We often forget how pervasive social media is. The first thing many of us do when we wake in the morning is check our phones for messages or calls. We then move on to our social media accounts like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube. Social media is so seamlessly integrated into our lives that we rarely notice how many times a day we check our accounts. Statistics show that the average person spends close to 135 minutes on social media every day, and cumulatively, a whopping five years of their lives! That’s a lot!
Given how integral to our lives social media has become, it only makes sense to make it a part of your job search strategy as well. Companies, too, are relying on social media as a tool for hiring talent rather than relying solely on recruiters. This lends to a multi-faceted approach to hiring and means that as a returnee, it’s not just your resume that you need to work on, you also need to address your online presence. It is now common practice for employers to conduct an informal “background check” by scoping out candidate social media profiles before considering the candidate for hire. Interestingly enough, having no online social footprint can negatively impact your job prospects, and head hunters will, in fact, overlook candidates who have underdeveloped social media profiles. This makes your online presence an aspect that should not be overlooked while job hunting.
Here are five tips that will help you effectively utilize social media while job hunting:
Let people know that you’re looking: Reach out to friends on Facebook who might be in a position to help. When you’ve been out of the workforce for a while, it is imperative to maintain those connections. Friends or acquaintances who are currently employed have a finger on the pulse of hiring going on within their groups. In fact, 40% of hires at big corporations come through employee referrals. So, this is as good a time as any to ask for a favor from a friend or other social media connection.
Join Facebook groups and follow company pages: Facebook has scores of groups for professional networking. These groups can be a good place to look for job listings. Look for groups within your larger area, for example “Bay Area Internships and Jobs” is a group that serves the San Francisco Bay Area in California. Membership is usually moderated but it is relatively straightforward to join. Group members will usually post about open jobs as well as networking events. Another channel for job openings is a company’s Facebook page. Right now, there are over 70 million businesses on Facebook, so look up companies in your industry and follow them to gain access to open jobs posted on their pages.
Update your status on LinkedIn: Recruiters comb through LinkedIn looking for candidates who are actively job hunting. In order to show up on a recruiter’s radar, you need to make sure your profile is optimized for the LinkedIn search algorithm. Include keywords from targeted job descriptions and be sure to include them somewhere in your profile assuming they are relevant to your experience. In fact, a vast majority of recruiters use LinkedIn to vet candidates for a job. Periodically update your profile to ensure your skills and experience are up-to-date. Make sure you have a professional looking profile photo. Profiles that have a photo are 11 times more likely to be viewed than those that don’t. Also make sure to turn on the “Open Candidate” feature in LinkedIn to signal to recruiters that you are in the market for a job. This feature can be found in the “Jobs” tab of your toolbar under “Preferences”
Twitter as an unsung hero: Twitter tends to be overlooked when it comes to looking for a job but it can be an effective tool if you know where to look. To begin with, make sure your profile is ready to be viewed by a recruiter or representative from a target company. You should have a professional profile photo, like LinkedIn. Your username should be unique but nothing that would make you appear immature. An example of a good twitter username is @FirstNameLastName. Write a short bio, and make sure, like LinkedIn, to include appropriate keywords. Follow companies that are in your industry, or that are relevant to your job search. Tweet or retweet messages that are relevant to your industry. And finally, use hashtags that will allow you to find job listings such as #JobListing, #JobPosting, #ITJobs etc.
Join Meetup: Meetup is a social media platform that allows you to find other people or groups with similar interests. Once you sign up, you can find groups or meetups based on your location and interests. Meetup is a great place to find other returnees, or a group within your industry. This can help augment your search effort, as networking is just as important to your job hunt as is writing your resume.
In conclusion, if you haven’t been using social media for your job search, its time you added it to your arsenal. A strategy combining the use of different social media platforms with conventional job application channels can have profound impact on your job search success.
(Read our complete Job Search Guide for Women Returning to the Workforce)