Social Media is everywhere. Let’s face it…you can’t go too long without checking your Facebook page, tweeting on Twitter, pinning on Pinterest or looking up something on Google on your mobile phone. This is the world we live in. You can find whatever you need or practically whoever you are looking for through Social Media. So why not use this to your advantage in your job search?
There used to be a time many years ago when job seekers had to actually “pound the pavement” to look for a job. They would look through the newspaper to find openings and call the employer or go to the location in person to fill out an application and submit their resume. In the 1990s the internet came and people could search for openings that way. They would identify companies that they were interested in and submit their resume on the company website. Then the new millennium introduced job boards where you could upload your resume and search for jobs all in one place. Now, we have social media where you can basically let the job find you — if you use it correctly.
93% of employers say that they utilize social media in their recruiting efforts. They use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and a few others to find out additional information about candidates. If they have several candidates to choose from they will use social media to decide who they will call for an interview. They use these tools to find out the good and the not so good. The benefit to employers is speed, transparency, authenticity and an overall view of candidates. They are also looking for ways to “weed” candidates out such as unprofessional pictures, profanity and poor communication skills, discriminating comments based on race or sex, negative comments about employers, and lying about qualifications.
Knowing this information you should be careful as to how you position yourself on the internet. The truth of the matter is if you’re not using social media and an employer can’t find you, you may be viewed as out of touch and/or irrelevant. Keep in mind, your “brand” should be the same no matter what medium you use. If you have enough positive stuff out there the negative stuff will go down to the bottom of the pile and perhaps never be seen. Here are some tips to help you use social media effectively.
1. Google yourself at least once a month. This will help you to see what an employer sees when they search for your name online (and they WILL search for you online). You may find some things out there that you didn’t even know existed. When I googled my name a while back, I found an e-mail I posted to a Yahoo group back in 1996! Thankfully it wasn’t anything that could harm me all these years later.
2. Delete anything that could raise any red flags. You never know what might turn a potential employer off so don’t give them anything that might raise an eyebrow. If you even think for a second that it might not be appropriate, it probably isn’t….so delete it!
3. Have only professional pictures that are accessible to the public. Think carefully about what pictures you post. Some pictures should be reserved for family and friends only. You should think, “Is this an image that I want a potential employer to see?”
4. Don’t just use social media for personal purposes. It is a great way to connect with potential employers and industry leaders. You can follow companies and find out the latest happenings. You can network with people in your industry and get some insight. You may have to have a personal protected Twitter account for family and friends and a professional public Twitter account for networking.
5. Set up a profile on LinkedIn. This is the #1 way to network these days and a great tool to meet potential employers. I recently heard an employer say that if a candidate does not have a LinkedIn profile, she won’t even consider them for an interview! Yikes!! Also, be sure you have 100% profile completeness. You won’t be taken seriously with a profile that is half complete.
6. Use social media to position yourself as an industry leader. You can write blogs. You can tweet helpful tidbits on Twitter. You can join a conversation on a LinkedIn group. Share your opinions and knowledge with others. You never know who may like what you have to say.
7. Develop a website or online portfolio. This is a great way to include your experience and qualifications all in place. It allows you to be creative and will enhance your resume and other traditional documents. It ultimately gives an employer more insight into who you are. Be sure to include the link to your website or portfolio on your resume, e-mail signature, and LinkedIn profile.
Dena Bilbrew has given career advice to over 3000 people nationwide. Her career has spanned 20 years and has included 3 different industries – information technology, retail management, and career services. Her keen ability to connect with the people she advises is due to the several changes in her own career. With each career change she realized the importance of transferable skills and the value of “reinventing” yourself. Dena’s passion for helping others led her to launch DB Professional Concepts (www.dbprofessionalconcepts.com), which is designed to assist jobseekers nationwide with the tools needed to be successful in their careers. She wants to empower others to take their future into their own hands and have the career they desire. You can email Dena Bilbrew directly at firstname.lastname@example.org to get assistance with resume restructuring, cover letter development, interview preparation, job search strategies, LinkedIn profiles, personalized coaching sessions, etc.