LinkedIn is not the only social media platform to help you find a job. Twitter and Facebook can also make or break your career prospects.
While many of us use social media on a daily basis to chat with friends and share photographs, it can also be an extremely powerful tool in the pursuit of job opportunities.
If you’re looking for a way to avoid the competition of crowded job websites and connect directly with employers to land interviews, then maybe you should look to social media to make your next career move.
When used properly, sites such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn can open you up to endless opportunities that stretch far beyond the reach of traditional job search methods.
With more than 15 million UK members and nearly 400 million globally, LinkedIn is the largest professional networking site in the world. With the majority of leading recruiters and hiring managers actively searching for staff on LinkedIn every day, it pays to have a strong presence on the site.
Firstly ensure that your profile is professional, impressive and searchable. To do this, regularly update it with new skills, break the text up for easy reading and include lots of industry buzzwords that recruiters will be looking for.
The content of your profile should not only detail your skills but also show the impact you have made at previous employers so that hiring managers can understand the benefit of bringing you on board. Add a suitable photograph to your profile as studies have shown that it helps you to build trust with others online – use a photo that reflects how you would look in the workplace and avoid using photos from casual nights out with friends.
Once your profile is perfected, you need to start building your professional network by connecting with colleagues, recruiters and hiring managers in your industry. The more connections you make, the more opportunities you will open yourself up to. So reach out to as many relevant people as possible.
When making connections, don’t just use the automated connection message though – write a personalised note in order to stand out from the crowd and start building a rapport with the person in question. Address them by name, be polite and explain how connecting with you would benefit them if you want to ensure a positive response.
Become a thought leader in your industry by participating in group discussions and sharing, commenting on or even writing articles about your field. By actively engaging with your industry peers on LinkedIn you will become more visible to others and start to build a reputation as somebody with passion and knowledge in your profession.
Although Twitter is not a professional networking site as such, there are still many ways you can leverage its platform to connect with professionals and find job opportunities. However if you are going to use Twitter for job hunting then remember to keep your activities strictly professional – it’s best to set up a separate job search account and make sure that your profile reflects your professional life by including your job title and even a link to your LinkedIn profile.
Follow anybody who may be relevant to your job search, such as companies you would like to work for, industry influencers and suitable job websites. By doing this your Twitter feed will become a stream of regular advice and resources for your job search, providing you with regular updates on who’s hiring, what skills are needed, what courses are available and what the latest industry trends are.
You can also share and comment on job related content on Twitter to boost your own profile and provide value to your own followers.
Although Facebook still isn’t a core method of finding a job in today’s market, it can be a very easy way to lose one if you’re not careful. You need to make sure that your Facebook wall is either suitable for viewing by potential employers or sufficiently protected by your privacy settings. To block non-friends from seeing the content on your wall, simply go to the privacy section of your account settings.
As a modern jobseeker you now have many tools at your disposal beyond the traditional methods, which can maximise your reach and gain exposure to more opportunities. Try incorporating some of the above social strategies into your own job search and you should quickly start to build some beneficial relationships and see some positive results.
Andrew Fennell is director of CV writing company StandOut CV.
Thanks to The Guardian for allowing icould.com to republish this article. You can view the original version on the Guardian website.
Anna works for computer games company Jagex, “I decided to email one of the recruitment advisors via LinkedIn…two weeks later I got an offer.”