Just a couple of generations ago, searching for a job meant waiting for something suitable to show up in the newspaper classifieds. Then came the era of CareerBuilder, Monster.com, and other online job sites. These days, it’s all about social media, especially sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.
If you think social media is only for reconnecting with old friends, posting pictures from your latest jaunt to Hawaii, or tweeting what you had for lunch, think again. Social media has changed the way people look for jobs.
Think about it. What is social media, but a form of networking? And networking has long been considered one of the bastions of a successful job search. It’s always been about who you know. By utilizing social media, you can build upon your existing network to increase your chances of landing a job.
While some employers openly post job opportunities on sites like LinkedIn, recruiters often surreptitiously browse social media sites on the look-out for desirable candidates. That’s why it’s important to present yourself in the best light possible. Even if you are not actively searching for a job, the perfect opportunity may come your way.
Here are some tips for effectively building your personal brand via social media:
- Be Proactive – Don’t just sit back and wait for people to find you. Browse job listings on social media sites and reach out to old friends and colleagues. “Friend” them or ask them to join your network. In the case of LinkedIn, ask former employers, co-workers, and clients to write brief recommendations you can post on your profile page. Do the same for them if asked to return the favor. If someone contacts you, even just to discuss your past experiences, respond promptly and cordially. They may be feeling you out as a potential employee.
- Be Professional – Eliminate any photos that show you in an embarrassing or compromising position. (Yes, that includes the picture of you getting a lap dance at your Uncle Ernie’s bachelor party.) Only incorporate formal shots that depict you as a dignified professional ready to take on any challenge that comes your way. And by all means, keep your photo updated. If your profile photo shows you in a leisure suit or outrageous ‘80s hair and shoulder pads, it won’t reflect well on you – or on your job search.
- Be Careful – Don’t blog or Tweet negatively about your current or former employer or co-workers. Remove any inappropriate language or references to questionable hobbies. Watch your spelling and grammar. While abbreviations and short-hand may be the way to go on many social networking sites, recruiters pay attention to the little things.
- Be Open – Don’t be afraid to connect with people you haven’t seen in years or who may seem useless when it comes to helping you find a job. Connecting with them may ultimately get you in touch with a decision-maker who can change your life. You never know, that cheerleader who gave you the brush-off in high school may be in a position to offer you a six-figure job today.
Social media has revolutionized the way people look for jobs. If you have not yet immersed yourself in the world of LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook, there is no time better than the present. If you’re looking for help launching a successful job search, contact Peoplelink today.