How #Jobseekers Should Be Using Social Media (But Aren’t)

Social Media Job SeekersLately, I’ve been Tweeting quite a few thoughts on how jobseekers might want to use social media. For the benefit of the YouTern/#InternPro community, here they are… all in one place.


Before you start sending out 140s, do your homework. Identify the relevant Twitter handles for:

  • Target industries and industry associations – like @PRSA if you want to be in public relations
  • Target companies – who do you really want to work for next?
  • Target skillsets – like @Java if you want to be a software developer

Create Twitter lists from each entitled, MyTargetProAssociations; MyTargetEmployers; MyTargetSkills, respectively… and each Twitter account found to one or more of those lists. When the see they’ve been added to a list by you, many will investigate; this is a great way to get onto their radar screens.

From here, go to each Twitter account and start looking at the bios of whom these accounts follow and who follows them. In many instances – especially for the company accounts – you’ll see many of the company’s employees as followers. Make note of these accounts; we’ll get back to them later.

Be sure you download Tweetdeck or Hootsuite; both are pretty good social media clients where you can create columns from your Twitter lists – and thereby “see” what’s taking place in your target associations, companies, and skills…in real-time.

As far as content, each of these provides fodder for tweeting. However, DO NOT become a serial retweeter or favoritist.

When you see a 140 that is interesting, engage the tweeter by adding an opinion or asking a question (example: “I’m not sure what this means to a newbie; can you explain it a bit more? Thank you”). When someone responds back, follow them. If they don’t fall into any of the 3 categories, add them to another list entitled, SmartKindTweeple (and also add this column to Tweetdeck/Hootsuite) – they’ll notice.


With these target companies in-hand, head over to LinkedIn:

  1. Perform an “Advanced People” search
  2. Input the name of a target company in the Company field; select “Current”
  3. In the Title field, enter the name of the function where you want to work; again select “Current”
  4. Run the search then take a look at the search results; depending on what your level is, consider anyone with a title of Manager or above as a potential future boss

Under contact info, check to see if they have a Twitter account (I’ll talk about connecting with them on LinkedIn in a bit). If so, follow them and add them to a new Twitter list entitled, MyFutureBoss (again, also add this column to Tweetdeck/Hootsuite). This is more influencers with whom you’ll actively engage – and they, more often than not, actually get a kick of out this while respecting your social media savviness and confidence.

Okay, now back to connecting with them on LinkedIn…

You want to connect with each of the folks you found while doing your “Advanced People” search. When you do so, send this – or something unique like this – in the invite…

Their First Name –

I hope you don’t find this presumptuous but I’m in a quiet job search; not only have I identified XYZ as a potential employer but also YOU as a potential future boss. While this might appear to be stalkerish, I prefer to think of it as ‘professionally proactive’ and would like to stay in touch. Thanks!

– Your First Name

Twitter contact and good first impression made? Check…
LinkedIn contact and good first impression made? Check…


The smartest thing you can do as a job seeker: chronicle your job search in a blog.

No, blogging isn’t always easy. Blogging takes time as well as the ability to not only ask the Andy Rooney question (“Ever wonder why?”) but to come up with plausible stories that support your point of view.

I disagree with many career experts that advise you want to be seen as a “Subject Matter Expert”; IMO you want to be viewed as entertaining and insightful. If your purpose is to blog to enhance your social media footprint, you’re going to have to address the past, present, and future of the area in which you want to work. It has to be a combination of yes, no, maybe, and I-don’t-know.

When I recruit, I want to see people’s divergent Points-of-Views; suck-ups and egotists are quite frankly boorish and annoying. If you believe a target company’s posturing is off-base, tell them; if they don’t respect your POV and engage you because you hurt their feelings, well, that sure says quite a bit about them, doesn’t it?

Posts about target companies (with links back to their websites); discussions on articles posted by potential hiring managers; your trials and tribulations with your career center, learning and mentoring lessons, and much more, will make for great reading. People will comment, you’ll reply, and people will notice.

