If you’re just getting started building a personal brand and haven’t yet jumped into social media, or if you’re not yet using social media in your job search, it is time to get started.
Because now, more than ever, recruiters rely on social media to round out and expedite their candidate search. With that in mind, here are the five sites you must be on to be competitive in today’s world of work:
LinkedIn is the bread and butter for hiring managers and recruiters. Since it focuses on your professional history, it’s a essentially a live resume. Fill out your profile completely and get quality connections. If you have more than 50 connections, your profile moves up in the LinkedIn algorithm to be on the radar of like-minded people, companies, and most importantly, those companies hiring.
An important step: get recommended! Don’t be afraid to request a recommendation from a former boss. Have those who have worked with you, or even your friends who know how hard you work, endorse you for your skills and expertise. This section is incredibly visible on your profile and shows recruiters that those endorsing you stand behind your work.
Helpful Hint: For your profile pic, don’t use family photos, photos of kids, pets etc. Use the most professional picture you have. Also, for extra credibility: when sending out emails to prospective employers, hotlink your LinkedIn page in your email signature.
While many still view Facebook as a social interaction tool to use exclusively with friends, do not discount its use by recruiters.
First step: set your privacy settings as needed. Even then, never bad-mouth a previous employer or boss. While it’s understandable if you’re enraged of unfair treatment, this potentially could be the catalyst of a larger problem – and you may not get hired because of your poor choices on social media.
Second: assume anything you write can somehow be tracked. CNet writes about a 24-year-old educator, Ashley Payne, who lost her job because she posted a photo of herself holding a beer and a glass of wine. With privacy parameters getting more ambiguous, it’s best to be overly cautious.
Facebook also utilizes a Skype-like video tool that can potentially connect you with recruiters, much like using a live chat service would work. Think of how many points you could score with a tech-savvy recruiter when you say “I have time later at 6pm for a Facebook video chat. Can you do the interview then?” That would show your familiarity not only with Facebook, but also with being interviewed on video.
Helpful Hint: Many users are friends with co-workers on Facebook. I had a colleague at work say to me about a fellow co-worker, “Looks like Josh had a fun weekend based on his Facebook pics.” That same weekend my company had a mandatory work event… and Josh had called in sick. He wasn’t fired at that moment, but that was one of the many strikes against him that led to his termination.
Twitter continues to adapt and grow. You can use Twitter to track topics and trends, follow companies you want to work for, and see discussions around certain job topics. If you want to use Twitter more personally with your friends, create an additional account — one for personal tweets and one for professional — so those you’re connected with professionally won’t see your tweets about nights out with your friends.
Helpful Hint: Remember, never follow a potential boss/colleague unless you are comfortable with them reading your previous tweets. Before my interview with the VP of Marketing at a Fortune 500 company, I followed her on Twitter. By viewing her previous tweets, I was able to garner many talking points that would connect us on a personal and professional level. I also looked at whom she followed.
One of her questions was “Who is your favorite person to follow on Twitter?” I responded with a person I knew she followed and gave good reasons, favorite tweets, funny stories, etc. I could tell she was impressed that we shared a discerning taste in professional figures in social media. After our conversation she said, “I think you would fit in very well here”.
About.me is a beautiful splash page that quickly provides a recruiter with a snap shot of who you are and how you’re connected, socially. Upload a professional picture, create an attention-grabbing headline, write a memorable paragraph on your professional background, and share what social networks you’re on.
Helpful Hint: Assume recruiters will look at every social network you list at your About.me page. If you have a social blog that’s more BuzzFeed than Mashable, don’t list it. Albeit it can be subjective to the sector you work like journalism, marketing, or PR where this may be appropriate.
Blogging: WordPress, Blogger, Tumbler, etc.
Blogs are helpful to recruiters because it gives them an opportunity see different facets of your soft skills and personality, your writing style, creativity and the subjects that interest you. Being a blogger can also prove you have your finger on the pulse of a fast-changing social medium based on intriguing content, quantity of posts and loyal readers.
Using platforms like WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr and others. If you are passionate about a subject, try blogging. If it’s not relevant to your ultimate job search, then you might want to diminish it in your social sharing with a recruiter.
- Helpful Hint: If you’re not dedicated to updating a blog with new content, don’t do it. There is nothing worse than looking at a candidate’s blog that hasn’t featured fresh content in months, as it shows a lack of commitment to a potential employer.
How Recruiters REALLY use Social Media
When I was hiring interns at a glossy lifestyle magazine, I took two minutes to read their resume to make sure they hit the major qualifications. I then spent 10 minutes to peruse their Twitter and Facebook accounts to see what kind of person they were, and if they would fit into the company’s culture.
Bottom line on social media for job seekers: I would much rather hire someone with little experience but with good judgment and discretion, than someone with two years experience who doesn’t know where to draw the line with social media posts.
Be careful. Be discrete. Be smart. And be on these five social media sites!
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Under30Careers!
About the Author: Brianne Bauer has garnered publicity for lifestyle brands, Paramount Pictures, and personalities such as Mariel Hemingway and Cheryl Tiegs. With a background in magazine publishing and corporate PR, she is now a freelance publicist and writer based in Minneapolis. Connect with Bri on Twitter or Linkedin.