Today, social media is about much more than simply being social. From its humble beginnings as an innovative way to connect with friends and family, it has grown exponentially over the past two decades to encapsulate almost every aspect of our lives. Now, social media is an advertising platform, a media hub, a content generator, and of course, a professional resource for users to advance their careers.
However, for many people, using social media effectively while searching for a new job is not a simple as it may seem. There’s a huge array of different platforms out there, and each works in its own, idiosyncratic way, offering its own set of benefits that may not be completely clear at first glance. What is true, however, is that using social media to advance your career is about much more than simply updating your LinkedIn profile with your last position and a fresh photo.
Here then, for anyone diving into social media while searching for a new job, we take a look at how you can make the most of this new and exciting opportunity for career advancement. Whether you’re fresh out of university or a professional with years of experience, you’ll find plenty of great advice on how to optimize your profiles and maximize your chances of being seen by the right people. Read on to learn how.
With such a variety of different social media platforms available, deciding on which to use can be challenging. It’s tempting to leverage them all, however, this can be counter-productive; spreading your skills and experience over too many different channels can confuse and frustrate potential employers.
The best approach is to identify which platforms are most suitable for your industry. For example, while everyone should have a LinkedIn profile detailing their job experience and previous positions, anyone working within “visual” industries can also make use of Instagram or Tumblr to act as an introductory portfolio. Alternatively, writers, consultants, and industry experts may benefit from showcasing their work and/or opinions on a blog or through Twitter. Finally, a professionally curated Facebook profile can help show prospective employers that you are a real person and not a scammer!
Most people will use at least one social media platform for their personal lives; however, this can be an issue when attempting to use the same profiles to land a job. Private information should remain private, and so it is important that your public-facing profiles are squeaky clean and completely professional.
This means deleting (or marking as private) things such as profanities and non-PG jokes, party pictures and other non-professional photos, divisive political opinions or offensive statements, and anything that is considered a bit too eccentric. You’ll also want to ensure that anything that a potential employer may access shines a positive light on your character and activities. Finally, make sure you use your real name and include a professional photo on any profiles you plan to use.
Among the most useful features tied to any social media platform is its ability to connect with people from around the world. Of course, you will probably already have plenty of personal connections across your accounts, but connecting with industry relevant individuals, groups, organizations, and agencies is a great way to both show potential employers your commitment and also keep up with the latest news, developments, and of course, job offers. Whether it’s a Facebook group for like-minded individuals in your area or a YouTube channel curated by industry leaders, getting into the right kind of circles is crucial.
Get in Touch
Once you’ve connected with industry groups and organizations, it’s time to engage individuals who might help your job search. Building relationships with individuals who may not necessarily be involved with the recruitment process for any given company is a great way to put your face out there, and social media gives you the tools you need to proactively connect with the right people. When doing this, always link your portfolio from whatever platform you use and ensure you have your contact details up to date.
Social channels such as Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook allow you to connect immediately, while other platforms such as YouTube, Tumbler, and Instagram can help support your conversations with interesting content that can easily be shared. The key is to be genuine, to share knowledge and skills, and have real conversations with real people that allow you to be yourself. Whether you’re reaching out to a friend who’s already in a similar industry or you’re trying to connect with the CEO of your dream company, a little can go a long way with social media.
Whatever type of position you are searching for, and whatever platform you use, harnessing the power of social media can give you a huge advantage over the competition. Just remember to stay safe and verify whoever you contact is who they say they are. Once you’re happy with your connections and you’ve got the ball rolling, a whole new world of social opportunity will be available to you.