Over the last few years social media has become a significant presence in our lives. Most of us use it on a daily basis to chat to friends and share information and photographs.
But as well as being an excellent platform for sharing pictures of cats, it can also be a powerful tool for job hunting.
The recent explosion of social networking sites and apps makes it easier than ever to connect to potential employers and find job opportunities.
Websites like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook can vastly widen your search and allow you to communicate with recruiters in innovative new ways.
If you want to sidestep overcrowded jobs websites and connect directly with employers, these networks may be the way forward. We'll show you how to use social media to boost your job hunt.
Make your LinkedIn profile work for you
A recent survey by Norrie Johnston Recruitment showed that 46% of UK organisations use LinkedIn to check out job candidates’ profiles.
With over 20 million UK users and over 400 million global users, it’s the world’s biggest professional networking site.
With statistics like these, it’s easy to see why it’s well worth your while to have an impressive, up-to-date LinkedIn profile.
To make sure your profile is working in your favour, you need to make it professional, relevant and visible. Update it regularly with new skills, include details that demonstrate your expertise and make use of important industry buzzwords.
Your profile is your opportunity to show how you’ve benefitted the organisations you’ve previously worked for. This will enable recruiters to understand the positive impact you could bring to their organisation.
Include an appropriate photo on your profile. Research shows that this helps to build trust online and may make recruiters more receptive. Use a professional-looking photo that shows your face clearly, and avoid holiday snaps or photos from casual nights out.
Link up with LinkedIn
Once you’ve perfected your profile, start building your network by connecting with colleagues, recruiters and thought leaders in your industry.
Send connection invitations to as many relevant people as you can – the more connections you have, the more exposure you’ll get and the more opportunities you’ll open yourself up to.
When reaching out to people, write a personalised message rather than using the automated one. Use your desired contact’s name, be polite and friendly and explain how the connection will benefit them.
This will help you to stand out from your peers and start to build a rapport that could lead to a job opportunity.
Build authority in the LinkedIn community
Make yourself visible in your industry by actively engaging with the LinkedIn community. Do this by joining relevant groups and taking part in discussions around your area of expertise.
Share and comment on relevant articles, or even write some yourself. By doing this you will demonstrate your passion and knowledge and establish yourself as an expert in your field.
Tweet your way to the top
Whilst not strictly a professional networking site, Twitter can still be a great tool for connecting with professionals and looking for job opportunities.
If you’re going to use Twitter in your job search, make sure you keep your activities strictly professional. Consider setting up a separate ‘job hunt’ account including your job title and a link to your LinkedIn profile.
Follow anybody who may benefit your job search: industry leaders, companies you’d like to work for and jobs websites are a good place to start.
Your Twitter feed will soon become a goldmine of advice and resources, providing you with regular updates on job opportunities and industry trends.
Retweet and comment on relevant content to make your own profile more visible and provide value to your followers.
Make Facebook employer-friendly
It may not be as useful for job hunting as LinkedIn or Twitter, but many companies do advertise job openings on their Facebook pages – so keep an eye out.
It’s also important to ensure your Facebook profile is suitable for viewing by potential employers. Most recruiters check candidates’ Facebook profiles before hiring, so make sure yours doesn’t let you down.
If necessary, change your privacy settings to prevent non-friends from seeing your photos and content.
Social media: a powerful tool for job hunting
If used properly, social media can provide valuable methods for job hunting and expose you to many more opportunities than traditional methods ever could. Incorporate some of these strategies into your job hunt, and you should soon start to see positive results.
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