I’ve recently been updating content for our Careers Guide and realised there was something of a hole around the topic of social media. In between scribbling something vaguely informative, but suitably brief, I came across this short film on YouTube, snappily titled, ‘Using social media as part of your job search’. Just what I was looking for! Now, you may be thinking this all feels a bit last year, surely everyone know how to leverage their social networks for career success? Well, it seems not. It is evident that many of our students still don’t see how the ‘Big 3’ (Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter) can play an important role in their future job search. This short film is a great intro to the ‘how and the why’ and is a useful starting point for students and grads alike.
Five tips to make it work:
- Manage your presence and control your content. Develop a good, keyword-rich summary/profile. Be active, not passive, but know where to draw the line. Don’t clog people’s timelines with endless updates: friends will be a lot more forgiving than prospective employers or professional contacts. And don’t think this is just a problem with Facebook or Twitter – it is possible to be too prolific, even on LinkedIn. Strike a balance between quality and quantity.
- Join the conversation….or start your own. At first you may feel more comfortable just lurking, but to harness the full potential of social networks you need to get involved. Follow the key people, associations, organisations and employers in your chosen field(s) and when you’re feeling confident, start engaging. Comment on blogs, contribute to LinkedIn discussions and start tweeting. Retweeting can be powerful, but watch the frequency – try to be selective.
- If you’re using social networks as a promotional tool, then think about the brand you want to create and project. Be creative and original and don’t duplicate content. It’s great to integrate all your social platforms and reach the widest audience, but don’t post the same article/link/photo multiple times. Your followers will just lose interest and move on. Find a new angle, or a fresh perspective – ‘go niche’.
- Make good use of hashtags to organise your job search. Anything can be hashtagged, and the benefit is twofold: you’re more likely to find what you need and, in turn, be found! A few of the more obvious ones are #jobsearch and #needajob. Social Hire has a more detailed list of general career and sector specific hashtags. It’s worth checking out the Top 10 Best Career Hashtags too. Use TwitJobSearch to look for vacancies, or generate more specific results by entering keywords in the advanced search.
- Use social media to complement, not replace, traditional job search methods. You’ll still get a lot of valuable information from fairs, events and face to face contact (not to mention ‘conventional’ networking). Some sectors – and by default, recruiters – have a more active social media presence than others, so tailor your approach accordingly. And it’s worth noting that social media sites can be a real time bandit – it’s surprisingly easy to get sucked in!