The Social Job Hunt: Build your Online Brand and ‘Tweet’ your Way to a Great Career

The recruitment game has changed! It’s no longer about formal resumes or cover letters. Recruiters all over the world are sourcing talent through social media.

The Online Urban Legend Turned REALITY

Did you heard about the Stanford student who got a job at Google via Twitter?  Or what about the guy who bought Google Ads with the names of some top New York advertising executives and ended up landing his dream job?

Are you aware that every Friday thousands of recruiters from all over the world promote candidates to their social networks by using the Twitter hash-tag #HireFriday?

According to the 2010 @Jobvite Social Recruiting Survey, 80% of companies plan to recruit through social networks this year and 58% have successfully recruited through social media already. Even Linkedin claims that two thirds of Fortune 500 companies look for talent through their platform. However, only 30% of candidates disclose their social networking presence to recruiters.

The Private Tree House – No Recruiters Allowed!

For fear of disclosing “too much” information (i.e. drunken photographs) students and job seekers have gradually hidden more of their online profiles from public viewing. While there is a case to be made for keeping personal information and photos private, it’s a mistake to reduce your online presence and visibility completely. The question is not whether it’s appropriate for recruiters to look at your Facebook or Blog – because it’s happening already, but really whether it’s worth managing your personal online brand to improve your employability.

Moreover, many recruiters believe that access to personal information and even photographs make candidates more credible, and allow the recruiter to connect more closely with the candidates true personally.  Therefore, lack of an online presence could potentially make you appear less credible than those job seekers who actually published their personal pictures.

Building your Personal Online Brand

It is estimated that half of all jobs are obtained through referrals, and today more and more of these referrals are coming through online social networks. Thanks to the convergence of offline and online social networking the potential to leverage on one’s connections has never before been so efficient and effective. However, it’s not easy standing out amongst the over 700 million Facebook’ers, Twitter’ers and Linkedin’ers, and ensuring that what recruiters read about you is positive. The most effective means of doing so is to proactively build your personal online brand.

Building your personal online brand can be done in a number of ways, each requiring a different level of involvement and commitment. In the world of social media, many refer to this as the 90-9-1 rule: 90% of people on social networks only act as the audience for published content; they listen and read what is out there and then share that information through offline social networks. The 9% represents the editors: those that “comment”, “like”, “modify” and “re-tweet” the published content. Finally, the 1% represents those that create or influence content. These are the ‘content creators’ who write the blogs, tweets and posts that the other 99% read, share and comment on.

When it comes to building your personal online brand it is advisable to strive and join the 1% of people who are creating the content. By creating content and managing you digital shadow you not only demote the negative or unprofessional information in Google rankings, but you also reveal to recruiters your unique areas of interest, your level of expertise on certain topics, and most importantly you stand our from the crowd.  Joining the 1% and becoming a content creator takes effort, but there are numerous tools and tricks available to facilitate the process

According to @ambermac, author of “Power Friending”, the key to success in building your personal online brand is the ABCs: authenticity, bravery and consistency.

Authenticity: you behave and interact honestly and genuinely, showing that your are in fact a great person worth knowing.  Authenticity is the most important means garnering a large online following.

Bravery: you take on the challenge and put yourself out there. You dare to show the world your thoughts, ideas and opinions by writing a blog, commenting on others content and ‘tweeting’ content you personally find interesting. Most importantly, you do this irregardless of how many ‘followers’ you accumulate.

Consistency: you make a concerted attempt to produce a regular flow of content. This is to ensure that those who do “follow you” are kept engaged and interest in your content production.

Joining the 1% and becoming a content creator takes effort, but there are numerous tools and tricks available to facilitate the process. Here are 8 to help you produce Authentic, Brave and Consistent Content.

Manage your Digital Shadow:  8 Ways to Produce Authentic, Brave and Consistent Content

  1. Reduce the negative: un-tag or remove unflattering pictures of yourself from Facebook and avoid swearing or making discriminating comments in public forums.
  2. Lock-down your personal profile: Instead, create your own Facebook Fan Page for public viewing.
  3. Create your own website:  sites like SquareSpace are a simple and easy way to publish and link to any information you believe is relevant to your professional profile.
  4. Share your great ideas: Start by blogging once a week and write about things you know, like hobbies and school work. If this still seems daunting, get together with some classmates and blog together, or ‘guest blog’ on a friend’s site. Another great option is to publish your academic presentations on SlideShare.
  5. Connect and build your online network: import your email contacts and get connected to not only your strongest social connections, but also to your weakest social ties. According to the Stanford sociologist,  Mark Granovetter, weak ties give you the network you need to find ideas, and all ties, both weak and strong, give you credibility. Having common connections on social media will inevitable help validate you to someone who has never met you before.
  6. Comment, share and “re-tweet” the content of experts: showing you are interested and up-to- date on the latest ideas, concepts and discussions going on in your field is an indication of your proactiveness and desire to learn.
  7. Interact with your future boss: don’t be afraid to connect or send a “tweet” to your future colleagues or boss in an effort to learn more about the company, industry and employment experience. BUT, like real world social networking, you would never ask a complete stranger for a job, and the same applies in the virtual world. .
  8. Be seen on #HireFriday: Every Friday, “tweet” the hash-tag #HireFriday along with a short description of yourself and a link to your online resume or profile. The better your online profile is, the more often you will be “re-tweeted” by recruiters  following this feed.

The Social Media job Search

If you’re not quite ready to go full disclosure on social media, then why not embrace it as a new and faster way to stay up to date on upcoming career opportunities at your favorite employers. Join the 9 – 99% of people who edit and consume great online content.

Top 5 ways to find jobs though social media:

  1. Follow great companies: short list your top 10 ideal employers. “Star” them on Linkedin in, “fan” them on Facebook, “follow” them on Twitter, and subscribe to the company blog.  It’s also worth following 3rd party sites like Entrypark, iHipo or Vault.
  2. Do a People Search: “friend” or “connect” with current or former employees of your targeted companies though professional platforms like Linkedin or Xing. BUT, make sure your profile is 100% complete before you try to connect. You can also do a people search on 123people, pipl, and peek you.
  3. Ask questions: Linkedin’s Q&A sections and sites like Formspring offer an easy way to find answers to your most pressing career related questions. This can even be done anonymously.
  4. Streamline incoming information: use tools like Tweetdeck, Hootsuite or Google Reader to get all your information in one place. You can even set up your own “Twitter Times” (TwitterTim.es) and get your latest job tweets in the form of an e-newspaper – best read on a smartphone or tablet (ipad or Kindle)
  5. Use the power of location: location based social media, like TwitJobSearch or TweetMyJobs, give you location specific job opportunities in a convenient way. Even Foursquare or Gowalla can provide you with valuable location specific career information

There are countless ways you can use social media to build your personal online brand. Whether you use Blogger, Facebook, Twitter, SquareSpace or Linkedin is irrelevant, what matters is that you put yourself out there and are visible when searched for. Social media provides you with limitless opportunities to showcase your personality, interests, experiences, skills and competencies. Most importantly: recruiters want to see the same candidate online, as they do on paper.

Watch this YouTube video to understand a bit more about the logic behind Social Recruiting.


This post was created for the Entrypark International Career Book 2011. Visit entrypark.com for the latest graduate jobs, internships and graduate programs. You can also follow them on Twitter @entrypark, or Facebook.

Happy Reading!

@vanessmeyer

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One Response to The Social Job Hunt: Build your Online Brand and ‘Tweet’ your Way to a Great Career

  1. Pingback: The Social Job Hunt – Part II | SSE 4M

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