While the job market is greatly improved, there is another source of anxiety for job seekers: the sheer number of applicants. Add in the fact that recruiters and employers are also mining social media for passive candidates, and the task of finding work can seem daunting. To achieve job hunting success, then, it is more important than ever to create a great digital first impression.
Of course, just having accounts on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and other sites isn’t enough. So we asked members of the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) this question:
To create a good digital first impression, and to set themselves apart from the competition, how can job seekers best leverage social media?
Based on their been-there-done-that experience, here are some of their most helpful answers…
1. Understand Your Digital Footprint
For applicants with generic names, it can be challenging for organizations to find much information online about them. But for individuals who have unique names, understanding digital footprints is important. To bury some flaws in an online environment, individuals can leverage different social platforms to flood the results with the information they want companies as their digital first impression.
2. Be Genuine and Professional
Your social media profiles are the digital reflection of you. Your employers will look to learn as much as they can before investing their time and money. Ensure that what they see when they look is professional and polished, yet genuine. It’s easy to see when someone has over-polished their online presence to the point of being antiseptic. They have to want to spend a lot of their time with you.
3. Utilize LinkedIn and Complete Your Profile
LinkedIn is widely used by recruiters, human resources and interviewers to get more information about their interviewee. We highly suggest you provide as much information on your profile as possible. Be sure to share articles you have written, case studies, awards and honors. Also include recommendations, groups you join, CEOs and influencers you follow, languages you speak and more.
4. Follow and Engage with Your Potential Employer
A subtle way to stand out on social is to follow and engage with the company where you’re applying for employment. Like their pages. Comment on their posts. Share your favorite posts. Not only is this a simple way to become familiar with company content, but it’s also a great way to identify areas of improvement and to have talking points in an interview.
5. Hire an Expert
Getting hired can be competitive, so if you really want to stand out, hire an expert to manage your networks prior to interviewing. An expert can ensure that you are using the right profiles for your profession. Since every career is different, they can also make sure that your brand is consistent across all of them. They can also help you remove any posts that could harm your chances of being hired.
6. Demonstrate Passion
One thing that overlaps with every successful hire I’ve had is that they’re passionate about what they do. This is usually reflected in their social media profiles, as well. For example, a great marketer is likely a member of industry-related Facebook or LinkedIn groups. They also share marketing articles or has a Medium account to share their own views and thoughts.
7. Show Your Skills
Make your social media accounts public and show off. Show your skills by posting write-ups, videos and photos to demonstrate how talented you are in writing, video-editing and photography. Make sure your posts are related to the job you’re applying to. Fact: companies check social media accounts and, yes, we also check what you post. Make sure that you always make sense and behave sensibly on every post.
8. Create, Share and Be Relevant
Most recruiters start with social networks to connect with and meet potential candidates. We highly advise people to get ahead and control the narrative about themselves and their personal brand on social media through a positive digital first impression. Create and share content that interests you and is relevant to the career you want to build. Making this a habit will ensure that you stand out among all of the noise.
9. Focus on Twitter and LinkedIn
On Twitter and LinkedIn, follow the brands you want to work with and the people who might be leading these brands. Quote their tweets with valuable comments and relevant handles. You can also understand the focus of these brands and highlight those aspects in your cover letter. Share or comment on brands’ and people’s statuses. Also, ask relevant questions that help you engage with them.
10. Don’t Overdo It
There’s nothing worse than someone who tries too hard on social media platforms. I don’t care if someone interacts with 50 influencers on Twitter or posts every day to LinkedIn forums. I want someone on my team who is judicious in their interactions and uses their time well. If someone is on social media all day, that means they aren’t allotting their time well and lack prioritization skills.
11. Build a Consistent Brand Across Social Platforms
To create a uniform digital first impression, make sure your Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and all other social profiles have the same look and feel. If possible, try and secure the same username on all platforms. In addition, use the same colors, profile photo and branding. This will help the authority and branding of your social presence across all platforms.
Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched Business Collective. This free virtual mentorship program helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.