Gone are the days when the only way to find a job is by looking at classified ads in daily newspapers. Today, with the rise of social media, job hunting has become interactive and creative, so long as you know how to use it to its greatest advantage.
Social media platforms don’t just connect long lost friends; they are not just for sharing memes or for those who love to chat. Social media can also bring potential employers and applicants together in one easy-to-use platform. Social media takes the principals of user-generated content and self-constructed identities from a social to a professional realm.
The main social media platforms to use in job hunting are LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. All platforms involve users creating the content present on the site and shaping how they appear to viewers. These sites operate as interactive, multi-dimensional resumes that encompass a person as a whole, or at least how job-seeker intend to be perceived.
Making use of LinkedIn
LinkedIn is a business-oriented social networking site that was launched in May 2003. Unlike Twitter and Facebook, LinkedIn is mainly used for professional networking. As at the first quarter of this year, the site has 225 million registered users in more than 200 countries and territories.
Using LinkedIn will allow you to connect with millions of employers, both in your region and globally. However, you begin by connecting with the people that you know, first. Basically, it works like this: You register for a free account and connect with those people that you genuinely know. You’ll then have access to the public profiles of anyone else on the site. If you see an employer or a company that is connected to one of your personal contacts, you can ask them to link you to that company or employer. Employers can often base their judgements on a user’s connections.
How to get started in LinkedIn
The most important part of LinkedIn is your profile. It is your task to make it attention-grabbing to attract potential employers. Aside from some personal details, your profile should also contain information about your professional experience and skill-set. It should answer employers’ primary question: “Why should we hire you?”
To get as much attention as possible, ensure that your profile is detailed and complete. Remember, this is your online resume. Put everything that your prospective employers want to know before they call you for an interview. This should contain your qualifications, relevant job experiences, educational background, and most importantly, those things that set you apart from the crowd. What makes LinkedIn different to a traditional resume is that the information you include in your profile serves as links to companies you’ve worked for, influential people you admire, circles you operate in, references from professional connections, and thereby creating a multi-dimensional portal employers can delve into to find out what type of person you are.
Your headshot needs to show the professional aspect of you; include a photo that shows you are capable, professional, and well-presented. Make your profile public so anyone in the world can easily find it. Lastly, customise your URL to make it easier to share. If your name is available, use it.
LinkedIn: How to search for your dream job
Thousands of companies from around the globe are using LinkedIn Corporate Solutions. Human resource managers and recruiters use the site to post new job vacancies and to source potential candidates for employment.
Searching for a job in LinkedIn is straight-forward; just search the keyword and country relevant to your search. You may then either request a referral from a personal contact to the hiring manager or apply directly.
Important: Most employers do prefer applicants who have LinkedIn recommendations.
Twitter is undoubtedly one of the most used social media platforms. Every day, billions of tweets are being sent over this network. In your job hunt, you can use Twitter mainly for connections.
Unlike with LinkedIn, Twitter allows you to connect with people that you don’t know personally. If you find an ideal connection, you simply ‘follow’ them and you’ll get access to their profile. This means that you’ll be able to read, respond to, and share their ‘tweets’.
In your job hunt, follow those people and companies who are more likely to be a great source of information. Thousands of companies are using Twitter to post job openings, including job boards and recruitment agencies.
You can also use Twitter to know more about a company before you submit your application. Let’s say you found a promising job opening online but it does not contain enough information. Simply ask questions on Twitter and you could get answers from people who know the company or who work there. Twitter users are prolific information sharers.
Although Facebook is mainly used to connect with friends and acquaintances, it is a pervasive tool to project your self-constructed identity to the world. You can shape how you are perceived through the pictures you share, the comments you post, and the content you ‘like’. If you do choose to use Facebook socially, adapt your privacy settings so that no potential employer can see your less-professional content, as it is common practice now to search someone’s profile before meeting.
If you use social media to its greatest advantage it can be a powerful tool in your job hunt. Think cleverly about the content you post, how you wish to be publicly perceived, and make considered choices in your network connections.