SeekingSuccess.com’s Guide to

Social Media and Your Job Search

 

Job searching has changed significantly in recent years.  Long gone are the days of paper resumes and faxing.  Nearly every aspect of your passive or active job search is done online.  Sure, you will continue to network face-to-face and attend interviews in person. However, almost everything else is done electronically.  If you are not engaged in the online aspects of your job search, including social media, you may be missing opportunities.

 

Getting Started in Social Media

If you are not yet active in social media, today is a great day to get active.   Get started with the sites that will give you the most impact for your effort.  If you take on too much initially, you might find it overwhelming.  LinkedIn.com is essential for serious professionals.  The other social media elements to consider adding to you mix are Twitter and a blog.  These are starters.  You can build more over time.

 

Clean Up Your Social Media

For those already engaged in social media, take time to clean-up your presence before you launch your job search. You can’t control everything online. For example, you may have friends that post photos of you.  Those photos become searchable when those photos are tagged with your name.  When you post comments on others’ pages and on some public sites, those comments are not always yours to manage.

 

You can clean up what is on your social media pages and websites. Remove any content that is insulting, distasteful, or inflammatory. Consider that your political opinion (or joke) may be seen as incendiary to some. Also, be careful with photos that show you in a less than flattering or unprofessional manner.  Skip the photos with alcohol, drugs, or tobacco.  If you want to show off your tan, be selective about what you post.

 

Photo/Avatar

Do you like my profile photo is akin to a female asking a significant other, “Do I look fat in these jeans?”   In other words, it is tough to get honest advice.  However, we all need honest advice about profile photos because the importance of that impression is huge.  An avatar is a digital photo or graphic image inserted on your social media profile page. It helps the virtual world connect with you. Follow these quick tips for creating a winning avatar.

  • Take a headshot (face only) so the photo is large enough for the viewer to see your face clearly.If you are a tiny little spec in a long-range or half-body shot, they viewer does not make a strong connection.

  • Smile pleasantly and look into the camera.You can tilt your head, but look toward the camera. A photo with eyes looking away exhibits the body language of avoidance.

  • Choose a clean, uncluttered background that does not distract from your face. Examples of nice background include a solid color backdrop, outdoor shrubbery, or a well-organized bookshelf.

  • There are shots to avoid.Never use a bathroom mirror selfie, a laptop camera snapshot, a staged photo with props (such as a phone to your ear), vacation photos, vanity photos with sports cars or boats, and photos with other people (this includes children, celebrities, and significant others).

  • The photo must be of you. So, that means not Garfield or any other cartoon or celebrity.

  • Lastly, omitting the photo is not an option.

 

Fresh Content

Immediately after someone becomes aware of you, they will search for you online. Up pops your Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn pages.  Behind those cobwebs lies your page.  You had great intentions of finishing that profile and when you have time, you plan to join some group and post some interesting articles.  Meanwhile, your social media profile pages are stale.   

 

Keep your profiles active and allow your profiles to evolve over time. At a minimum, focus on LinkedIn.com.  Hop on LinkedIn and read posts, like posts, comment on posts, share interesting articles, and reach out to connect to new contacts.  Keep your profile fresh, updating your profile every four to six months, and updating your photo every year or two. 

 

How Much Is Too Much?  Too Little?

You may also have experienced over-posters in your network.  Pace yourself because posting and messaging too frequently is annoying to your connections. If you never post or “like” others’ posts, you are disconnected. For many, engaging in social media daily is reasonable.  Others may find that challenging. Set a goal of interacting at least once a week.  Perhaps post an interesting, industry-relevant article every couple of weeks.  Go on weekly and simply “like” the things that you like

 

LinkedIn Engagement Strategy

Endorse and Recommend

As you view your connections profile pages, take a moment to endorse them for skills for which you can vouch.  If you have observed a connection closely, you may elect to write a recommendation.  For connections with whom you are not very close, you may choose to “like” a post they have shared on the feed.  When you sincerely endorse, recommend, and like others, they are likely to reciprocate.

