#WorkingSocial for Job Seekers: Using Social Media to Look for Work

Social media has become an essential tool for job seekers. Whether you are using social media to look for a job, optimizing your social media profiles for the job search, or using social media in the workplace, there are rules and laws that apply. Be sure to stay up to date on how to effectively use social media, as well as how employers can legally use it to make hiring and firing decisions. Here are some tips for using social media to look for work:

Google Yourself. Conduct a personal audit of your online presence. Search yourself on Google to see who you are online. If there are negative search results, manage them by shutting down damaging references, managing your results through sites like brandyourself.com or reputation.com, or simply increase positive posts to drive down the negative ones. Put a Google alert out on your name so you are notified any time you are mentioned on the Internet.

Get LinkedIn: The New Online Resume. Linkedin is a must if you are looking for a professional level job. According to a 2014 Jobvite survey, 94 percent of all recruiters are on Linkedin. Nearly 80 percent of all employers research job seekers on the Internet before inviting them into an interview. Here’s what the pros have to say. As Peter Daisyme at Online SearchEngine Journal puts it LinkedIn is safer for your career, meaning you won’t have to worry about someone tagging you in an embarrassing photo or status during a drunken stupor. And according to Susan Joyce of the Huffington Post, if employers don’t find something good and solid through an online search that agrees with the resume – and a LinkedIn Profile is perfect for this — you won’t be invited in for an interview.

Identify the Best Platform for You. After you complete your Linkedin profile, consider the others. Each of the major social media platforms – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, blogs and Google+ – serve a different purpose and are best used for specific goals.

  • Facebook: More about broadening your connections, but employers look to Facebook to see if your offline behavior matches your professional persona.
  • Blog: Use this to talk about your expertise; talk about what you know.
  • Twitter is constant and fast paced. Connectors, thought leaders and movers and shakers are on Twitter.
  • Use Google+ to enhance your Google search results.
  • Instagram: If you have a highly visual product or talent, this is the place to show it.

Like and Follow Companies You Want to Work For. Keep current on industry trends, their company culture and when they are hiring. Learn their challenges. Suggest solutions, but don’t go overboard. Do not friend managers or hiring recruiters.

Find and Join Talent Communities. Use social media accounts to search for people with similar talents and interests as yourself. LinkedIn has groups for nearly every profession. Join groups in your career field and make connections. Start conversations and share relevant and timely information. Talent communities are a great way to get noticed by hiring managers.

Remember Your Family and Friends. It’s no surprise most experts say to tap into your network when looking for a job. It’s about who you know and in turn, who they know and so on. Most of us reach out to our professional networks, but what about letting your family and close friends know you are looking for work via social media? Send an initial email to let everyone know you’re in the market for a new job and then provide periodic updates on interviews to keep your family and friends posted on your progress.

Be Searchable. Be Smart. Be Connected. Make sure you use your LinkedIn profile to connect with as many of your professional contacts as possible. The more connections you have, the larger your network. And as you customize your resume for specific jobs, remember to include words from the job description. Why? Applicant tracking systems allow employers to digitally search résumés for specific keywords. Some systems look for keyword frequency. Others look for keywords based on specific locations or industries. Learn more about the importance of keywords at http://www.job-hunt.org/resumekeywords.shtml.

Your Personal Brand in Today’s Online World. A brand means being meaningful, relevant and present in the marketplace. As a job seeker, the marketplace is people who are looking to hire talent. Everything you do on social media creates a perception about you. Use social media as a brand amplifier, to amplify your skills. Five things social media will amplify about you:

  • Your Talents: Use social media to showcase what you are good at and what makes you stand out from others in your field. Whether it’s writing, photography or welding, social media allows you to show what you can do in your field. In addition to technical skills, social media will also reflect your soft skills – talent beyond the skill set.
  • Technology is everything now. Show you know how to use it. To struggle is to be irrelevant. Knowing how to use technology, including social media and looking good doing it makes a huge difference in the job marketplace. You can’t fake it. You need to learn it.
  • Communication Abilities: Social media is like a conversation in short form. Watch your grammar, spelling and punctuation. No typos.
  • Your Authenticity: Don’t pretend to be something you’re not. Be yourself, but be careful about what you say and do. Show depth by going beyond the resume. Employers can tell if you are comfortable in your own skin.
  • Image: The first 10 seconds someone meets you (or visits your social media account) makes a difference in how you are perceived. Make sure the first thing employers see is professional. No selfies. What people see is what they assume you are.

An Innovator or a Disruptor: Which Are You? To be an innovator in social media conversations, talk about your values, your expertise, other influencers, your industry and your community. Don’t be “that guy” (a disruptor) on social media. Disruptors are fake, self-promoters, desperate, stupid and intrusive. As a general rule, if there is something you wouldn’t do or say offline, don’t do or say it online.

Manage Your Online Reputation. Balance your personal and professional profiles by keeping them separate. Social media is a brand amplifier. Yes, it will amplify your skill sets and good qualities, but it will also amplify negative qualities. Stay positive on social media and steer away from negative posts that can damage your online reputation. And remember, be consistent throughout all your social media platforms. Use social media management programs such as Hootsuite or Tweetdeck to manage your platforms and monitor your consistency. Think about how you are perceived by others. Don’t be stupid; bad behavior on social media will be noticed. Before you hit submit on any comment think about what your audience will think of the post, and what it can say about you.

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Information for this article was compiled from multiple sources, including Idaho Department of Labor workshops on using social media to look for work with speakers Lisa McGrath, new media attorney, and Justin Foster, social media business consultant.

Follow the Idaho Department of Labor on Twitter @Idahojob and Facebook Idaho Department of Labor. You also can join the agency’s LinkedIn group.