I have plenty of friends who are job hunting at the moment, and by all accounts it’s a pretty tough market just now so I thought it would be helpful to put together a post to show you how you can use social media to aid your job hunt. Now if you’re not hunting right now, don’t take your leave. Oh no. I’d encourage you to read on because we’re all perpetual job hunters (except me, I love my job) and you never know in this market of liquidations and redundancies when you might suddenly be in search of a new opportunity. A little bit of forward planning, ‘just in case’ will put you ahead of the game.
So here goes…
Have clear goals
This is my constant mantra. Whether you’re setting up a twitter account for your pet gerbil or you’re making your life plan, you need to know what your aims are. They need to be clear and measurable because if you don’t know what you’re aiming for, chances are you won’t get there. If you don’t have any career goals then it’s time to get some fast, but I think that’s fodder for another post.
So before you can use the wonderful world of social media to effortlessly catapult you into the job of your dreams (maybe..) you need to take some preventative action to make sure it’s not your downfall. All those drunken pictures from your best mate’s stag night when he was (half) dressed as a rhino and you got friendly with the ladies… make sure they’re not public. Clean up your profiles, whack up the privacy settings on anything you wouldn’t want a prospective boss to see and use your common sense to make some basic changes that might make the difference between your CV being tossed or not. Most employers WILL check out your social media presence to see if they’re going to be taking on a liability or a megastar. The least you can do is make sure you’re not obviously the former.
Build your brand
So you’ve cleaned your Facebook up a bit. What next? Well it’s time to think about how you’re planning to sell yourself. By now you’ve got some clear career aspirations which should mean you have an idea about the types of role you’ll be (hopefully) interviewing for. Who do you need to be to be the perfect fit for those roles? It’s time to get serious about your personal brand – work out who you need to be, and make sure that’s not too far removed from the ‘real’ you, then do some work to create a uniform online presence that fits the niche you think you need to carve. Ensure that whichever social network your prospective boss visits, they consistently see the same you, and that it’s one that fits with the industry and the type of role you’re after.
Become an authority in your field (or at least be consistent)
One way to stick your head above the parapet amongst a pile of 83 CVs for a single position, is to make sure that you’re an authority in your field. That sounds rather tricky and a little ambitious really doesn’t it? Well, don’t worry, it’s not as bad as it sounds. What I’m talking about is generating consistently good content on your particular area of specialism and sharing that content. Even if you’re writing a very niche blog with a tiny readership, the day your prospective employer visits your blog and finds you’ve written 83 posts on the subject area, they’ll realise that you clearly have a depth of knowledge and are dedicated to the field. That says a lot even if your only reader is your Mum. Even better is if you’ve managed to develop a relevant following on social networks such as Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest who are reading, responding to and sharing your blog posts.
Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are my favourite places for networking. You need to know who you’re looking to connect with, or at least what type of person, then it’s just about hunting them out and connecting with them. Of course, you’re not going to approach them with “@CEOofCoolCompany I’d love a job, I’m a real expert in my field, whaddya reckon?” but instead you’re going to play it cool, read their tweets or blog posts and respond. Get to know them a little bit and you’ll find that the next step feels natural at the right time. Getting chatting to a few influential people in your field can also work wonders when you do come to interview as most industries are relatively small worlds and you’ll often find that a little bit of name dropping (as long as those names have become genuine contacts) will act as social lubricant, helping your prospective employer realise that you know all the movers and shakers in your sector and providing common acquaintances that give you some fertile common ground for the all-important small talk that can clinch the job for you.
Look for jobs via social media
Of course, you can use social media plain and simply to look for jobs. Write a blog post about your skills and experiences and the type of roles you’re looking for and ask people to share it. Reach out to your networks and ask them if they know of any relevant roles, and do some searching on LinkedIn which is a goldmine of job opportunities.
Update your profiles to help bring job offers in
If you’re openly job hunting, make it clear on all of your social media profiles. Don’t make yourself look desperate but make it clear that you’re always ‘interested to hear about exciting new opportunities’ or similar. The biggest player here is LinkedIn. Give your LinkedIn profile some serious love. Ensure you’ve selected all your relevant specialisms and that your profile is full of all the right keywords that would bring a prospective employer on the hunt in. Keep your profile up to date and be sure to flag your major achievements and give examples of your expertise. You’ll be surprised how many job offers come to you via LinkedIn once your profile is half decent!
So there you have it. A few ideas to help you on your way. What would you add? Anything you disagree with? Are you job hunting – and are you using social media to aid your search?
I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences. As always every comment you take the time to leave (even if it’s negative) makes me smile from ear to ear.