Thousands of people use social media to find employment. In fact, according to a study by recruiting software platform Jobvite, more than 22 million Americans used social networks to find jobs in 2011. And one in six found a position via social networking. A whopping 54 percent of job seekers use Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter to search for jobs.
Companies also scour the Internet to look for potential employees. And there are ways to get them knocking at your virtual door.
But you have to know where to make your social presence known and how you present yourself online is equally important. “LinkedIn is a great social media platform to make connections. The LinkedIn platform even allows you to designate yourself as ‘looking for work’ and employers will know immediately that you are attempting to gain employment,” says Matthew Reischer, digital and social marketing manager, LegalAdvice .com. “Generally speaking, try finding social media sites that fit the niche of the career category you are seeking work in. For example, if you are looking for a legal position, find a legal social media site. Otherwise, most social media sites are too broad to be good tools for job prospecting.
“With LinkedIn, you take advantage of the professional network you already have, but see it in a way that you aren’t able to otherwise. That friend from college that you haven’t spoken to in years may have a connection with the company you’re trying to work for and might be happy to help you reach out to them,” says Joan Barrett, owner of The Content Factory, a digital PR firm specializing in social media marketing and content creation.
Make use of Twitter. “While LinkedIn allows you to network with people you already know, Twitter is a great way to connect directly with new companies and hiring managers. You don’t have to be introduced to anyone formally. Build Twitter lists for companies that you respect and would love to work with and follow thought leaders in your industry. Also, don’t be scared to @ your favorite company and let them know how awesome you think they are. It can go a long way,” suggests Barrett.
Know how and where to target the type of companies you want to attract. “A lot will depend on the size of the company. Large Fortune 500 companies that have a dedicated social media department will notice standout conversations on Twitter faster than they will on Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, etc. However, small to medium-sized businesses that don’t have the dedicated staff will tend to spend more time on Facebook,” notes Jonathan Goodman, president of Halyard Consulting.
There are keys to engaging employers online. “The secret to all social media engagement regardless of platform are hashtags. A great way to get noticed by a potential employer is to use hashtags when asking questions or providing great feedback. The more you converse with these companies the more they will see you as a dedicated evangelist for their product. When they match up your social profile and your resume they’ll already feel they know you and your dedication to their company will shine through above other candidates,” explains Goodman.
Have a great profile. Make sure all your online profiles are up to date. And be active on the networks. “Have an active LinkedIn profile where you regularly share articles related to your industry. Be sure to add some thoughtful commentary. If you have a blog this can be beneficial to show your ability to write and reason. It can show your personality (fit for the company) and creativity. You need to make sure that it is up to date, grammatically correct, and relevant to the companies that you’d like to get a job at,” explains Katie Mayberry, principal/digital marketer of SpyGlassDigital .com. “Have an active and engaged Twitter account where you interact with other people in the industry. Showing that you are influential can be beneficial to the company depending on the role you’re looking to get. Prospective employers may be looking for employees who can amplify their brand online.”
And since companies do check you out online, reconsider what you post. “You might consider making your Facebook profile completely private as to avoid embarrassing personal information becoming exposed. If it is public make sure all images and text are professional,” advises Mayberry. “Do not have controversial content online (unless specifically relevant for some TV personality role you’re auditioning for). Anything political, religious, or otherwise marginalizing should be closely monitored and edited.”