have a Twitter header image. Make yourself as presentable here as you would in a job interview, professional.
  • Blog. Your blog is the expression of who you are and everything about you. Unless you have a ton of profane laced posts, highly controversial subject matter, tons of nude pics or other questionable material you are probably safe. But just to be sure, you may want to go through past posts and see which ones could be used to keep you from getting a job. Again, I don’t want to start the ethical debate about this here. This is a tip that could be the difference between getting a job and staying unemployed. Also, you can use a few of your posts on the blog as a makeshift online resume; sharing your skill sets, proving you know your industry, and sharing info about how you might solve a specific business problem.
  • LinkedIn. Ah yes. LinkedIn. I’ve blogged over and over about LinkedIn and how to use it effectively. If you are an active job seeker there is NO excuse for not having a LinkedIn page. Seriously, if you don’t have one, go get one. Right now. Do it. I’ll wait. Use every resource you can find to put up a professional image of yourself, fill out every section completely and find contacts. Make it very clear that you are seeking a job and join as many local LinkedIn groups you can find. There are plenty of job seeker groups in LinkedIn which will help you in your job search. Just Google “using LinkedIn to get a job”, and you’ll find a ton of resources.

If you have a professional headshot, change your profile pic on ALL your social media accounts to this professional shot. If you don’t have one, go to WalMart or some other low cost option that shoots portraits. For $10, you can get a professional headshot. It’s worth the investment. Don’t settle for a camera phone pic in front of a white wall. That’s just lazy and lame.

If you are seeking a job, I’m sure it’s not always fun and it can be easy to get frustrated. I’ve been there, recently, and I know it sucks. But if you use your social network to help find a job, it could help ease the stress knowing you’re using every available tool. Did I miss anything? What other ways can you think of to use your social network to help find a job? Leave your comments below. Thanks!

How Not To Be A Social Media Troll

That might seem obvious.

A “troll” in social media speak is someone who comments or posts things that have NO relevance to the topic at hand.

TrollSince this blog and group of authors are here to help establish a new social media culture, the message is simple: STOP TROLLING!

This came to a head with me last week during the last US Presidential push and Hurricane Sandy. I can’t tell you how many tweets, posts, and comments I saw that twisted the tragedy in the east coast political. Here is something tame I found on nbcnews.com last week.

Social Media Troll Comment

Ok, look, I’m all about someone’s opinion but why bring something political in when it wasn’t needed or part of the story? Let’s use some common sense.

How not to be a troll:

  • Comment on a story when you have something to add or you like what was posted.
  • It’s OK to stir the pot when it adds to the discussion or if you disagree with the opinion but you should still keep it within the topic.
  • Your mama told you – “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything.” True here as well, don’t attack someone personally because you disagree with them or because you don’t like them. Keep your keyboard quiet.
  • Don’t creep. That’s creepy.
  • Don’t bully. Especially if you have some influence online. There is room for lots of different ways to do things and your way isn’t THE ONLY way.
  • Don’t be foolish with the power of social media. You have the power to build up or tear down. Be responsible.

What other suggestions do you have to be responsible and not be a troll? Leave them in the comments below!

Integrate Your Marketing to Maximize Your Dollar

Simply put, traditional marketing isn’t enough today.

I’ve had businesses in the past call me to help put out a direct mail piece. “All I want is to say I’ll help fix their snowblower for winter”…. So I ask some more detailed questions, “Who is it going to?” “What message do you want to send?” “Where will it take them?” “What is the call to action?”. Sometimes the response was, “Huh, I didn’t think of that.” Most of the time they didn’t care about those questions and wanted to send it to EVERYone. That’s like pointing a shotgun in the opposite direction of your target and hoping some of the shot meet the target. Not happening.

I’m sure we’ve heard or done this ourselves; “I created a Facebook page, had no strategy, I don’t engage it much and no one is liking it! I put a sign out front that we have a Facebook page! Social Media doesn’t work!” Yeah, I see why.

If you want your business to grow these days, you have to create a strategy with your marketing. Oh, there are those rare businesses that open their doors and the business comes streaming in, but that is the exception. Your strategy can’t surround your 13 year old son because he’s “good at Facebook and good with computers.” Seriously, I know a business that is using that strategy. Your strategy also can’t be done on the cheap. There are plenty of things you can do within a budget.

Maximize your budget by using integrated marketing communications

In order to maximize your dollar and get the most exposure is using what is called integrated marketing. Put simply, it is combining every form of advertising and communication into one strategy, spread across various forms of media. It’s no longer enough just to “get the name out there” and hope for the best. There needs to be consistency, targeted messaging, a plan and an end goal to a marketing plan.

Here is an example. A widget maker creates a video that happens to go viral which has an embedded link to an online survey. There is an incentive given to complete the survey (maybe a gift certificate or a percentage off an order of widgets). The widget maker analyzes the data to determine who is most likely to purchase their product. They then create a new marketing campaign targeted to who their data said was their most likely buyer. Profits grow, bells ring, angels sing. It’s not always that easy, but you get the idea. It does take a risk and an investment. Sometimes it won’t work as planned. Sometimes the campaign needs to be tweaked and done again. Ultimately, the right combination of media will work and there will be a sweet spot of engagement, growth, understanding and attention given to your company’s brand.

So, what can you do now to try and integrate your marketing?

  • Send out a direct mail piece by purchasing a targeted list of individuals or businesses. Use that piece to drive traffic to a social media account. Be prepared, however to begin to engage with the new followers. No one remembers a company or brand if they’re not actively engaging their followers
  • Create a viral video to direct viewers to a landing page on your website. Create some funky, creative campaign that rewards the user somehow
  • If you have a new product coming out, try getting the entire company involved by handing out cards or little trinkets that create buzz in the community about “something BIG is coming”
  • At a trade show or expo? Create a hashtag contest over Twitter and make the prize something really cool that the winner will want to tell everyone about
  • Use augmented reality in some paper advertising to spread a message to mobile device users

Those are just a few examples of integrated marketing techniques you can use to get the message out about your company. What else can you think of? Leave your comments below.