Over the past several years, social media websites like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Meetup have become an increasingly important part of an effective job search.
In this module, you'll learn how to use social media sites to expand your network and build new connections. We'll also talk about different strategies for using Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites in your job search.
Watch the video below to learn about using social media in your job search.
This lesson will focus on general strategies for using different social media websites in your job search. We'll talk more about using LinkedIn, the most popular career networking site, in our LinkedIn Basics module.
Why use social media?
Approximately 15 percent of U.S. job seekers in 2011 found their current position through social networking sites, and that number is only expected to rise. Social media websites have made it easier than ever to shareinformation and build new connections, which are essential components of any successful job search.
As more and more job seekers are turning to these sites to network and find new opportunities, so too are employers. Approximately 40 percent of employers currently use social media sites to recruit or screen potential employees, so maintaining an active onlinepresence will be especially important when searching for a job.
As social media networks continue to expand, there's almost no limit to how you can incorporate them into your job search. Review the techniques below to learn general strategies for using social media in your job search:
In the past, keeping up with many different connections could be a challenging task, but social networking sites have greatly simplified the process. And while it's easier than ever to organize your contacts, you should also use these resources to reachout and forge newconnections.
Whenever you make a new connection, it's important to follow up and stay in touch. Even if you only have the opportunity to meet someone briefly in person, connecting with this person on a social media site allows you to continue the conversation and develop a relationship. Try sending a quickmessage to some of your contacts every few weeks to establish a regular pattern of communication.
It's important to remember that you're not the only person looking to make newconnections online. As more and more employers turn to social media for recruiting, you'll need to make sure you have a visible online presence. It should be easy for employers to find and connect with you across a variety of social networks.
Don't be content simply following the conversation. Work hard to become a known voice in different communities. Start meaningful discussions on your social media networks, participate in online forums, or share your knowledge on a question-and-answer site like Quora or StackExchange.
Maintain your online reputation
Whenever you apply for a job, there's a good chance your employer will try to learn more about you through social media. Remember to practice discretion when sharing online. Someone might be less likely to hire you if he or she finds embarrassing photos or negative comments about your current employer.
Most social networks also allow you to control who sees your posts and updates, so be careful to share personal or sensitive information with your close friends rather than make all of your posts public. Taking the time to modify your privacysettings will also prevent you from sharing photos and personal information with potential employers.
With more than 1 billion members, Facebook is the largest social network worldwide. As more employers begin to use social media to screen and recruit applicants, developing a professional Facebook profile has become an essential part of any job search. Facebook also offers several ways to reach out to your network and connect with different employers.
Review the techniques below to learn how to use Facebook effectively when searching for a job:
Choose your privacy settings Make sure your profile is publicly available for employers to view, but limit access to your personal photos and status updates. With the introduction of Facebook's Timeline, you also have the option to limit access to posts you've made in the past. Visit our Facebook tutorial to learn how to choose your Basic Privacy Settings.
Modifying past Facebook activity
Create a professional profile Your Facebook profile is the first thing a potential employer will see on Facebook. Make sure to use a professional profilepicture (a simple headshot is usually best), and include details about your work and education history. While your profile should make a professional impression, employers will also visit your Facebook profile to get a sense of your personality—it's all about sharing the right balance of personal and professional information. Try including a meaningful cover photo to help express your personality.
A professional Facebook profile
Use your network If you're looking for a new position, don't be afraid to talk about your search in a status update—you never know who might have information about a recent opening. The more specific you can be about what you want, the greater the chance that your contacts will be able to help. At the same time, be careful not to overwhelm your networks with constant updates about your job search. A few carefullycomposed posts will probably be more effective than a daily summary.
Posting a job status update
Like potential employers Try connecting with different companies by liking them on Facebook. You'll be able to keep up with the latest trends, gain insight into the workplace culture of different employers, and even see posts about current job openings. Establishing a relationship with an employer can give you a distinct advantage over other job seekers. Don't be afraid to comment on a post or send a message to get the conversation started.
Liking a company page on Facebook
Use Facebook apps Rather than use other sites for professional networking, more people are starting to use Facebook apps such as BranchOut and BeKnown, which are a great way to separate your personal and professional networks on Facebook. These apps harness the power of your existing Facebook friends to help you connect with other job seekers and potential employers. You'll also be able to create an online resume, ask for recommendations, and even search for jobpostings.
