Thanks to the continuing evolution of social media, today’s job market is a much different landscape from that of just a few years ago. Everyone from recent college graduates to employees seeking career advancement to those who find themselves out of work can benefit by networking with prospective employers via social media channels.
If You’re Not Already, Get LinkedIn
A 2012 report by the social recruiting site, Bullhorn Reach, contained some eye-opening statistics for job seekers: Among recruiters using social networks in the recruitment process, 98% use LinkedIn and 48% use only LinkedIn.
For job seekers, there are several important steps to take in order to ensure they leverage the full power of this social networking channel.
- A LinkedIn profile essentially acts like a resume, providing prospective employers with detailed information about education and experience. For this reason, it is imperative that the profile is complete and up to date.
- Having contacts is important; using those contacts is essential. Make as many connections as possible because you never know which one will help you land your next job. Use LinkedIn’s company pages to find connections you may already have at a particular company. Also, be willing to help your connections should they need a referral from you.
- Use LinkedIn to get to the right Human Resources employee. The ideal scenario is to know someone within a company. When that isn’t the case, however, you can use LinkedIn to make a contact within that company and ask that individual to present your resume to the appropriate HR representative.
Meet and Tweet
According to the Bullhorn Reach report, 42% of recruiters use Twitter. Meanwhile, a 2012 survey by the social recruitment site TweetMyJobs found that 45% of companies planned to spend more on recruiting on Twitter and other social networks in the coming year.
There are several guidelines job seekers should consider in utilizing Twitter, including:
- Job seekers should use their real name on their Twitter account. A silly name like @FriendlyBear is fine for networking with friends, but when it comes time to look for a job, it’s vital that candidates present as professional a profile as possible.
Also, use the 160 characters in the Twitter bio wisely. Job seekers should include the type of work they are seeking and where they reside. And shy or not, candidates must include a recent and professional-looking photo. Profiles without photos tend to get overlooked.
- Participating in Twitter chats is a great way to network with professional groups and experts. Don’t jump into the conversation in a half-hearted manner, but rather add something of value and show you are an expert in your field. This is when networking magic can happen.
- Twitter is a great tool to keep tabs on companies for which you are interested in working. Often, HR reps may tweet about job openings. If you’re a follower, you’ll be one of the first in line.
Give Facebook Some Face Time
For many people, Facebook may simply be a channel for finding old classmates or posting photos from a recent vacation. But this social media juggernaut is also being used to find prospective employees; the Bullhorn Reach report found that one-third of recruiters use Facebook.
Facebook makes it possible to make a personal connection with someone inside a company. Job seekers can determine who the hiring manager is and check to see whether any of their “friends” are friends, or friends of friends, of that individual. If so, they can take advantage of this “in” and make a personal connection with the manager.
Google+ is a Plus for Job Seekers
Google+ is the new kid on the social media block, but it is gaining momentum in the job search arena. Its “Circles” feature the potential of using only one platform in which to tailor messages to various audiences. Google+ users can group contacts according to the type of relationship they have with each individual, whether it’s family, friend or co-worker. For example, job search-related content can be restricted to professional contacts.
In many regards, the job market remains a challenging environment. That means it’s imperative that job seekers use every tool at their disposal to separate themselves from the crowd and attract the attention of employers. Tapping into the burgeoning popularity and growing clout of social media networks can be a difference-maker for candidates.
How do you use social media to connect with employers? Let us know what sites you use in the comments.
About the Author: This guest post was provided by Jessica Edmondson who contributes on Online Business Degrees for the University Alliance, a division of Bisk Education, Inc.