“Any social media platform is worth examining. Social media expands business, develops relationships, product innovation and service delivery – what an incredibly powerful communication tool.” — Toby Dayton, President and CEO, LinkUp
Career experts agree — job seekers should use social media as job-search and networking tools. LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook are among the most popular social media websites for job hunting. Access them on your computer, or through their apps for tablets and smartphones.
Social media sites continue to evolve. Some that are popular today may be replaced by new technologies in the future. Since social media sites are playing an increasing role in job hunting, job seekers need to keep up with the latest technologies. Your local WorkForce Center can help you stay current.
LinkedIn has emerged as the most popular networking tool for professional and business purposes. Recruiters say this is a top choice to find workers because the candidate pool includes “passive” job seekers as well as job applicants. In addition, LinkedIn launched University Pages to help high school students look at colleges. The idea is to expand a student’s understanding of the careers available, and get a head start on building a network of family and friends to help guide them along the way.
Facebook and Twitter, two of the most popular social networking tools, primarily started out as a way for people to communicate with friends and acquaintances. That has changed ... a lot.
In general, social networking services first ask you to create a profile that has information about your interests and activities, career and education. Once you complete your profile, you can search for people you know. You can request that certain friends and acquaintances become a part of your network, and they can accept or reject the offer.
Post meaningful tidbits from your life or job search. Skip useless information about what you ate today or anything that doesn’t add value to your job search. Include links to photographs, articles, videos and other content related to your career or personal interests. These are far more valuable to your social network.
Connecting through the Internet may relieve some of the stress of traditional face-to-face networking because it can be easier to communicate through a typed message than to call someone you don’t know very well. When you meet people ask which social media they use and if you could connect with them that way, too.
Social networks also offer a way for you to build your personal brand, a strategy discussed in Chapter 3. By having accounts on major social media sites you can build an image for yourself as an expert in a field and an intriguing personality.
Keep your image on social networking sites professional. Some studies show as many as 80 percent of employers look at your social networking profiles to see how you act beyond the interview.
Now let’s take a look at these three popular social media sites.
LinkedIn is a social networking site specifically for connecting with other business and individuals. It will be key to your social networking strategy because it helps you establish connections with coworkers at past jobs, former managers, and your network of friends and acquaintances. Founded in 2002 and launched in May 2003, LinkedIn now counts more than 200 million members as part of its network, with representation in more than 200 countries and territories.
The network provides an important user base for job seekers. According to online marketer Lewis Howes, 45 percent of business professionals on LinkedIn are business decision makers.
Job seekers can establish a professional presence online by creating a resume, gaining recommendations and answering questions. There is also a job board that allows groups and businesses to post openings. The most important item to remember about LinkedIn is that simply creating a profile will not help you make the connections to find a job. You must interact and create valuable content and connections to resonate with employers and other members alike. View free webinars to help you learn to use LinkedIn.
Use LinkedIn to remind your network contacts of your availability for employment and to share with them your insights on industries or events or information on business issues. Those members, in turn, can link you to members you may not know but who could have job openings at their companies or be aware of openings elsewhere. Join LinkedIn alumni, special interest and industry groups, list your skills that will get you endorsements, and participate in group discussions. Groups sometimes discuss various job openings. Having connections won’t get you the position, but joining groups and offering meaningful answers to questions will call attention to your expertise and showcase your value.
Twitter, a micro-blogging social media platform, allows members to follow one another and send messages no longer than 140 characters, or around two sentences. Politicians promote their ideas to constituents, news organizations give information about stories as they develop, celebrities keep fans updated on their lives, and regular folks reveal, well, anything they want, from their passions to what’s up with their kids. A message is called a tweet. By linking a message to a longer article, video or photo gallery, users add more value to their tweet.
These short messages provide a perfect electronic platform to let people know you are looking for a job — and to establish yourself as a valuable candidate for the jobs you seek. You could use Twitter to refer your followers to your LinkedIn page, to inform them you recently graduated from a college, or to tweet about things going on in your career. You can impress employers and people in your network by linking to articles or grabbing relevant quotes on your industry. If you want to tweet a link to something, but the URL consumes most of your 140-character limit, use TinyUrl to shorten the length.
And don’t forget to use Twitter’s search capabilities: Search by job or industry hashtags for jobs on Twitter and do advanced searches. Visit other websites for finding jobs on Twitter such as CareerArc or Tweetdeck.
In “Twitter Helped Me Get a New Job: 5 Success Stories,” by Amy Levin-Epstein on CBS MoneyWatch, UCLA graduate Jessica Humphrey shared how she found employment:
Looking for a job in PR, Humphrey started following the Bread & Butter Public Relations Twitter account and soon found they were looking for interns. After interviewing, the company offered her an internship but she “needed to pay the bills” and declined. Still, she kept in contact with the company’s team in Austin and saw tweets about an opening in its new San Francisco office. She received great recommendations from the company’s Austin team and landed the job.
Facebook is by far the largest social media platform. Facebook connects friends and colleagues and provides spaces for conversations, videos, photographs and, of course, profiles of users. It has apps for job search such as Jobvite, which lets people connect and apply to jobs all within Facebook, and gives you the option to join Facebook Groups to find jobs in your field.
Facebook’s Advanced Search function can be useful when job hunting. Use it to find profiles of people who attended a certain college, who once worked at a particular company or who live in your community. You can even search for people by location, age and first name — in case you’ve forgotten their surnames.
In an effort to get to know their job applicants, employers often look at Facebook accounts of applicants. According to a survey of more than 300 hiring professionals, a whopping 69 percent of recruiters have rejected a candidate based on content found on his or her social networking profiles — an almost equal proportion of recruiters (68 percent), though, have hired a candidate based on his or her presence on those networks. Post only comments and images on Facebook and other social media sites that you would want your prospective boss to see and adjust your privacy settings appropriately.
Downloads, Fact Sheets, and Guides
Download these fact sheets and presentations on using social networking sites for job seeking: