Can you search for a job through social media?
The short answer is, yes! Social media has become a key part of today’s life. Even companies have official social media accounts where they engage with their customers and stakeholders. With the diversification of how people network and communicate, social media is increasingly being used as an official channel of communication. Companies and individual recruiters routinely post job openings on their social media accounts and you should take advantage of these opportunities. Do not limit your job search to traditional sources. Social media job hunting is now an acceptable way of landing your dream job so, follow the trends and land your next job while at it.
Noteworthy is the fact that recruiters are also using social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Instagram and Google+ to learn more about potential employees. Yes, everyone is going digital. However, recruiters are not just looking for dirt on social media to eliminate you. They also use your social media profiles and activities to learn about other skills you have that might be relevant to available positions.
According to a study conducted by CareerBuilder.com in 2012, up to 37% of employers use social media to screen candidates and they might even base their decisions on what they find. This is informed by the fact that social media is an integral part of communication in modern times and your communication on social media also points to your communication skills. In a highly connected world, negative and discriminatory comments about certain groups may get you disqualified for a job. As such, it is important to be careful about what you post on your social media pages.
Simple strategies to help you get a job via social media
- Create a compelling profile
If you are looking for a job, exhaust all your avenues, including social media. Start by creating a professional profile that shows your skills, experience and portfolio, if any. Traditionally, employers have used Linkedin as the main platform for recruitment. However, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Instagram are also increasingly being used for recruitment. As such, you should have a good professional profile on as many social media platforms as possible.
Your profile should demonstrate your strengths and what you can do. A good profile should also include a good photograph and it is advisable to have a consistent profile picture and name across all your social media pages.
- Clean up your social media act
When you are in college, you are tempted to post too much information, some of which is offending, on social media. It is all about fun and connecting with your friends. However, when you decide to use social media as a job hunting tool, you need to clean up your act. You can still have fun through your social media pages but remember to keep it clean.
Start by removing any inappropriate or offensive information. If you are going to brand yourself as a professional, it is best to ensure that you project the right image. You do not want to present yourself as an IT guru yet your facebook news feed has numerous posts about your weekend drinking sprees and little information about your IT skills.
This also means that you should use your real name. A social media name like Stacey Yule Msweeet just does not endear you to a potential employer. No one will take you seriously and information you share may just be ignored. You do not have to use all your names but two real names will do. Those college nicknames will have to change if you want to get a job through social media.
- Build a personal brand
Everyone has a personal brand. A personal brand is consistent with your skills and knowledge and gives more information about your work and capabilities. If, for example, you brand yourself as a photographer, have a portfolio of work you have done on your social media pages. This way, a person looking for a professional photographer can easily get referrals and have a quick look at what you can do.
A personal social media brand gives potential employers and business partners an idea of who you are and what you can bring to the table. You should strategically share information about your personal brand to enhance your chances of securing a job through social media.
Branding yourself gives you credibility and definitely gets you noticed. It also defines your work and acts as a guide on what kind of information you should share on your social media platforms. As part of branding, include any sources of relevant information about you on your social media pages. For example, if you have a blog, you should include this on your profile so that people can get more information about you on your blog by viewing your work.
While at it, protect your brand. It takes a lot of time and effort to build a strong and visible brand. As such, do not engage in harmful activities and conversations which might tarnish your online reputation. You do not have to jump onto every trend and conversation. It is okay to sit back and watch. Social media is also a learning platform and as such, watching from a distance allows you to listen to others and gather information.
- Network with the relevant people
In a tight job market, networking comes handy when you are looking for a job. Traditional ways of communication only allowed you to network with people from your close circle. However, social media has exposed us to a whole new world and style of networking.
When you are looking for jobs, you focus on the industry you would like to get into. The key is to, therefore, create the right professional networks. Put in mind that companies and individuals are routinely using social media platforms to advertise for open positions. If you network with the right people, you are likely to get job opening alerts as soon as they are posted.
Creating the right social networks also allows you to engage with industry experts. You might just be offered a job through the content you share and the conversations you have on social media. This is a proactive way of looking for a job and increases your chances of being noticed by the right people. Good networks also help you get relevant, current information about the industry you are interested in.
