Finding a job with social media can be a daunting task for those not of the millennial generation. While more and more people, of all age ranges, have embraced social media as a social outlet to connect with friends and family, but using these same networks to find a job is an uneasy subject. Maybe you think employers aren’t hiring candidates they discover from social networks?
Companies are turning to social media not only to connect with customers, but to interact with potential new employees. There are hundreds of articles online sharing stats ranging from various user demographics to the most popular topics or brands people view/share/tweet/pin/+1/like, but what most people aren’t aware of is how to successfully present your social profiles to a potential employer.
Over the next several weeks I’ll be doing a four part blog, walking you through the top social media sites and how to use them to their fullest potential to land your dream job.
The question is though, with the US unemployment rate at 7.7%, where do you start?
LinkedIn. At the end of 2012, LinkedIn had over 200 million registered users, 160 million of those were active users on the 10 year old professional social media network. LinkedIn should be the first stop for any person looking to make a career change or join the workforce out of college. And with their recent site updates, it is easier than ever to boost your online profile (resume). With the addition of Endorsements, Projects, Publications, Patents, etc., it is easier than ever to present your entire virtual resume to potential new employers.
Be professional. First and foremost LinkedIn is a professional network. It’s not Facebook, so keep your beach profile picture on your Facebook page. People with profile images are more likely to be given a second look, so keep this in mind when deciding which photo to choose. A clean face shot, from the shoulders up is best. If you’ve been to a conference or work event recently and had pictures taken, choose the clearest picture and crop everyone else out. This profile is all about you, and first impressions are everything.
Utilize the company search bar. Know of companies where you are interested in applying? Search for them on LinkedIn. If they have a company page (which most companies do) you can research more about the company, view their connected employees and read reviews posted by other LinkedIn users. Have a common connection with a hiring manager or someone working in the area where you are interested? Request an introduction from your shared connection.
Utilize your connections. With the new Insights feature, you can see everything you have in common with a connection or other LinkedIn user, such as groups or connections, skills & expertise or previous work experience. For example, below is an image of my Insight graphic with a fellow employee:
Another way to easily find employees at potential companies is by simply looking through your own connections. And if a user doesn’t have their connections blocked, you can view the “People Also Viewed” section to find potential new connections.
Don’t harass potential new connections. If you request an introduction from a shared connection, wait and see if the company employee chooses to connect with you. If after a week or two you don’t receive a connection request, send one yourself with a quick note introducing yourself; mention your shared connection and why you are requesting to connect with them.
After you hit send, don’t ask for another request with them. If you have that option at all, it is because they denied your connection request and asking them again could only ruin your chances with that connection and not make a very good impression.
Instead, continue networking through other company employees. If you don’t have a shared connection with someone to request an introduction, but feel they would be a great way into the company or someone you should be connected with, send your own request introducing yourself and a brief note with why you are interested in connecting with them.
Once you are connected with someone in the company, begin a dialogue with them about the company. You can send messages (not paid InMails) with anyone you are connected with, so take advantage of this feature. However, don’t harass them this way either. You want to put your name in the back of their mind, but not in the “This person is crazy” way.
Join groups and be an active member. Groups are another way to see potential connections. Depending on what the company does, they may have groups they own, in which case you can join to network with other users, learn more about the company and participate in discussions.
Outside of potential employer-owned groups, make sure to join groups that are based on your field of interest and your alumni groups. At the moment, you can be a member of 50 groups on LinkedIn, so take advantage of this. If you are currently working and can’t view your group discussions during the day, you can choose to receive email updates about the most popular discussions on a daily or weekly basis. Take advantage of this and stay on top of group discussions and top influencers.
If you are actively participating in discussions, a potential employer’s employee could reach out to you instead of you doing the leg work.
Search for jobs directly. Another new feature is the “Jobs you may be interested in” section. On the new profile design, you can click on the Jobs tab across the top bar and search for jobs posted on LinkedIn. This can be done with a free account, which is great news to those not in the recruiting industry!
Searching for jobs can be as easy or as specific as you choose, by looking for specific job titles, using only keywords that may be listed in the description or with the advanced search, pinpointing a specific region, state or city. You can also narrow your search by industry or the number of days since the job was posted. You can do a variety of these searches and save the results so you can stay updated with the opening and easily view the company and not lose your search results.
Below the “search for jobs” search bar are “Jobs you may be interested in.” These are jobs LinkedIn thinks you may be a fit for based on the information you provide on your profile. This is a great place to get started if you’re not sure what keywords to use or what titles may be the most common for the position you are seeking. Search through the recommended job posts, get an understanding of the keywords and phrases companies are using when describing the position or required experience, and then begin your search.
Searching for a new job is tough; it’s a full time job in itself. There are numerous tools and sites available now to help job seekers, these are just a few.
Be on the lookout next week for Part 2 where I will dive into how to take Facebook from simply social to your job hunting tool!