You are probably well aware of how social media can help your job search and career, but maximizing your use of social media may be even more important than you think. Brook Torres, Social Media and Community Manager at The Muse, urges job seekers not to underestimate the power of your social media profiles to help you land your next job (see Job Seekers: Social Media is Even More Important Than You Thought), and she has the data to back it up, including:
- 92% of companies are using social media for hiring, an all-time high
- 93% of companies use LinkedIn
- 66% of companies use Facebook
- 54% of companies use Twitter
- 73% hired successfully with social media
- 4 million job seekers in the US have used social media to search for a job
- 29% of job seekers use social media as their primary tool for job searching
Social media has become a quick and easy way for employers to conduct informal “background checks” before inviting anyone in for an interview. According to online job search expert Susan P. Joyce (Guide to Social Media and Job Search), employers search social media to verify the facts on resumes, check out knowledge and attitudes expressed publicly, and evaluate communications skills. Your social media can also alert potential employers to your use of alcohol and/or illegal substances and give an indication of how you spend your non-work time.
While LinkedIn is the number one social network for job search, it is not the only social network that can help boost your job and career prospects. Other social media sites, especially Facebook and Twitter, are likely to be on potential employers’ radar and can help or hinder you depending on how you use them.
Career Innovator and Blogger Hannah Morgan (10 Ways to Use Social Media to Manage Your Career) says that social media is about word of mouth marketing, developing relationships and connecting with people. If you use your social media profiles to represent you in a professional and positive way, you will enhance rather than diminish your name and reputation. Ms. Morgan offers a number of strategies to leverage the power of social media, including:
Expand your network and sphere of influence
- Use LinkedIn to connect with past colleagues, professional association members and professional peers. Join and participate in LinkedIn groups related to your target industry
- Use Facebook to connect with friends from high school and college, friends who you might not interact with on a regular basis, and friends of friends. You never know who has heard of an open position or who might have connections at your target companies
- Use Twitter to find “Who to Follow” recommendations for users with connections to your industry. Erin Greenawald (45 Things to Do on Social Media to Find Jobs) suggests following job search experts to keep your feed constantly updated with new advice and inspiration, and offers 75 great handles for you to follow to get started.
Keep current with industry trends
- Read Smartbrief for your industry
- Subscribe to industry newsletters
- Use Alltop to find some of the best industry blogs
- Join professional associations
- Respond to questions and comments related to your industry and areas of interest on user forums, blogs and LinkedIn
- Engage with people across social media and take relationships to the next level
- Develop trusting online relationships with others by promoting their services, thoughts or ideas
Demonstrate technical savvy
- Read about cutting-edge social media strategies and test them yourself
- If you’re concerned about your age, use social media to debunk the myth that older workers are behind in technology
Online job site LDSJobs.org recommends that you review all your social media accounts from the perspective of a potential employer (see 5 Things You Can Do on Social Media Today to Find a Job). Update old information, check for typos and grammatical errors, and remove any content that might discourage a potential employer from hiring you. This could include complaints about former employers, embarrassing photographs, and jokes or potentially offensive comments that deal with race, gender, religion or politics. Your social media accounts say a lot about who you are, so make sure they are communicating the right message.
In today’s job market it is essential that you make the most of your social media accounts to uncover job openings and potential employers, to raise your profile with employers and recruiters and to network with friends and colleagues who may be able to help you in your job search.