Last year I wrote a post entitled ” The Social Job Hunt: Build your online brand and Tweet your way to a great career” which appeared in the 2011 Entrypark International Career Book. This year I would like to take it one step further and show you exactly how to land a job through social and professional online networks. This post appears in the 2012 Entrypark International Career Book.
Here’s a quick re-cap of why social media is great for job search and personal brand building.
Social Recruitment is HUGE!
An astonishing 90% of employers either use, or plan to use, social media for recruiting – that’s a 10% rise over last year – and 63% claim to have successfully hired through social networks. Moreover, after referrals, internal transfers, and direct sourcing, recruiters claim that social networks bring in the highest quality candidates.
Despite the enormous potential and demonstrated success of social recruiting, only 48% of job seekers interact with employers on professional networks (e.g. LinkedIn and Xing), and 29% on social networks (e.g. Facebook or Orkut).
Social Media is Your Canvas
A job application is no longer about an inflated description of past experiences and a laundry list of skills and abilities, it’s about you as a dynamic multidimensional person – your interests, your ambitions, and most importantly, your personal approach to career development and life in general. Use social media as a canvas for painting the best picture of yourself, a picture recruiters can’t help but look at.
In fact, many recruiters are so adept at using social media for recruitment they can spend months, maybe even years, following passive candidates (i.e. those not looking for a job) they believe would be a good fit with the company. By monitoring a candidate’s blog posts, tweets and profile changes, recruiters can customize their approach and come with a job offer so well matched to the candidate’s skills, abilities and personality, they won’t know if they’re being courted for a job or a date.
Tools for success
Whether you’re striving to be a social media content creator or a more skillful social media consumer, here’s a few tools and tricks to help get you started in your social media job hunt. Focusing on two types social media platforms: Professional Networks (e.g. LinkedIn, Xing, Viadeo), and Social Networks (Twitter, Facebook, Orkut).
Research tells us that 66% of job seekers want to connect their professional profile with those of recruiters, and 74% of job seekers want to search for available jobs on professional networks like LinkedIn, Viadeo. and Xing. While it’s clear most job seekers are aware of the benefits of professional networks for job search and personal brand building, how many know how to really leverage these networks to actually land a job? Here’s how:
- Keep your profile up to date: Apparently LinkedIn has predictive algorithms that can tell when someone is looking to move on from their current job – something to do with the way a user starts updating their profile. This is one more reason why you should always keep your profile up to date.
- Get recommendations/references: This can be a tedious task for a young job seeker but it is worth the effort. Recommendations bring you higher in search results, and portray you as a more credible candidate in the eyes of recruiters. If possible, try to get an old boss or colleague to write you a recommendation – often it’s easier to write them one first. If you have no previous work experience, ask your professors or people you do extra curricular activities with – a soccer coach or volunteer group leader, for example. It’s always best to try and get quality recommendations from people more experienced than yourself.
- Use key words: Pay close attention to how you present and express yourself on your profile. Keep your professional summary, list of skills and work experience concise and to the point, using as many key search words as possible. Recruiters use key words to locate and narrow down the candidate pool for a specific position.
- Link to professional content: Improve your appeal by linking out to blogs or articles of professional relevance, as well as other relevant groups you belong to. This is a great way to highlight your interests. Moreover, integrate your other social media activities into your professional profile – Blog, Twitter, personal website, Slideshare, etc.
- Connect and build your online network: Import your email contacts and get connected to classmates, colleagues and professional acquaintances. Having common connections with a recruiter on a professional network will inevitably help validate you, and the more contacts you have in common with a recruiter, the higher you rise in their candidate search. The best way to keep building your professional network is to connect with people immediately after meeting them in real-life (i.e. try to collect as many business cards as possible and introduce yourself through the online network with a message like: “It was great meeting you at the ____ today, let’s keep in touch via LinkedIn”. But remember, timing is critical, if you wait to long the person may not remember you, and therefore may not accept your connection request.
- Follow your target employers: Most professional networks allows users to follow companies. If you really want to work for a particular company, click “follow” and activate the alerts to get notified when someone changes positions, when 1st level connections join the company, or when the company posts new jobs.
Job hunting and personal brand building through social networks (e.g. Twitter, Facebook, Orkut, hi5) is just as useful, and often more fun, than through professional social networks. In fact, today, 20% of job seekers use social networks to find career-related information – that’s an 8% rise over last year. However, although 35% job seekers still feel social networks are an inappropriate platform for career networking, 42% are comfortable with employers contacting them through social networks if they met them in real-life. Here are some quick tricks to help you land a job through social networks like Twitter, Blogger and Facebook:
- Interact with your future boss: don’t be afraid to connect, share, or tweet your potential future boss or colleagues in an effort to learn more about the company, industry and employment experience. Although it’s best to try and be specific with your interaction, something like: “ I read a great article on the ___ industry today that I’d like to share with you, I think it will have major implications for your firm, what do you think?”
- 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 commitment and desire to learn. Make sure to link up all your social networking activities with your professional profile – an insightful tweet or post on a company or industry you’re interested in will have a much more profound effect if it appears on multiple platforms simultaneously.
- 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 professional profile. The better your online profile is, the more often you will be “re-tweeted” by recruiters following this feed.
- Join Groups, Follow Pages and Lists: most employers have created groups or pages on Facebook to engage with job seekers in a fun and interactive way. If you’re interested in a job with Cisco, PWC, Bayer or O2, etc., then you should certainly follow their respective Facebook career pages. Moreover, job boards like Entrypark.com have aggregated the Twitter feeds of some of the best employers. This is a simple way to receive an automated updated of available jobs and career information from some of the best employers. Check out: twitter.com/entrypark/internationalcareers
There are countless ways you can use social media to build your personal online brand and land a great job. Whether you use Xing, Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin is irrelevant, what matters is that you put yourself out there and are visible to recruiters searching for their next great candidate. Social media provides you with limitless opportunities to showcase your personality, skills and competencies. Moreover, it’s a great medium to find jobs and interact with recruiters. The best thing about social media is that it’s a long term investment – someone you engage with today may be the one to give you a job ten years down the road. Your career is boundless, and often its your most casual acquaintance that helps you realize your full potential.
You can watch this presentation for more information.