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 to get a recruiter’s attention through social media

If you’re a recent college graduate, or someone looking for a career change, you’re probably spending a lot of time networking, filling out job applications, and sending out résumés and cover letters. But have you ever tried getting a recruiter’s attention through social media? It’s clear that social media has now become a big part of business, and that includes the hiring process as well.

At the start of 2012, I decided I wanted to work for Radian6, so I created a social media campaign targeted towards the company. The goal was to get an interview with a recruiter. Here’s what I did:

  • I first started out by setting a plan, and a goal. This way, I had clear direction with what I wanted to do, and how I was going to do it.
  • I started engaging with Radian6 on Twitter on a regular basis.
  • I decided to write this post as my job application.
  • I engaged with my influential followers, and asked them to share this post with their community.
  • I tagged Radian6 in the post on Twitter and Facebook to make sure they would see it.

Results? I was contacted by email within 24 hours to set up a phone interview. I had my phone interview within 48 hours of me writing the post. Other people were interested in the post too, and decided to write articles about it! Here are the links to the articles that different people wrote:

I did not end up getting the job with Radian6 because of bad timing (the position started in march, and I only graduated in May). However, I ended up making great contacts during the experience! Also, Radian6 invited me to write a guest post for their blog. You might say this campaign was not successful, but I would disagree. The goal was to get an interview, and that goal was accomplished. To me, that’s success. The best part about all of this was that it took me as long to write the blog post as it would have to write a cover letter and  résumé specifically for that company.

So how can you take my example, and apply it to you? Here are a few tips of what you could do with your personal online presence that might help you get a recruiter’s attention through social media.

Your online brand must be professional

  • Make sure your social media profiles are clean. Pictures must be appropriate and keep any negative comments about employers to yourself.
  • Establish a headquarters (i.e. website or blog), and show your skills through your writing. Be creative with it.

Listen to what hiring managers are saying

  • Find the companies where you want to work. Make sure you are present and active on the same networks as they are.
  • Look at their online presence, and listen to what they are saying. Engage with them and introduce yourself to the company.

Be creative, and take calculated risks

  • Doing something creative online has a much greater chance of recruiters remembering you. Find out what’s been done and learn (don’t copy) from others. Make sure your idea is original to the company, or it won’t stick.
  • Direct your message to the company. If they are active on Twitter, send them a link to your online résumé.
  • Ask your followers for help! The more people that are involved, the better chance your application will be seen.

Even though I didn’t get the job at Radian6, I still engage with them on a regular basis, and they still know who I am. Don’t be scared of taking a risk, and getting a little creative with your online résumé. You’ll see that results will be much greater than the traditional job application, in most cases.

What has worked for you when using social media for job hunting? Did you come up with a creative way to approach a company? Please leave a comment below!