Social media has revolutionized today's job search and it's time you take advantage. [TWEET]
One of the first things you'll notice when seeking new career opportunities is that today's job search doesn't look anything like the one your parents conducted! Competing in the modern, ultra-competitive job market now requires that you learn and master the ins and outs of social media, a huge improvement over simple job search boards. In fact, using social media to find a job can easily be done!
While traditional sites such as Monster.com and SimplyHired.com continue their reign in the job marketplace, people are supplementing their searches there with the vastly more diverse set of social networking sites. Strategically using both social media and job search sites can propel your ability to uncover opportunities in ways unheard of just a few years ago. Let's go over some ways using social media to find a job is easier than you think, and easy ways that the big three social media networks: LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, can help you land your dream job.
The most crucial social media job search site for any job seeker is LinkedIn. If you already have a LinkedIn profile, good for you! If you're not already familiar with LinkedIn, it's time you take the plunge! In either case, you'll need more than just a passive profile to reap the benefits of this powerful professional platform. Why powerful? Because, beyond its capabilities as a networking tool, LinkedIn can help you research companies you've had your eye on, may help you determine the best people to contact at those companies, and will highlight existing contacts in your network who might be instrumental in serving as a bridge to new connections. Research is an important first step because, once you know what makes a particular company tick, you can demonstrate how you can add value to their bottom line or all-important mission.
Building your LinkedIn credentials is an endeavor best accomplished piecemeal. Your existing resume can serve as a framework to jumpstart your inclusion of education, experience and skills on your LinkedIn profile. Want to really stand out? Add organizations you've joined, volunteer work you do, causes you champion, and wrap it all up with a concise summary that grabs the reader's eye by highlighting your personal brand. Ensuring consistency between your resume info and your LinkedIn profile is essential, because recruiters and hiring managers will be using both platforms to make a hiring decision about you.
Your next step is to send out invitations, if you haven't already, to "Link In" with everyone you know - not just people who you think may be helpful to you in your job search. Many opportunities can be found through second and third-degree connections, and you'd be surprised at who knows who. When sending invitations to connect, customize LinkedIn's boilerplate message field to briefly explain to potential connections how you may know each other. It goes without saying that you should proofread all messages before sending!
Maintain your career momentum by employing useful features built in to the LinkedIn platform. Use the LinkedIn search bar to find companies and professional groups that interest you, and ask to "follow" or “join" their communities. The primary advantage of this is that once you have 'joined,' other group members – who work at a variety of organizations you may be interested in working for - will be more open to being contacted by individuals within the group. A bold, but highly effective, move would be to suggest an informational interview so that your interactions are brought offline and into real time. Chatting over coffee or speaking by phone provides real insights into company culture that just can't happen in an online setting.
Ask those who know your work well to post a recommendation, since people whose colleagues vouch for them earn more attention and, according to LinkedIn, are three times more likely to be contacted through LinkedIn people searches. Now that you have set your basic LinkedIn profile, upload writing samples or add links to an online portfolio or Web page to give employers a taste of your creative, technical, graphic design or instructional capabilities that might otherwise go unnoticed.
Founded in 2006, and with over 433 million subscribers in 2016, LinkedIn's impact on the modern job search can't be overstated. The site's recent acquisition by Microsoft will undoubtedly propel the social media giant into the stratosphere. No longer a mere networking site, LinkedIn's technologyunderscores this social media tool's rise to a pinnacle of worldwide business interconnectedness.
Think that your social media job search begins and ends with LinkedIn? Think again. Facebook, Twitter and Google+ can help you scout for new opportunities as well. Your Facebook page can now be used to your professional advantage rather than just a way to keep up with high school buddies. Before you go job searching, however, wipe clean any remnants of inappropriate photos or comments you may have posted in an earlier time period when you were less concerned about your 'professional online presence.' Employers are often there, too, scoping out new recruits.
Just like LinkedIn, Facebook can link you to potential connections through their Groups feature by typing key words such as "Human Resources" into the search box, which will present a selection of HR-related pages. In addition, organizations with company Facebook pages use them to promote their latest and greatest products and services, post videos and news about the company, and even allow you to interact with other company 'fans' and customers. As jobs get posted on company Facebook pages, don't overlook this potential source for opportunities.
Your next stop on your social media job search is Twitter. Part of any good job search these days, Twitter has come a long way from the days when people were prompted to answer the ubiquitous Twitter question, "What are you doing?" While no recruiter worth his or her salt is going to contact you if they see you posting things such as "Tomb Raider-PS4 rocks my world!" hiring managers do look for candidates who have more important things on their minds than what video game they just aced. The real-time nature of Twitter is such that opportunities come and go at a rapid speed, so you need to be signed in often, reading and commenting on other's' posts, and displaying your professional smarts while steering clear of dishing dirt or airing your family laundry. Your Username or handle can reveal a skill or an interest (such as Doglover12) but when you're seeking work, the most effective thing you can do is simply use your real name; that, and a brief bio suited to the type of work you seek, will enable hiring managers to find you. Unlike LinkedIn, where formality rules, you can show a bit more personality on your Twitter bio.
Whether using social media to find a job via Facebook or Twitter, position yourself for success by following industry blogs, news sites and people you find interesting. When something strikes you as useful, funny or shareable, you can repost. Since anyone following you may read what you post, maintain an upbeat, professional tone and gear your posts to topics that are aligned with your industry or field. Try not to overdo the use of links or rely heavily on re-posts or retweets, as doing so doesn't show you to be a good conversational partner. To find new people to follow, try directories such as twellow.com, wefollow.com, or tweepz.com. An important feature of both Facebook and Twitter is using hashtags to mark subjects you are tweeting about, so that others who have that topic in mind can find like-minded followers among the throng of users. Try #jobsearch, #jobpostings, #jobhunt, #employment, #recruiters, #careers or similar hashtags to locate people who may be currently seeking you for their company's opportunities. Looking for a job with a huge company? CareerArc.com (formerly tweetmyjob.com) posts over a million opportunities monthly, helping companies boost brand visibility by integrating with their Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to disseminate opportunities on job aggregators like Indeed.com.
It goes without saying that social media has revolutionized today's job search. You don't have to be a sleuth to uncover opportunities using your LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter accounts, because these sites have become mainstream tools designed to help you manage your career search. With limited time and resources, consider joining one or two of these networks to help you harness the power of social media. While other sites such as Google+, Pinterest and Instagram have their uses in the realm of recruiting, the expectation is that these sites are suited more for casual, rather than career, connections. Because few job announcements actually get posted on job boards and company websites, most hiring these days happens through virtual networking.
Thanks to a plethora of online information, connections are now made in half the time that it would have taken to unearth prospects in an earlier era. With a bit of research, regular sign-ins and a tad of ingenuity, you can make those connections - and the rewards will be well worth it.
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