Most people today are on social media; they view it as an essential way of staying in touch with friends, keeping abreast of trends and staying connected. But what many people fail to recognise is that social media is also a valuable tool that can help you professionally.
So, let’s look at how you can use social media to stand out from the crowd, position yourself as a strong candidate, and ultimately land you your next job.
Do I Have To…?
It might well be that the first thing you’re thinking is… ”So what?” Is your social media profile relevant, and will it make a difference when you’re in the job hunt process?
The short answer – yes! Whether you are actively using your social profiles to aid your job hunt or not; more and more often, hiring managers and employers will be checking you out on your social channels. Your profile on these channels says more than your CV – it talks about who you are, your values, interests, and whether you’re someone they want to pursue. That border between the personal and professional is fuzzy when it comes to social media – many of the hiring managers I have personally interviewed on this wouldn’t even look at an applicant as a first round candidate unless they see, and like, their LinkedIn profile first.
Your Personal Brand
So, we’ve established, it doesn’t make any difference whether you’re an active social media candidate or not. Your social presence is starting a conversation with potential employers, and they will be making decisions and judgements based on what they find. That’s why you need to start by making sure that your social profile is representing your personal brand in the way that you want.
Start by being clear on the type of role you want to land and then tailor the content of your LinkedIn profile to clearly and succinctly communicate your relevant experience and the value that you would bring to such a role.
Also, as much as LinkedIn is the focus for professional networking in Australia with more than five million active accounts, your other profiles need to be consistent – and need to not give any potential employer pause. Make sure you are true to your personal brand and values across all social media channels.
Taking an Active Role
Obviously, there’s more to having your social profile support your hunt for a job than having it passively back you up. You can actually leverage your social profile and connections to lobby on your behalf. But, how do you do it – what are the steps you need to take to make that social profile work for you?
1.Who’s who in the zoo?
Make an effort to pinpoint the consultants and prospective employers that can help you, and that you will need to connect with. A lot of the time, you can identify the people you need to know from reviewing the job adverts for the roles you are interested in and identifying either firms or people frequently mentioned.
Once you have your targets identified, contact the people who are either your second or third level connections on LinkedIn. If you’ve invested in a premium subscription (which, during your search, can give you a real advantage) then you can even reach out through your allocation of InMails. However, regardless, make sure you attach a note to your connection request – and make sure that they get a clear idea of your value. They will want to help you – but they also want to find the best candidate they can, as fast as they can, so again don’t make it hard for them to see that you’re the one they want.
3.Raise your profile
LinkedIn provides you with a platform to position yourself as an expert and thought leader in your field – which in turn, makes you a more attractive candidate. How do you do this? Firstly, get publishing; write and post articles that are relevant to your industry or field. Also join relevant groups and get engaged in the conversations, by responding to posts and articles with thoughtful commentary. Depending on your industry, Facebook groups can also be a great platform for raising your profile and becoming considered one of the leaders in your field.
In today’s social world, we all know the power of an online review. When it comes to the job search, it’s no different – a high volume of diverse, authentic reviews will make you stand out from the crowd. But don’t sit back and hope and wait for them to come, instead reach out to connections to ask for testimonials and endorsements that align with the type of job that you are hoping to land.
Finally, it’s about making sure that you take a coordinated approach to your job hunt. Get your social media profiles polished and use them to connect, network and raise your profile. Beyond that, make sure your CV is aligned with what people will find online. And last but not least, don’t forget the importance of relationships, so when appropriate, take things offline to have phone conversations, coffees and meetings.