In the beginning, it was all fun and games. But social media isn’t just used to connect with family, snoop on your ex-boyfriend or keep up with the latest influencers anymore. In recent years, it has become a valuable job search tool that many potential candidates underestimate. In a survey of recruiters and hiring managers, Facebook emerged as the clear winner for managing your professional social media presence (74%), followed by LinkedIn (56%) and Instagram (49%). As many as 68% of recruiters said job seekers need a LinkedIn profile in 2021, and 65% of hiring managers said that they don't mind being contacted by potential candidates on LinkedIn.
Studies have also shown that 92% of companies are using social media for hiring and that three out of four hiring managers will search for a candidate’s social profiles. Whether you’re a recent college graduate or a seasoned professional looking for a new opportunity, social media is a useful job search tool. By leveraging these strategies, you’ll be able to use social media to land a job you love.
For the most part, you should assume that employers will look at your social media profiles before inviting you for an interview. The first step is to Google yourself in incognito mode. That way, your search results won't be affected by your browsing history. Then see what pops up. If you find any inappropriate posts or photos, remove them or tweak your privacy settings. You'll still want hiring managers to find you, so keep some information public such as your employment history, location and professional skills. No matter how stringent your privacy settings, people will always be able to see your profile photos on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram, so make sure you’re happy with these.
Focus on a few social media platforms
Don’t try to maintain too many social media accounts. That will make it difficult for you to keep them up to date. The general rule is to focus on one or two for your job search, with LinkedIn being the primary one. Confirm that your contact information is accurate and that your LinkedIn profile matches the details on your resume. If you have social channels that you've been ignoring for a while, like a Twitter or Facebook account you haven’t used in three years, this might be a good time to remove them. Let recruiters know you’re open to new job opportunities by changing that setting on LinkedIn. If you specify the types of positions that you’re interested in and your preferred location, your profile will appear in search results when recruiters look for suitable job candidates.
Use social media to research
You can also use social media to learn more about organizations you're interested in. Employers often post relevant articles and other information related to changes happening within the company. This intelligence can strengthen your job search by helping you understand the culture and how they treat employees. Use LinkedIn and Twitter to identify leaders in the companies that you are targeting. By following them and commenting on their tweets, you can get their attention. Responding to their tweets and showing your value will give you an advantage over other candidates who aren't putting themselves out there.
Establish yourself as a thought leader
Another job search strategy is to engage with industry leaders and portray yourself as a subject matter expert on social media platforms. To achieve this, inject yourself into the conversation by commenting and contributing to industry-specific Facebook or LinkedIn groups. These groups can help you develop professionally and connect with individuals in the companies you’re researching. Start posting and reposting items that are relevant to your career or area of expertise. Twitter is also an ideal place to establish yourself as a thought leader by sharing articles and commenting on industry news. Ultimately, you’ll want to have a consistent tone and style throughout all your social media profiles. You should be using these platforms not only to job search but also to build your personal brand.
Send Personalized Messages
Building your network on LinkedIn is a great job search strategy. But when you send someone an invitation, it defaults to a generic message. If you’re reaching out cold to someone you’d like to network with, personalize the request to give some context. You'll be much more likely to receive a response. Once you hear back from them, set up a phone call to get to know them better. This approach is also an excellent way to learn about the company culture at other firms. Just remember, creating and nurturing genuine relationships is at the heart of using social media when you are job hunting.
Don’t underestimate the power of social media to highlight your skills, give employers a peek into your personality, and land you a job. And most importantly, be authentic! In today’s competitive job search environment, it will give you a huge edge over the competition.