Using Social Media Wisely, part 3: How Social Media can Help You Find a Job

Using social media wiselyOver the past few weeks, I have shared some ideas about how social media can enhance your education and how an online misstep can unravel your reputation. Now, let’s examine ways you can go from using social media as a way to keep up with friends and family, to using it to help you find a rewarding job opportunity.

Last year, more than 80 percent of companies were expected to use social media as a workforce recruitment tool (source: www.mediabistro.com). Recruiters use social media to help them reach candidates, not just because it saves them money, but also because they can target a specific job level and reach candidates who might not otherwise apply. And a bonus for transitioning military who would like to find a job far from where they are stationed, or for the military spouse who wants to secure a job while packing up the house for the next PCS move, social media allows job hunters to connect with recruiters around the world.

Nearly all recruiters – 98 percent – use social media like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook to find candidates. Almost 95% of recruiters have made a successful hire from  LinkedIn. Not only are recruiters actively looking for potential candidates using social media, they are proactively engaging qualified candidates online. So if you’re not using social media as part of your job search, now’s the time to start.

The best place to start preparing for your social media job hunt is with your profile or background pages on sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Eye-tracking studies have demonstrated that the average person spends a little less than six seconds looking at a person’s profile. If you want to make a good impression on potential new employers, you’d be wise to make those six seconds count. Post pleasant, professional profile pictures, use keywords relevant to your job search in your bio, and keep usernames simple and free of profanity or otherwise unprofessional language.

Most people use Twitter as an outlet for expressing their opinions on news, politics, or causes that are near and dear to them. Why not use it to get yourself a job? The Twitter search function can help you find recruiters in your industry. Many companies encourage HR recruiters to tweet about job openings in addition to posting them to the usual job boards and advertisements. As an example, Grantham University job postings are strategically placed — and tweeted — to recruit top faculty and staff for the 100% online university. Start by finding a few recruiters in your field — or better yet, identify recruiters that specialize in placing veterans in jobs — and follow them. You’ll likely see opportunities as a result.

Ten years ago, if you were interested in working for a particular company, you had to rely on cold calling for informational interviews if you didn’t know (or couldn’t remember) someone at a particular organization. Now, you can ask people in your social networks to introduce you or even refer you for open positions. Sites like www.InTheDoor.com  or www.BranchOut.com search your Facebook network for hiring companies.

You can also build your influence and your network by writing thoughtful posts about current industry issues and posting them to your LinkedIn page or other networks. Demonstrate your knowledge, skills and expertise so that when someone in your network thinks about your industry, your name is top of mind.

Gone are the days when job hunting meant sifting through the Sunday classifieds with a cup of coffee and a number two pencil. Companies rely on social media to help them find the top candidates – so you have to engage in social media and put your best foot forward if you want to compete.

 

Have you found a job through social media? Tell us your experience in the comments.

 

Ms. Shelly has spent more than a decade working in higher education. She currently serves as executive vice president for Grantham Education Corporation. Ms. Shelly is passionate about changing lives – about making college education accessible and affordable to more people and preparing students and graduates for success.

 

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