In my last two postings about Engaging in Your Job search, I provided a few recommendations regarding how to start your job search by clarifying your goals, values and where you want to go, and assessing your capabilities, competencies and development needs. Last week I provided high level information regarding your resume. Today, my hope is to provide a few nuggets about how to use Social Media as another tool for your job search toolkit.
I’ve been coaching people for about 10-years and I have found the three things that most of my clients are anxious about are Social Media, Networking and Negotiating. Today my focus is regarding Social Media, the other two will be covered in future posts. Social media is fairly new (for those that have been in the workforce for 15 years or more). LinkedIn was founded in November 2002, Facebook in February, 2004, YouTube in February, 2005 and Twitter in May 2006
Is Social Media necessary for a job search?
Yes, and No – it all depends on what type of job your seeking. However, your Social Media imprint is vital (meaning, what you have posted on various sites might influence an employer’s decision whether to hire or not)
If your searching or a position such as a food server, barista, cashier, etc. Social Media doesn’t play a big part in your job search. However, it does play a major part for most other career types.
While there are many Social Media sites, I’m going to focus on primarily two: LinkedIn and Twitter.
LinkedIn – Is widely used by job seekers, recruiters, and those that just want to network professionally. LinkedIn is not Facebook or a dating site (I had to say it). Setting up your LinkedIn Profile is quite easy, and free (you can get a premium account for a small fee). Simply follow the prompts to set up your profile, and feel free to look at other profiles for examples of what you want to say.
NOTE: When you are setting up your profile, I recommend turning off the Notify your network? button that can be found on the right hand margin of your profile. And don’t forget to turn it on again once your profile is complete.
There are thousands of posts about how to write a LinkedIn Profile – simply type sample LinkedIn Profiles into your browser. However, I do have a few recommendations:
For your tagline or headline (just under your name) list what you do, for example: Accountant, Business Analyst, etc. If you do multiple things separate them by the | (just above the return key on your key board) for example: Accountant | Business Analyst. I don’t recommend listing that you are in transition or seeking new opportunities.
Personalize your summary – For example, a Physicist/Patent Agent client of mine starts his summary with “I love science, technology & inventions – and their stories”
Another approach is to tell the reader up front what you have to offer, some do this by bullet points:
Personalize your URL. LinkedIn will provide you with a URL – you have the option to personalize it. Do this by hovering over the assigned URL, click on the wheel
and it will take you to a page titled “public profile” the upper right margin you will see
click on the pencil and personalize your URL
Okay, you have your profile written, now what? LinkedIn is all about its search engines. It will send you recommended people to connect with based on company names and other institutions that you’ve attended. Also, invite those that you want to include in your professional network. You are the one that gets to define your professional network. Some accept invitations from everyone who asks, some base it on their industry, others on people who have worked at a company they worked at, and others accept invitations only from people they know – how you determine your network in 100% up to you.
Since LinkedIn is all about search engines, the more connections you have, the more searchable you become. Key words are also important for searches. Near the bottom of your profile is a section titled “Skills & Endorsements” and an “Add Skill” bar for you to click on and add your skills. Once you’ve identified your skills, ask for endorsements. The more endorsements you have on your skills, the more searchable you’ll become.
Recruiters use LinkedIn for their searches. If they’ve purchased the special “recruiters seat” package, they can expand their searches based on their search criteria. They put in their criteria and the LinkedIn search engine does its thing and sends them profiles that are best matched to the search criteria. You may have heard of a co-worker commenting that a recruiter from X company reached out to them about a job, and they’re not even looking. Their profile was sent to the recruiter based on the search criteria the recruiter set up.
You can search for jobs on LinkedIn – simply click on the “Jobs” tab at the top of the page and set your search criteria. Based on what you set up, LinkedIn will also send you job postings. If the job posting has the name of the job poster – see how you might be connected and reach out to that person. If nothing else to let her/him know that you’re interested in the position and that you’ve applied via LinkedIn or from their web-site.
At the top of your home page, you will see if people have viewed your profile. Check it out to see who is viewing your profile. If you are not connected, but would like to be – send an invitation. If you are connected, send a simple message thanking them for viewing your profile.
And, last, but most importantly – use LinkedIn! Click on the home page and post relevant information regarding your industry (this is where Twitter can help), like other people’s posts, join some of the relevant groups and participate in conversations. The more you use LinkedIn the more searchable you become.
What I have outlined is just a very small nugget of all the wonderful things LinkedIn has to offer. My recommendation is once you get in to LinkedIn, explore and experience it.
Twitter – I’m going to start out by saying that I love Twitter, so much that I have two accounts. My professional account @Avail_CC and my personal account. I have my professional account linked to my LinkedIn account, so everything I post on LinkedIn is also posted on my Twitter. I also have it linked to my professional Facebook Account. Basically Twitter is a news feed. Twitter, like LinkedIn and Facebook is free. With Twitter you can follow whoever and whatever you’d like.
Twitter is getting your message out in very succinctly – 140 characters or less. It’s hard to do this at first, but after a while, you’ll come to appreciate it.
The key to Twitter is the hashtags or # (I know; it’s the number or pound sign too). For example, if you’re posting something about SAP, simply post #SAP and your post will appear with all the other SAP posts. You can also search for specific topics, for example, I’ll search for #leadership and will directed to the leadership postings. I’ll find one or two, and if a link to an article or blog is included, I’ll open that link, read it and if I find it worthy, I’ll use the LinkedIn icon, post it on LinkedIn – that will also post to my Twitter and Facebook. The # can also be used to find employment. You can typically follow professional conferences on twitter by using a # (you can typically find the # on the conference website) Recruiters also use the same # recruit people from these conferences. I have a technology recruiter friend who uses the conference # to announce job openings, people respond and he does immediate phone screens and starts the hiring process.
There are other Social Media tools that can be used for your job search, YouTube is helpful if you have something to present (great for trainers, sales professions, etc.), Instagram is helpful if you’re in the design world – marketing, culinary – use it as your digital portfolio.
I have only scanned the surface of how Social Media can help you in your job search. My recommendation is to go out and explore it and find the right venue for you and your search.
My next post will be about developing your marketing plan and networking.