The BranchOut app on Facebook
If you are currently employed, be careful not to advertise your job search too openly on Facebook. Try sending private messages to friends or sending an update to a Facebook group rather than post a public status update.
While most people may think of Twitter as a place to share personal statusupdates or find the latest news and trends, the site has also become a powerful resource for connecting employers and job seekers. The rapid pace of Twitter ensures that you'll find the latest information about job postings and employers.
Review the techniques below to learn more about using Twitter in your job search:
Create a professional profile Just like Facebook (and any other social media site), having a strong profile will help you make a good impression. Be sure to use a professional profilephoto and write a memorable bio, which should include a short summary of your skills and interests. You might also consider including a custom background, your location, and a link to a personal website, portfolio, or online resume. To keep your personal and professional information separate, you can also create a professional Twitter account in addition to your personal one. Just make sure you set your personal account to disallow finding by email, so that potential employers don't see it by mistake.
A professional Twitter profile
Follow potential employers Twitter allows you to interact with different companies directly. Try following some potential employers to keep up with the latest news, information, and even job postings. You can also take advantage of the #Discovertab to find influential users in your field, which gives you an opportunity to develop relationships. For example, tweeting directly at a hiring manager might be a great way to stand out from other candidates.
Following a company on Twitter
Search for jobs You can use Twitter's powerful search feature to find tweets about new jobs in your field. Some companies advertise jobs on Twitter well before the listing might reach a company website or online job board, which can give you an advantage over other job seekers—the sooner you can apply to an open position, the better.
Searching for jobs on Twitter
Additional Twitter strategies
To make job searching on Twitter even easier, sign up for a jobalert from TweetMyJobs. Just enter the type of job you're looking for, and you'll receive automatic updates about new job postings on Twitter.
Trying following a jobboard like @jobshouts, @indeed, or @simplyhired. You'll be the first to see a variety of new job postings and get helpful advice for your job search.
If you're having a difficult time deciding whotofollow, you can browse a wider variety of influential Twitter users by category on Twellow.
Other social media sites
Social media is much more than just Twitter and Facebook. Learn more below about how you might use other social media platforms to connect with employers. If you find that you like using several different platforms, you may want to use an app like TweetDeck or HootSuite to manage your time. These apps allow you to scheduleposts across multiple social networks, which can save you time and effort.
Meetup is an increasingly popular social networking website that connects people with similar interests and helps them organize local meetings offline. While Meetup was originally created for personal networking, more people are beginning to use to the site for professional networking.
Try joining a group in your area to meet other professionals working in your field. You can also visit Meetup's Job Seekers page, which finds Meetup groups that focus exclusively on connecting employers and job seekers.
The Meetup Job Seekers page
YouTube and video sharing
Video sharing sites like YouTube and Vimeo allow you to connect with potential employers like never before. You can upload a video resume, which is a short, personal introduction that gives you an opportunity to showcase your skills, talents, and personality for an employer. You might even consider creating your own YouTube Channel to share your portfolio.
Another great way to connect with potential employers is to create your own blog. You'll be able to share your opinions, start discussions with other people in your field, demonstrate your knowledge, and establish yourself as an expert. Visit a blog service like Blogger or WordPress, and check out our Blog Basics tutorial to get started.
A blog created with WordPress
While Pinterest might not have a reputation for professional networking, more people are using the site to connect with potential employers and share their personal portfolio with Pinterest's growing audience. Some have also used Pinterest to develop a brand identity by pinning items that are related to their businesses. For example, a hobby store might create a pinboard of interesting craft projects.
Try following pins from some of your favorite companies or creating a pinboard of your own projects. You might also check out Can Pinterest Help Your Job Search? from Mashable to learn more about using Pinterest for job hunting.
Creating a brand identity on Pinterest
Although Google+ remains less popular than other social networks, it does have one distinct advantage for job seekers: Google+ makes it easy to choose who you share with, whether you're posting an update or uploading a photo. By grouping your contacts into different circles—such as friends, family, acquaintances, or professional connections—you'll be able to keep your personal and professional networks separate.