As you network, you can also follow companies that you would like to get into. Companies will usually share information about their activities on social media in a bid to engage with their audience. This way, you get to learn more about the company through its social media posts. This information can come in handy when you are invited for an interview.
Research also shows about 80% of available jobs are not advertised. This definitely puts you in a tight position especially if you are looking for your first job. This is where a strong network comes in handy. If you have branded yourself well and established strong social networks on social media, you might just get a job offer or interview.
- Market yourself
Do not be afraid of putting yourself out there through your work. Use your social media accounts to let people know who you are. For example, if you are a financial services guru, you could share information about the economy and participate in discussions about the economic impact of current activities such as Brexit.
By marketing yourself, you get to be noticed easily especially since you have networked with the right people in the industry. It is okay to put up posts of personal nature and fun but if you also want to use social media as a job hunting tool, then market yourself through relevant content.
Marketing yourself can also take the angle of being a resource in your industry. This gives you good social capital that can get you a job. For example, you can share content and links on various industry-related topics on your social media pages. This makes you the go-to person for knowledge and boosts your social capital.
Don’t be scared, marketing yourself does not mean shouting and getting all the attention. You do not even need a colourful page and profile. All you need is to strategically place yourself and interact with the right people, which will get you noticed.
- Interconnect your social media pages
It is good to let people know that they can find you on different social media platforms. This is because different platforms have different advantages and uniquenesses. For example, if you are a photographer, Instagram would be your most ideal social media platform. As such, you can let people know that they can find you on Instagram by putting this information on all your other social media pages.
Interconnecting allows you to leverage on all your social media platforms and makes you visible and easy to find. This way, you increase your networks and you stay relevant. If you need to keep some of your social media pages private, you can omit them or make use of privacy settings. You do not have to interconnect those sites you feel will not be of help to you in your job search.
- Be active
A good, clean social media profile is not enough to help you get a job. Some people have never put up posts on their social media pages. This means that no one knows your interests or your capabilities. Being active is part of marketing yourself. You get noticed through your ideas and activities which means that you have to actively participate in relevant, ongoing activities.
If you want to be noticed through social media, you need to participate in conversations and share information. This will get you noticed and also help you to build a strong and relevant network. Being active can also help you get noticed as a resource and this is something that recruiters look for in potential employees.
The idea is to get yourself noticed through meaningful interactions. It may sound tedious but it actually works and you get to gain a lot of information through these interactions. By being active, you can demonstrate knowledge and interest in your industry.
While you are using social media for job hunting, you should be aware that there are things that can greatly ruin your chances of being taken seriously. In some cases, you can even lose your job. here is what you should be careful with:
- Do not slander brands/ personalities
You are in an interview and everything is going on well. Well, until someone in the interviewing panel brings up that tweet your posted ranting about how people in a certain company are useless or how the company is just the worst thing to happen to you. And here you are, asking for a job in that very company. That could just spell doom to your chances of being successful as brands are very careful about their online reputation. Avoid slander and if you have an issue with a brand/personality, it is best to take it out of the public eye. A DM or inbox will do.
- Do not jump on every trend
Trending topics are tempting. You might even have your special opinions about a trending topic. But, while you are trying to build a brand for yourself on social media, some trending topics just do not help you improve your image online.
In addition, some topics are harmful to your brand as they may drive you to share negative remarks about a group of people, which can have a negative impact on your brand.
It is okay to sit back and watch, maybe even learn. Even if it is an industry-related topic and you do not have your facts right, you can sit back and just learn from the debate.
- Do not put up nasty posts
This also goes for those in jobs. Social media has become very sensitive to your overall image. Maybe you want to say something that although not true, can be very offensive. This is not to mean that you should not have fun with your social media but avoid posting things that are offensive or in bad taste. Build a good brand image. One that people would want to be associated with. Social media is a public relations platform so make it work for you.
In conclusion, finding a job has become hard but the way to find a job has diversified. Do not confine yourself to traditional ways of looking for a job as this limits your chances. Social media is regularly being used as an advertisement platform for available positions by employers, due to its reach, to supplement job boards. Additionally, social media has created a platform where social interactions give you a chance to showcase your skills, which is what CVs do, to secure you an interview. Do not limit your job search efforts to just Linkedin, your dream job can find you Facebooking or tweeting.
Like they say, you never know who is watching!