When I first graduated college and started looking for a job, I cancelled all of my social media profiles to look more serious to my prospective employers. I truly believed that being absent online would make me stand out in the interview room. Unfortunately, it seemed to have the opposite effect: I became invisible everywhere, personally and professionally.
As an experiment, I tried the opposite approach — building impressive social media profiles with large numbers of followers — and found work almost immediately.
A few years ago, when social media was first budding as a way for Internet users to connect with friends, the various services popularly went by a different name: social networking. However, it is only recently that social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn, and far more offer unlimited opportunity to network in the professional sense of the word. Here is my best advice for using social networking to land your dream job.
Facebook For Job Seekers
Facebook is nearly everyone’s favorite social site. As of the first quarter of 2015, almost a billion and a half people around the world actively maintain and peruse their profiles. It should be unsurprising, then, that Facebook is the most useful networking tool online. In fact, according to an article on Forbes, 83 percent of job seekers check Facebook for openings, and 65 percent of recruiters troll profiles for potential workers with relevant experience.
Stories abound of modern workers who found their current positions while mindlessly scrolling through their feeds. Here’s how I fine-tuned my Facebook habits to get my first post-graduation job:
- Take advantage of the “Work and Education” tab. Facebook lets you be as vague or detailed as you wish, which means you can expound on your professional experience and skills to impress potential employers.
- Use filters when you post anything. You can classify your friends into different groups — say “work” and “personal” — so not every post you make will be absolutely public. Only show your work contacts details that improve your professional standing.
- Actively network. Unlike networking of old which often required waiting for the right connection to come along, you can use Facebook searches to find friends and friends of friends who work at your desired employer.
Twitter Tips for Job Seekers
The beauty of Twitter is its simplicity — but that is also what makes this site particularly difficult to use during job searches. Still, more than 40 percent of job seekers look to the Twitterverse for networking opportunities, according to that same Forbes research. Here are the best practices to Tweet your way into your dream job:
- Keep work and life separate. Twitter allows you to maintain a number of different profiles, so you should set up a professional-only page where you can link to your resume and other valuable information, like your online degree program and other credentials you’ve earned to become a better employee in your field.
- Create and share content often. Twitter is a numbers game, and if you tweet once a month, your message will likely be lost in the flood.
- Make it personal. Besides tweets, you can send private messages to people and institutions you admire to cultivate a more personal relationship and perhaps land a job.
LinkedIn Tips for Job Seekers
Though LinkedIn is the only popular social site specifically designed to help employers and employees connect, job seekers seem to avoid LinkedIn in favor of more pleasurable social media. Only about 36 percent of job hunters bother to scan LinkedIn. However, despite its smaller field — roughly a fifth of Facebook’s users — LinkedIn is by far the best-liked social media tool for recruiters, with 94 percent scouring profiles for information, Forbes says.
Though it may not be as fun, LinkedIn is incredibly rewarding. Here are my best LinkedIn tips:
- Put your best face forward. Research shows that attractiveness is a major factor in earning interviews (and jobs) so the quality and content of your photo definitely matters.
- Understand the importance of keywords. Recruiters find your profile by searching for terms, so the more frequently (and naturally) you use your target job’s terms, the better your chances.
- Be human. It is easy in a professional setting (like LinkedIn) to appear cold and lifeless, so you should inject personality into your profile without becoming unprofessional.
Instagram isn’t a useful tool for every job seeker, but those looking for work in the visual arts can’t ignore the social media site’s usefulness. For example, The Muse tells of Douglas Friedman, a photographer, who was able to secure a much-desired position at an advertising agency because of the personality he demonstrated on his Instagram account, and Hannah Perinne Mode, a graphic designer, who secured a creative director position for her Instagram’s curated look.
People are automatically more attracted to images than text, and demonstrating your talent through beautiful pictures can help anyone get hired. Here’s how:
- Be smart with hashtags. Tags are really the only way strangers can find appropriate images, which means linking your pictures with applicable hashtag descriptors is key. You should also stay abreast of hashtag trends and use them to gain popularity on the site.
- Investigate employers’ pages. Pictures say quite a bit about an employer’s culture, and you can find out if you are a good fit by studying the people and places featured on different employers’ profiles.
- Interact often. Instagram allows liking and commenting like other social sites, and engagement with a company’s profile will make you familiar and much more desirable as an employee.