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!

Jeff Howell
Jeff Howell is the Sales and Marketing Manager for Newton International, a specialized staffing, business consulting, and managed solutions company based in Flint, Michigan. Jeff's education and career started in the printing industry but has, over time, moved into specializing in marketing consulting. Jeff is a leader in inbound and outbound marketing, developing customized solutions for measurable growth.
Jeff Howell

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Comments

  1. Daniel Hebert says:

    Great post Jeff!

    This is a subject I have written about many times, even on SteamFeed (http://www.steamfeed.com/how-to-get-a-recruiters-attention-through-social-media/)

    I was using social media for job seeking from February to October (when I finally landed my dream job). I've used it in many different ways, some that worked, some that didn't. I probably have enough content on this subject to write an e-book, haha :P (which I might!).

    • Jeff Howell says:

      Daniel, you totally should write one. Or maybe we can collaborate on one. I'd be game for that.

      I was astounded (or maybe I shouldn't have been) to hear how many job seekers aren't using every tool they have in order to find work. But maybe it's just lack of understanding.

      • Daniel Hebert says:

        I'm thinking of writing one for SteamFeed, when we have the new site up, and launching our Newsletter. A collaboration would definitely work – I know Albert also has some good ideas.

        You have to think about your last comment – the majority of people that use social media, are simply using it for keeping in touch with friends and family. Because we are so immersed in the business world, it just makes sense for us to think that using social media for job hunting is logical – but for most people, it isn't, because they don't see these networks as a place to do business. Out of my Commerce graduating class, I was the only one for a long time that had a LinkedIn profile, and I was the only one that used social media actively to build business relationships, and try to get an employers attention. Even during case study projects in Marketing, I would suggest a social media marketing strategy (on FB and Twitter, for most companies), and my classmates would question my logic, saying that it's very juvenile for companies to use Facebook in the way I was suggesting. They didn't think it would work, because they didn't understand social media for business.

        We social media professionals are a very, very small group, in a very large pool of social media users. All of this makes sense for us, but how many people actually think about using Twitter for job hunting, when all they use it for is to get their entertainment news? I still explain to people every day what I do as a social media professional. I STILL explain to people every day what LINKEDIN is. The majority of people don't even know what the hell LinkedIn is, or that it exists. So should we expect that they know how to use it?

        There's a major education process that needs to happen at a younger level (early university) that social media, and personal branding, is becoming a big part of the job application process. Without people knowing about it, how can we expect them to use it properly? That's my long-form comment for the day, haha :P .

    • RINKU says:

      Great Daniel ,

      Its good to know that you got lots of help from Social media for searching jobs .
      I am currently an active job seeker in HR but unable to get thru a job offer.

      Could you share some main points which would help in getting a job in HR

      Have a great time
      Rinku

  2. rayhiltz says:

    Great tips, Jeff.
    It amazes me sometimes how "uncommon" common sense is. The raison d'être of Linkedin is business networking and job seeking/recruitment. That people don't put up a photo of themselves or don't complete their bio's reflects of deep misunderstanding of the social web.

    (running now to check my profile ;-)
    Thanks

    • Jeff Howell says:

      Thanks, Ray.
      You would think reaching out to every available person in their social network would be one of the first things that would do. But hey, if they didn't I wouldn't have content to post!
      You're profile looks fine. ;)
      Thanks for stopping by to comment!

  3. Nicely done Jeff,
    I think one of the most important things (one I preach about in my presentations) is to COMPLETE the bio section on EVERY social media platform are on. So many people don't think about that. If someone or some company is seriously looking at you for employment, they are going to check deeper than just Linked In, Facebook etc.

    That being said, I think Daniel has a great point, many people are using social media for just "hanging out" with the guys/girls. That is a whole other onion as they say.
    Nice job, always a pleasure reading your stuff.

  4. Jeff Howell says:

    Thanks Gerry.
    I'm glad you're liking my stuff…

    Thanks for bringing up the completion issue. It's not enough to have the accounts and looking professional, but they have to be completed as well.

    Thanks for stopping by to comment!

  5. davek0101 says:

    Love the post and comments here. I have to agree with most everything. For me, I've gathered that social media is unique to one's own circle of fans and friends. I'd also say that ,most people do use social media to stay in touch, reconnect and share stories, food and various common interests. In my case, I'm currently on a job search, all these social media outlets are so intertwined it's hard not to make the few occasional connections with another unique group of fans and friends. Pretty cool stuff!!

  6. Daniel Hebert says:

    DJ and I had discussed doing paid webinars through SteamFeed and our authors. You bring up a cool idea with taking the education offline as well. Once we get to a bigger stage, and have the resources to hold offline events, we should definitely try to come up with some ideas. :)

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