Helpful blogging hints: Be sure to carry a notebook with you to write down your random blogging ideas. Also, set up your blog to automatically send new posts to Twitter and LinkedIn. More people, more comments, more attention for you.

Branding Yourself

Whatever you believe your brand is, others will likely read into your social media footprint and think of they feel are important – and you may have missed. My advice: forget about consciously branding yourself; instead, focus on engaging people on tough topics and offer your truthful POVs whether some might find them objectionable or not. It’s like lying – if you can’t be yourself, you WILL get caught up in a lie. Always happens – and if it doesn’t happen during an interview, it’ll happen on the job. Either way, the end result will be unpleasant.


Meh…as the commercialization of Facebook continues it will lose its luster as a social media platform for job search and recruiting. My opinion is to leave Facebook personal. That’s my story… yep, I’m sticking to it.


If you can tell me a story in a 6 second Vine video and you’ll win my recruiting love.

A short and powerful message is very liberating. As for Vimeo versus YouTube – I don’t care; I look for creativity and content. Both are fine; your choice. Know what else you can do with videos? Use them as blog posts. Very cool – and a terrific way (when well done, of course) to distance you from your job seeking competition.

Job search – like recruiting – is a contact sport. For all the press given social media, in recruiting we like to say that the two most important social media tools are the telephone and the handshake.

Believe it.






Steve_Levy_AuthorAbout the Author: Steve Levy is focused on recruiting, career counseling, social media, and organizational development consulting – and has been referred to as “the recruiting industry’s answer to Tom Peters”. Steve is an incurable blogger ( and among many others) and social media participant who is passionate about veteran issues. Steve has been a COI with Armed Forces recruiting for many years, a Navy volunteer “fitness consultant”; his family has a storied history of service to our country.

Steve is a Tau Beta Pi engineer from the University of Vermont (there is no such thing as a former Engineer, Marine or Jesuit) with his graduate degree in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from Hofstra University. Follow Steve on Twitter!



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  • @LevyRecruits- Twitter lists are the key to keeping it all organized! Using Hootsuite is an absolute must for tracking streams!

    While some people may not be as confident in taking a stand on an issue (as you), I absolutely agree that engaging in chatter with the person tweeting is a super way of setting yourself apart!

    Branding is a touchy subject…but can we agree that staying within the realm of expertise you want to be known for is part of the strategy?! Share, comment, contribute to discussions that are professionally relevant and important!

    Anyone can do this, but there are so many lurkers out there on these platforms. Stop watching from the sidelines and participate!

  • I think there’s some conflicting advice here. Don’t consciously brand yourself, but be on social media? Shouldn’t anything you put on social media be done in an intentional, conscious manner? When it comes to social, you should just be yourself, wherever and however that means. Just like in real life. Have a filter and be aware of who is listening. Recruiters need to learn how to navigate the social landscape smarter. If branding turns you off, you probably shouldn’t be recruiting marketers or creatives. Is that fair to say?

    Relationships will always be the most important thing. People first. But I believe social can be used just as powerfully to connect as the telephone – if not moreso, depending on the person and how they prefer to communicate. I’ve lived this as proof. I’ve hired people over instant message. It can happen.

    • Sorry to disappoint Jocelyn but my thoughts are not at all conflicting. Your body of work decides your legacy NOT your opinion of yourself at the beginning. One “joke” about social media are Twitter bios – the number of folks who are experts, SMEs, Ninjas, Gurus, leading providers, etc. far outnumber the reality; it’s no different than companies “branding” themselves as an “employer of choice” when “reviews” by employees (or their turnover/retention numbers) say otherwise.

      So while I agree with you that you should be yourself, I so not agree that you should decide who you want to be before you start being social.

      BTW as far as recruiters needing to learn how to navigate the social landscape, that’s true – but the same can be said for marketers and creatives who have anointed themselves branding experts because the word might be in their job title or job description.

      Don’t tell me, show me.

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