Twenty years ago, all you needed to start job hunting was a CV and a cover letter – nowadays you need a LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter profile at the very least. Social media has become an integral part of job hunting, both from a recruiter’s and candidate’s perspective.
So how can you make your social media profiles work for you in your job search? Here are our tips.
Just as you research potential employers, so too will they research you. According to a recent study, three out of four hiring managers and recruiters regularly check candidates’ social media profiles – whether you provide the links or not. You should make sure that they like what they find.
Tools like Social Sweepster can help clean up your profiles, getting rid of profanity or the odd drunken photo. You should also make sure your profile pictures all show you in a good light. A headshot in professional attire is best. PhotoFeeler is a useful tool to get insights about what people think of your profile picture.
While LinkedIn makes it easy to show off your professional accomplishments, you should also try to include a bit in your Facebook and Twitter profiles. For instance, on Facebook you can include your employment and education information and make these sections public, even if the rest of your profile is private.
Consistency and branding
You should always use the same name and profile picture on each social network so you can easily be found and identified. Consistency like this is one of the simplest ways to start establishing your “brand”.
Each social media site can be used to promote different parts of that brand. LinkedIn shows your professional side, while you can let more of your personality shine through on Twitter. Personal blogs or sites are also excellent for brand building.
Easy to find
Another benefit of always using the same name and profile picture is that it makes it easier for employers to find you in a search. The last thing you want is to be mistaken for someone else with a similar name.
If you have a website, include a section where people can find all your social media links in one place. You can also add a list of links to your email signature. This will encourage employers look at your accounts and learn more about you.
Don’t overdo it
You don’t need to have an account on every social media site. It’s difficult to maintain multiple accounts properly, and you don’t want to stretch yourself thin. Choose which networks you want to focus on and develop, and commit to making those profiles shine.
You don’t want to make too many posts either. For most sites, once a day or even once a week can be enough. You also want to make sure you keep interactions to an appropriate level; retweeting every post from your prospective employer won’t automatically endear you to them.
Be social and network
It seems obvious, but the number one thing to do on social media is to be social. There are plenty of ways to network, from Facebook and LinkedIn groups to finding events on MeetUp. Interacting with others is important on social media because it shows you’re not just there to promote yourself.
Research potential employers
You can learn a lot about a company through its social media pages. Most brands will have a few accounts across different networks. Looking through a brand’s posts can give you a good idea of its “voice”, which in turn can give you insights into the company itself. Some are more playful, while others remain professional. Try to mirror its tone and pick out some interesting posts to mention in your interview.