From watching Myspace Tom smile in front of his whiteboard, to blocking racist relatives on Facebook, to finding an Instagram filter that mimics the Ektralite camera you had as a kid, social media has become part of our shared human experience. But beyond being a timesink, there’s a practical, professional use for social media. Instead of distracting you from work, you might land your next job through a social media job search.
All the tools you need to market yourself and turn Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Tumblr into powerful search engines for finding work are built into the sites themselves.
So read on as we break down a few quick and easy ways to empower your social media job search…
1. Visibility Check
Looking to put a platform to work for your social media job search? Sprucing up your own profile is the place to start. Any employer you search for and contact online will be looking back at you. Not only your profile on the site you’re contacting them through, but other sites you’re active on as well.
Take a moment to kick the tires on any of your publicly visible accounts—even the ones you set up years ago. If you’ve lost track of your accounts—and even if you haven’t—be sure to google yourself and see what comes up.
Find anything at all that might give a potential employer pause when hiring you? Make sure to delete it from your profile. This can be anything from outdated resume information to pictures or posts that present you in an unprofessional light. On Facebook, for example, click on your own profile. Then find the three dots in the lower right hand corner of your cover photo. This gives you the option to “View As” and it will show you your public profile. Now, you can audit what the world outside your friend group sees.
This is also your opportunity to link your blog posts about web development projects you’ve been working on. Also, repost articles you’ve been reading that dovetail with the interests of a company that’s hiring. And don’t be shy about casting a wide net. Sure, dedicated career and resume sites like LinkedIn are obviously important places to market yourself professionally. But make sure your Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ accounts are also in on the act.
2. Eye Potential Employers
Remember that a social media job search works both ways. While employers will be examining your social media footprint, you can—and should—be doing the same to them.
Mandy Yoh, Head of Communications at ReviewTrackers, says it’s just as important for employers to use social media to stand out from the pack as it is for employees. “Our tech team…is one in a thousand tech companies in Chicago…[so] just having our website isn’t enough to attract new team members,” Yoh says. “It’s incredibly important for us to have candidates see our social channels and have the ability to immerse themselves in our [company] right away.”
With this in mind, narrow down a list of five to ten companies where you would like to work. Start following them on Twitter and Instagram and see how they’re presenting themselves through their social channels. You’ll glean critical information about the personalities of these companies. You’ll also learn their values, what kind of employees they’re looking to hire. Bonus: you’ll learn if their current employees are happy there. With all this information in hand, you can then tailor your social media presence to gel with company-specific interests.
3. Relationship Status: It’s Not Complicated
For every person on your social media feed who threatens to rage-quit the platform in favor of spending more time with “real people,” think of people that social media has brought into your life in a positive way. Acquaintances who’ve become friends and old friends you’d lost contact. And, of course, people you haven’t actually met in person but who you’ve connected with online. Now think about what this means when it comes to a social media job search.
Personal connections and relationships will always give you a leg up on getting hired. By searching out and participating in relevant groups (especially on LinkedIn, Facebook, Tumblr, or industry-specific sites like Behance or Dribbble), you can meet people in the tech field, share coding ideas and tips on the best ways to freelance and work remotely, and maybe even be the first to know about employment opportunities. It’s a small world—particularly when it comes to hiring—and the more people you know in the industry, the better chances you have of landing a job, so make sure you’re active and meeting as many new people on tech-related social media groups as you can.
4. Follow That Trend
Yes, the idea of trending on Twitter is sometimes overblown. But social media trends have a direct benefit when you’re looking for work. By keeping tabs on trending topics relevant to tech, you’ll add to your vocabulary and repertoire of topical tech issues. And you’ll have something industry-relevant to talk about in your next job interview. This is a handy tool to have both during interviews and when networking and looking for new gigs.
In addition to overall trends, make sure you keep a close eye on the specific tech companies. Also, track potential employers you follow on social media. See what kind of patterns come up internally and across industries.
Is there a coding language that’s all the rage right now? Is there a new tech hitting the market that people can’t stop buzzing about? Do different employers have conflicting views on a certain hot topic? Having this kind of data front-loaded catapults you from “faceless resume” to “future colleague” in your social media job search.
Hashtags on sites like Instagram and Twitter aren’t just snarky bookends to add to a witty post. They actually have a practical function. By following hashtags you can quickly and efficiently search for content (like job listings) grouped around those keywords. And you can also flag your own content with hashtags to make it easier for employers to find you.
A simple way to supercharge your social media job search is to use the free web service Hashtagify. Hashtagify lets you search Twitter hashtags by subject. So when you type “tech jobs” into the search field you’ll get the result #techjobs. They also provide the top ten hashtags related to #techjobs. Another bonus: a sidebar ticker of recent #techjob tweets (many will be job listings). Also use Hashtagify to see what hashtags are relevant to use in your own job seeking tweets.
6. Stay in Touch
Social media has made direct contact easier than it was in the pre-Friendster dark ages. Yes, you can sometimes get a retweet from your favorite celebrity. But—more importantly for your employment prospects—you also have a direct line to potential employers.
If you’re trying to contact an employer directly, LinkedIn accounts are a lot easier to find than email addresses. And it’s generally not considered overbearing to try and connect on a platform like LinkedIn that’s meant for networking. This includes direct messages.
Use caution with this approach on more personal sites like Facebook and Instagram, though.
For this post, we’d like to thank our friends at Levo.