Searching for a job can be frustrating. If you’ve responded to ads on job boards but haven’t heard anything back, you may want to try another method. Just as social media has become a popular way to stay in touch with family and friends, it’s also now a crucial part of the job search process. According to statistics on job searching with social media compiled by the online job-seeker resource Career Enlightenment, 89% of companies surveyed used social media networks for recruiting in 2011.
“Everyone looking for a job should use social media to enhance their search,” says Michelle Berg, President and CEO of Elevated HR Solutions in Calgary. “About 80% of the candidates that we’ve placed this year have come through social media. Plus, the major job search sites charge companies to place ads. If a company wants to save money, it may skip these sites and rely on social media to get the word out about its positions. For example, you can find unadvertised jobs on Twitter by searching for the #careers or #jobs hashtags.”
Here are five ways you can use social media to find a job:
1. Get active on LinkedIn
If you’re looking for a job, LinkedIn is the first social network you should join. Almost every recruiter uses LinkedIn to find candidates. Make sure your profile is up to date, that it includes a professional photo and that its headline contains keywords to make it easy for a recruiter to find you. For example, if you are a web developer, be sure to include “web developer” in your headline.
You also need at least three recommendations to complete your profile and ensure it shows up more frequently in search results. Be sure to get recommendations from your supervisors, as they are more credible than testimonials from friends or peers.
2. Make a good first impression
With a simple Google search, potential employers can find information that you may not want them to access, such as wild photos. They may disqualify you if they don’t like what they see. To make a good first impression, use a professional photo for all of your social media profile images. You’ll also need to check your privacy settings on Facebook to ensure only your confirmed friends can see your photos and read your rants. You can even create one Facebook page for your career and a separate page for your family and friends.
3. Get insider information
One of the great things about social media is that it lets you access information that’s not available anywhere else. For example, you can use LinkedIn to search for the recruiters within a company. Then you can reach out to them. It’s often part of their job to give your resumé to the right person.
You can also learn about a company’s culture through social media. Companies often share blog posts, photos and videos about what is happening with their employees. This lets you see if a company is relaxed or more formal, and can help you decide if you want to work there.
4. Connect with referral sources
Most people find jobs through referrals, not through job boards. “Employers use social media for referrals,” says Carisa Miklusak, CEO of tMedia in Vancouver. “Smart candidates should use social networks to connect with others who can help them with their job search, such as recruiters and referral sources. I get up to 10 messages per day from employers looking for candidates, and I’m always searching for great people to refer.”
One way you can connect with referral sources is to contribute to conversations on LinkedIn groups related to your industry. “Recruiters will send referrals to people who provide value,” Miklusak adds. As you become better known in these groups, recruiters will take notice.
5. Show your expertise
Employers will be impressed if they see that you’re knowledgeable about your industry. Social media can give you lots of opportunities to share your expertise. For example, if you work in finance, you can start a financial blog. You can also provide helpful tips on Twitter, LinkedIn or YouTube. If you’re looking for an executive position, this will help position you as a leader in your industry. But even if you are looking for a more junior role, this will show that you are knowledgeable, innovative and primed for success.
If you use social media as part of your job search strategy, be scrupulously honest. Employers will compare the resumé you gave them against your LinkedIn profile to ensure you’re not embellishing. With social media, it’s easy to find out when someone isn’t telling the truth.
What about you?
Have you used social media to look for a job? Please share your tips or comments below.