Hire Me! Using Social Media To Appeal to Employers
With a sour economy looming over many of our heads, job hunting in 2011 can seem like a job in and of itself. Fierce job markets mean that candidates need to be equally as fierce when it comes to their competition, and social media can make all the difference in the world during the job hunt. This is especially true of PR, marketing, and advertising job seekers, simply because not having a presence on social media in those industries usually does more harm than good. So, how do you wield your Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and the like into deal-makers?
- Add flair to your biography by highlighting both personal and professional details. Personally, I’ve had great success including that I’m a PR Director and a cheesesteak enthusiast on my Twitter. It makes me seem like more than a talking head.
- Follow the companies you’re targeting. Staying current on what the companies and their employees are up to via Twitter will make your interview conversation all the more natural; your Twitter feed will deliver talking points to you.
- Network with local professionals in your industry by following and engaging them. Just because John Doe’s company isn’t hiring at the moment doesn’t mean they won’t open up opportunities in the future.
- Post links about industry trends and stories. As a general rule, I only post links to things I’ve personally read. I want to ensure the quality of my feed, and be able to strike up a conversation with my followers.
- Tag your posts with industry hashtags for exposure.
- Be what I call a “tweet monster.” In other words, there is no need to tweet every single movement you’re making throughout the day. Not only will your potential employers find it obnoxious, but it’ll make them wonder how serious and qualified you truly are.
- Post messages after a night out. It’s not abnormal for people to go to the bar on a Friday night, but tweeting broken speech about how many shots you took positions you to be a Jersey Shore cast member, not a professional employee.
- Choose a boss-friendly profile picture. I know plenty of people in my network whose profile pictures would make a recruiter cringe. Don’t be one of them. At the moment, I’m using the same picture across all of my networks for cohesion, but it’s not a requirement. Adding different (but appropriate) shots works just as well.
- Classify people with lists, and be conscious of who you’re sharing with. I have lists on my Facebook based on where I know people from geographically, as well as who is strictly a professional contact. There’s an option under every status you post to customize who can view it, and my recommendation would be to use it. However, treat the Internet like a public place. If you wouldn’t want a boss to see it, keep it to yourself.
- Change your last name to your middle name. Nine times out of ten, employers still find you, and the trick won’t impress them. Plus, most of the people I’ve seen do this forget to change their email addresses. If your Facebook contact information is the same as what you use to send out your resume, you’re not evading any search results.
- Post anything assuming that your privacy settings are so well established that nobody will find it. You never know who your friends know, meaning your updates might not be as private as you think.
- Complete your profile by adding your experience, skills, honors, awards, and education. Don’t forget to expand on why you’re such a catch in your biography section. Get a little creative and give recruiters and employers a reason to keep looking.
- Ask for recommendations. There’s nothing better than a candidate whose LinkedIn offers testimonials of stellar performance up front.
- Join regional and industry-related groups. Participate in discussions, and comb them for job opportunities.
- Include a link to your profile in your email signature, inviting users to connect with you.
- Use a personal photo for your userpic. Save the wedding photograph for Facebook, and upload a head shot of just you instead.
- Lie about your experience. People from all sorts of companies are on LinkedIn, and your dishonesty will get caught.
- Don’t post anything you’d be embarrassed having your boss read on Tumblr.
- Do look into building a website. If you can’t swing it, About.me is a great place to set up some web real estate.
- Do link to your social networking profiles. I always include my Facebook, because I know I have nothing to hide from anyone. Plus, it shows that as a social media professional, I have a presence on a variety of networks.
- Don’t use account names that are left over from high school days. Generation Y, this one’s for us in particular. It’s time to retire “xoMusicBabyox” and get something a little more grown-up.
- Do connect with companies on as many networks as possible – not just Twitter, as mentioned above. Let these companies become familiar with your name (in a good way).
- Don’t give up! Adding a social media presence, or stepping up your current game may not yield instant results. However, it will give you more channels to directly interact with business figures and companies that you hope to work for. The more two-way communication you can generate, the better!