If you’re a smart job searcher, you have probably researched everything there is to know about resumes, cover letters, interviews, and all of the other job-searching basics.
But you might not be as familiar with the newest technique for searching for jobs: social media.
Sure, most people know how to use social media in their personal lives, but it actually has a lot of power to make (or break) your job search. Studies have shown that 92% of companies are using social media for hiring—and that three out of four hiring managers will check out a candidate’s social profiles.
So how can you tap into the power of social media (and avoid the pitfalls) to make searching for jobs easier? We’ve gathered all the tips you need to use every platform out there to your advantage.
General Social Media Job Search Tips
1. Get Everything Squeaky Clean
We hope you know this one already, but we have to mention it. Make sure any public information on your various profile is super clean. This doesn’t just mean profanities and party pics—you should also consider removing articles that are politically divisive or could be considered offensive, posts that are super random, long rants on a certain topic, and the like.
2. Don’t Have an Account on Everything
Being “active on social media” doesn’t mean opening an account on every platform possible. Quite the opposite in fact! It’s much better to have a well-crafted, up-to-date account on one or two platforms than to have a bunch of accounts that haven’t been touched in years. Every job seeker should have a LinkedIn account, and a Facebook or Twitter to show that you’re a real person doesn’t hurt. Beyond that, consider what’s really important for your industry.
3. Use Your Real Name
It can be tempting to pick a punchy nickname or handle when making your profiles but, as much as possible, use your real name. This both looks more professional and means that people will be able to find your profiles when they search for your name. If you have a common name or often go by a nickname, at least choose a consistent name you’ll use across platforms, and try to have your real name somewhere on each account.
4. Keep Your Image Professional and Consistent
You should have a clear, friendly, recent, and appropriately professional image to use across all platforms. Not sure what “appropriately professional” means? Take a look around at what the people in your industry are wearing to see how competent, influential, and friendly your photo makes you look.
5. Get Your Personal Branding Down
In addition to a consistent name and consistent photo, you should have a consistent brand across your social platforms. You want people to know who you are, what you do, and where you’re going. We could write (and, yes, have written!) entire articles about personal branding. If you don’t know how to define yours yet, this is a good place to start.
6. Use Your Social Accounts as Jumping Off Points
A social media account should never live in isolation—it should link off to somewhere that people can learn more about you. On all your social media accounts, make sure to include a link to the projects you’re working on from current jobs or past jobs, your personal website, your blog, or anywhere else someone could learn more about you.
7. Bring All Your Accounts Together in One Place
Conversely, make sure there’s a central hub where you can collect all of your various presences around the web. A personal website or landing page is a great option, or you could simply make sure to link to them all from your LinkedIn profile. Doing this will mean that whenever hiring managers or potential contacts search for you on social media for potential jobs, they can easily find all the profiles you want them to see.
8. And Put Them on Your Job Search Materials
Your social media profiles are now a great representation of who you are and where you’re going, so make sure they’re out there! Put your Twitter handle on your resume, mention your industry-specific network in your cover letter, and tell people where to find you on your business card or your email signature. If you’ve done the work to make them good and professional, don’t be shy about sharing them!
9. Don’t Use it for Professional Communications
While it’s okay to promote your professional social media profiles in your materials when searching for jobs, don’t use it for job-search related communications. In other words, you shouldn’t be badgering companies you’re applying to on Facebook or following up with recruiters after an interview on Twitter.
10. Use Scheduling Tools to Stay on Top of Things
Worried you won’t remember to update your social profiles regularly? There are plenty of tools out there that will allow you to schedule, get ahead, share things directly from your browser, and hardly have to think about keeping an active social presence.
In part 2 we will be talking about LinkedIn Tips, so come back and look next week.