Social media is a part of most people’s everyday lives, but many don’t realise that it can be used for so much more than sharing photos of your latest holiday. Here are six ways that social media can help you with your job search…
1. Make yourself visible
Gone are the days of sifting through the newspapers to find a job. Today’s graduates need to be savvy to compete in the global job market. One third1 of employers use social recruiting, so making yourself visible on social media could help you get noticed.
A personal profile on LinkedIn acts as your online CV and is a great way to showcase your experience. Make sure your information is up-to-date, complete and matches the CV you’re sending out. LinkedIn focuses on work and achievements so is more professional than Twitter and Facebook (and it is widely used by recruiters to source candidates). Other social media platforms can also be used, but be careful about what information you share.
2. Job search
LinkedIn is the number one social media resource for job seekers – the site has a dedicated “jobs” section and 94% of recruiters use it to ‘vet’ candidates2. You can filter the search criteria, create email alerts and apply for some jobs without leaving the LinkedIn site.
Twitter is another useful resource, you can use hashtags to search for relevant jobs (e.g. #graduatejob). If you’re interested in a specific company then follow its social media accounts to be the first to hear about new job opportunities.
3. Manage your online persona
A CareerBuilder Survey3 showed that 60% of employers use social networks to screen potential candidates. This means that what a company can find out about you online could affect your job application. It’s a good idea to check what comes up when you Google your name!
It’s down to you to manage your online persona. If you don’t want potential employers to see your social media accounts, make sure you change your privacy settings. Choose carefully how you will use each network and remember, quality is more important than quantity. A professional Google+ page which showcases your industry knowledge will be more worthwhile than half a dozen empty profile pages. Remember to take care with anything you post publicly; spellcheck, be consistent and be professional.
‘Who you know’ plays a big role in finding job vacancies so utilise your online connections. If you’re openly looking for a job, tell everyone in your social networks – you might be surprised how many people ask for your CV. LinkedIn recommendations are also a great way to add credibility to your online CV. Ask people who know you to write a recommendation; it could be from a teacher, employer or colleague.
You can also gain new professional connections through social media. Look for pages that are related to the industry or profession you are interested in and contribute to topical conversations to expand your knowledge and make new contacts. LinkedIn Groups and Google+ Hangouts are useful tools to start conversations with like-minded people.
When completing job applications it’s important to research the organisation you are interested in. Following a company’s social media channels is a great way to understand the company culture and see how it communicates with customers.
Social media can also help you keep up-to-date with industry developments. Updates happen in real-time so it is often the first place for breaking news. Read tweets, Facebook timelines, LinkedIn posts (groups, companies, individuals) and Google+ pages. You can read different viewpoints to gauge the bigger picture. This will help you build industry knowledge which could be useful in an interview.
6. Understand social media
Social media has had a huge impact on the way organisations communicate with their stakeholders. It has evolved beyond the marketing department, and departments across each business are using social media to improve their processes. Being savvy about Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other social channels is a sought-after skill which organisations will value.
But remember…managing your personal profile doesn’t make you a social media expert. You need to understand how organisations are using social media, how it relates to your industry/profession and what value it can add to a company.