Most of us think of social media as a great tool for advertising our skills and networking with other professionals.
Yes, your online profiles certainly need to promote your experience to potential employers. However, the social media job search doesn’t end there. Corporate profiles also enable you to learn about a company as you apply for jobs and prepare for job interviews.
The social media job search also means social media research!
Research to Make Your Application Stand Out
Some job ads provide minimal information, perhaps too minimal.
How to address your cover letter, for example. The ad may say “submit cover letter and resume to J. Sims”. If the company’s Web site does not allow you to determine whether J. Sims is a man or a woman, or what their decision making power may be, searching LinkedIn with the company and last name often provides the answer.
Using the hiring manager’s first name when it is not provided makes your cover letter look sharper and more personal than other applicants’. This may also be a test; get an A+ by showing the hiring manager that you did your homework—that you researched the company.
Research the Recruiter
Let’s say that you already have a job interview scheduled. Obviously, you will use the company’s Web site and any other available information to research the business. Don’t stop there, however; in today’s competitive job market, many employers have the luxury of comparing equally qualified candidates to see who offers the strongest personality fit for their organization. You have the same advantage… and can research the recruiters.
Start by looking up the LinkedIn profiles of the employees who will be interviewing you. If the interviewer doesn’t have a LinkedIn profile, chances are they’re less technologically savvy and will be impressed with any knowledge of social media you mention in your interview.
If the interviewer does have a profile, looking at his or her educational background, previous employers, and professional groups can offer you some insight into common ground you may have. Knowing that you share a passion for college football or organic cooking can help you steer your interview conversation in a positive direction… and help you stand out!
Research the Company Culture
Many companies and organizations have created Facebook profiles; becoming a fan takes just one click. Again, don’t stop there!
Searching for the profile of a potential employer can offer you significant insight into the corporate culture.
- How do they communicate with their customers?
- What corporate traits seem to be the most important?
- Are the employees in the photos wearing suits or business casual?
- Does the page show employees performing community service outside the office?
Researching the company’s communication style, character – even their events – can inform you about professional development or team-building activities in which you may be expected to participate.
Research shows that most employers now use social networking sites to screen potential candidates. Remember, that as a job seeker, you can also use these sites to research future employers, acquire a sense of their corporate culture, and effectively market yourself as a personality fit with the organization.
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Great Resumes Fast!
About the Author: A nationally recognized resume expert, Jessica Hernandez is President/CEO of Great Resumes Fast and a former human resources manager and recruiter. With more than ten years’ experience directing hiring practices for Fortune 500 companies, she has developed innovative and proven resume development, and personal branding strategies to generate powerful results for clients.
As a global resume authority and trusted media source, Jessica has been featured and quoted on CNN.com, Monster.com, Job Talk America radio, SmartBrief, International Business Times, and more. Jessica has her Bachelor of Science degree in Communications/Public Relations from the University of North Florida. Contact Jessica on Twitter!
Image courtesy of geniusrecruiter.com. Thank you!