Social recruiting is at an all-time high. In 2011, 89 percent of U.S. companies used social networks to recruit employees, up from 83 percent in 2010. No matter what industry you’re looking to work in, it’s clear your social footprint matters to future employers.
There are plenty of articles that discuss how social media can hurt your job search, but I’m more interested in discussing how you can use the powers of social media for good. We’re living in a digital age, which means every industry—from investment banking to entertainment—is using social media and looking to see how employees are using these sites, too.
Here are five ways to show you’re social media-savvy and a serious job candidate.
A big myth about Pinterest is that it’s mainly used by women who pin pictures of cute babies and tasty recipes. That may have been the case in Pinterest’s early days, but today, that’s hardly true. For writers, designers, photographers, or anyone looking to show off their creative abilities, Pinterest is a great place to display work samples. Create a board and use it as a portfolio. Don’t forget to put your resume in there, too!
Looking for inspiration? Check out these resumes on Pinterest.
If you think you don’t have anything creative to share, not so fast. During a job screening, employers aren’t just interested in your resume. They want to know more about you, which means personal interests too. Create boards around your favorite travel destinations or a bucket list board of places you’d like to go. Displaying a little personality on Pinterest will show employers you’re fun and that you have interests other than work.
A few weeks ago, I read an op-ed piece where the author argued that QR codes are on the way out, but many commenters disagreed. No matter what your take on QR codes is, they are still used frequently on business cards and resumes.
Putting one on a resume might be something people in creative fields should consider, but I’ve seen people in a variety of industries use QR codes on business cards. Call it curiosity (I’m the Nancy Drew type who enjoys a good mystery), but if I were handed a business card adorned with a QR code, I’d want to find out what it linked to.
It’s important that job seekers are incredibly careful with Twitter. One bad tweet can cripple your chances of landing a job faster than a round of flip cup. One recruiter told me how a job candidate tweeted about how much she hates work and what a bore her job is. She then tried to defend herself by calling it an isolated incident, but the damage had already been done. Isolated incident or not, no employer wants to read that you’re badmouthing a job.
Okay, okay. I said I’d be focusing on the positive, so how can Twitter come to your aid?
Twitter is a great place to talk about your interests. As a job seeker, you should be building your personal brand. If you’re interested in sports journalism, start tweeting live updates of sports games. If you want to be a life coach or career expert, tweet about inspirational stories and career tips. Whatever you’re passionate about, use Twitter to talk about it and connect with other interested parties. Not only will you start building your brand, but you’ll start building a following as well.
You don’t have to be a writer to be a blogger. At this point, the hardest thing about blogging is finding a name no one else in the world has claimed yet. UGH. So frustrating. Anyway, a blog can lead to a lot of attention and a lot of work opportunities. Take the blog, Cupcakes and Cashmere for example. This blogger started off posting pictures of her favorite clothing items and writing small snippets of her daily activities, and it eventually landed her millions of devoted followers, design jobs, and a book deal.
So where should you start? Set up an account on a preferred blogging platform like WordPress, Blogger, or Tumblr. Like I said, the hardest part is coming up with a URL address that isn’t already taken, but once you come up with a crafty name, the rest is history. Make sure to post regularly in the beginning.
For a case of writers block, take a look at this infographic:
Two words: Facebook timeline. This is a new feature and one that can make you stand out if you put some thought into it. Use your pictures to tell a story and to catch an employer’s eye. To get an idea of how others are customizing their cover photos, take a look at these examples.
About the Author: Julie Feinerman is an editor at WetFeet. WetFeet provides career advice through our magazine, insider guide series, and website (WetFeet.com). Our mission is to equip job seekers with the advice, research, and inspiration to plan and achieve a successful career. For more information, visit WetFeet.com.