In 2015 and beyond, your success in job search will depend on more than a stellar resume and sharp interviewing skills.
The often-overlooked component?
Your social media presence.
Whether you realize it or not, these top 3 social media sites (and your participation on them) can make or break your job search.
Here’s how to join and leverage them during your 2015 job hunt – along with tips for expressing your personal brand on each one:
1 – LinkedIn.
LinkedIn, the original go-to site for recruiters, is still a preferred choice among many employers. Without a LinkedIn Profile, your job search is a nonstarter – so if you don’t have one, or it’s minimally filled-in, get going!
Employers are drawn to LinkedIn for the sheer volume of professionals using it, plus the ability to search for you by keyword (skills, geographic location, name, and credentials). Therefore, you’ll want to populate your Profile with this data as soon as possible. Other insider tips for your best use of LinkedIn:
- Add information that reflects your personal brand to these crucial sections: Headline, Summary, Work History, Education, and Certifications. The site will index almost every piece of information you add, so be careful to choose words that bring traffic to you.
- Resist the urge to add “Unemployed” in your Headline, as it’s not a search term and will not brand you effectively. The most effective Headlines include an achievement (such as Top Producer or On-Time IT Project Delivery) that immediately tells employers why they should consider you.
- Write your Summary in a friendly, professional tone (similar to a cover letter), providing details on what motivates you professionally and what you excel at doing. You can list achievements and credentials here, even if they’re shown somewhere else on LinkedIn.
- Consider using the LinkedIn Publishing feature, which lets you post an article you’ve written, which is viewable by all users. Here is where you’ll need to stay focused on your professional brand: pick a subject in which you’re well-versed and post 5 tips on it, or take an industry concept and expand on it. This shows employers your critical thinking skills and can establish you as a thought leader.
- Use the Company search function to hunt down preferred employers on LinkedIn. Of course, you can use the Jobs search tool to review and apply to job postings.
- Add rich media (video, article links, or relevant documents) to your Summary or Work History. These inject a dose of color and can help reinforce your brand.
- Check out the Alumni section to see which employers like to hire from your alma mater, and of course, look at your industry competitors to see if there’s any reason you are being passed over (such as a credential they have and you don’t). This is important intelligence for your job search.
Worried about losing your privacy on LinkedIn? Your name, place of employment, relationship status, address, and other personal data are already circulating online. With LinkedIn, you’ll have the advantage of fine-tuning and controlling your brand message.
You can block specific users if you’re worried about stalkers. However, your boss, co-workers, and industry competitors can see your information, so you’ll need to exercise caution (and don’t give away company secrets).
2 – Facebook.
Yes, Facebook. It’s a great tool for expressing your personal brand, even though many people think of it as a means of dispensing too much information.
To leverage Facebook for your job search, build a personal brand message and stick to it throughout your posts – demonstrating the ability to stay on-topic in a way that supports what you offer employers. You’ll also want to employ the following strategies:
- Make your posts employer-friendly. You could add a link to an article that interests you professionally or start a dialogue with other like-minded users on a topic in your field. Again, stick to an on-brand message because a political rant can turn off a prospective employer.
- Ensure your photos, personal information, and work history are aligned with your career goals. This isn’t the place for a picture that shows you kicking back at a bar (or a post complaining about your boss).
- Spell correctly and demonstrate the correct use of grammar! Some hiring managers will use Facebook to review your language fluency before deciding to call you for an interview.
- You can post a portfolio of your work, either by using images or otherwise adding a link to an article you’ve written. If you’re running a blog that supports your brand message, include a link to your site.
- Be aware that some recruiters can dig up your digital dirt, using advanced methods to see your Facebook (or LinkedIn) information, even if you’ve set privacy controls. Using discretion in what you post is the simplest way to avoid rejection because of something you put online.
- Look at employer Facebook pages for job postings. You might find that job listings appear even more quickly on the company Facebook page than the firm’s website.
3 – Twitter.
While Twitter can also be a forum for non-professional messages, it’s also a favorite place for recruiters to hang out – particularly if they’re pursuing marketing or communications candidates.
Consider this: if an employer wants to hire someone who’ll need to understand social media, they might post jobs ONLY on Twitter or another social media site.
In fact, job seekers can create a Twitter presence for the sole purpose of searching for job postings. Other best practices in Twitter for job search include:
- Exercise the same care in posting only on-brand content that you would on LinkedIn and Facebook, keeping your comments professional in nature.
- Use the applications and tools built on the Twitter platform, such as TweetMyJobs, that are employed by companies to list jobs through Twitter. These can be invaluable components of your search strategy.
- Follow companies, paying particular attention to posts that describe growth or hiring.
- Send private notes to others in your industry; ask well-known professionals for advice and offer your own. Participate in regular Twitter chats on topics in your industry, because employers and recruiters may also listen in on these activities.
- Create content, just as you would for Facebook or LinkedIn, by sharing articles or writing pieces you can show to potential contacts. Again, these need to be related to your field and subject matter expertise.
- Show restraint in the amount of time you spend on Twitter, as this can show you’re not working or spending time on professional activities. Consider using tools to automate your use of Twitter, such as HootSuite, that can help you stay active, while multitasking elsewhere.
In summary, social media is now a fact of life for savvy job seekers. Take the time to build a professional presence, share content, and network with others using these top sites – and you could receive more attention from employers in 2015 and beyond.
Need a competitive edge for your executive job search?
As the #1 U.S. TORI award-winning executive resume writer, I create branded, powerful resumes and LinkedIn Profiles that position you as the #1 candidate – PLUS arm you with the job search tools that will get you hired faster.
My clients win interviews at Fortune 500 firms including Citibank, Google, Disney, and Pfizer, plus niche-market companies, start-ups, and emerging industry leaders.
Get in touch with me to experience the outstanding results my expertise can bring to your transition.
– Laura Smith-Proulx, CCMC, CPRW, CPBA, TCCS, COPNS, CTTC, CIC