 

Manage Your Endorsements

If you receive endorsements for your high-value skills, it will add credibility to your profile.  If your endorser has worked directly with you, the endorsement is more credible. If you have received an endorsement that you feel may not represent you well, you can elect to hide it.  Simply go in to edit mode on your LinkedIn profile and scroll down to Skills & Endorsements section and click the edit icon. Click the Manage Endorsements link. Click on a skill in the left column to reveal the connections who endorsed you for that skill. Uncheck the box next to any people whose endorsements you want to hide.  That endorsement will not be removed, but it will be hidden from view.

 

Join Groups

Joining groups is the heart of networking.  Via groups, you can connect with those with whom you share an interest, occupation, or industry.  Look at the top horizontal menu bar on LinkedIn.  Click on “Groups” and then from the drop down menu, select “Groups you May Like.”  This is a starting place for you to identify groups that may be a match based on the data on your profile. Read discussions, like comments, and add comments.  Post links to articles.  Inactivity is the equivalent of a membership in name only. 

 

Leverage LinkedIn for Research & Job Searching

LinkedIn holds significant, meaningful data.  Using LinkedIn, one can study an industry, a company, a group of processionals, or skills spread across a field.  Additionally, the movement within companies and industries can be studied.  This data can also be used to identify trends for particular occupations, industries, or employers.

 

Use company search to research companies of interest.  In addition to key executives, one can view backgrounds, including skills and education, of all current employees. Some companies include profiles and videos of featured employees to give you more of a feel for the company culture.

 

You may search open jobs on LinkedIn by visiting the “Jobs” tab in the top menu bar. Conduct a search based on specific criteria.  You can use the advance search tools. After a job is identified, research a company further by visiting the company page, and search within your network of employees associated with a particular company. 

 

If you are an active LinkedIn member with a complete profile, you may notice the personalized, job-related news, ads, and recommendations presented to you while on LinkedIn.  This targeted information is delivered based on your particular skills, education, employers, and job titles. Don’t overlook this information as a source for researching companies and occupations. This is data mined specifically for each user.  It is usually a good match.

 

Twitter Basics

If you have not jumped aboard Twitter, now is the time. Follow these tips and get ready to tweet. 

 

Establish Your Presence:  Write a concise bio in synch with your career goal. Upload your headshot. Link to your website, blog, and LinkedIn page. Search for people to follow. Follow clever and innovative people in your industry and beyond.  Those you follow are a reflection of your values, interest, and brand.  Try Twellow.com to get inspiration for people to follow in particular fields.

 

Follow Established Norms: Reply to tweets, answer questions, offer references to informative resources, and share personal expertise. Ask smart questions sparingly to gain insight from others.  Avoid repetitive requests via direct message to the same person or outright requests for a job interview. Never use foul language, insults, negative comments about your employer, and confidential information.

 

Tweet Wisely: Think before tweeting. You only have a few words to be interesting, intelligent, timely, and relevant. Learn and appropriately use the lingo and codes on Twitter, such as #, @and RT.  Study “Twitter Basics” to guide you. Always discuss private information offline. Search for employers tweeting job openings or job fairs.

 

Join the Blog Community

How do you get started? What are the key elements in a blogging strategy?  The first rule of blogging is to write about your area of expertise.  Done properly, a blog gives you credibility in your given field. People turn to blogs to read about news, industry happening, opportunities, and trends. Additionally readers want to know the blogger’s opinions on new and trends. Blogging does not require strong technical skills, consider sites such as blogger.com or wix.com for an easy to maintain blog site. If you feel you are not at the level of authority in your chosen field, consider aggregating articles and posts from other blogs. Most bloggers would love to be promoted on a fellow blogger’s site.  Another option is to participate in discussions on popular news and industry blogs.

 

In Conclusion

If you are not engaged in career-related social media, you might as well be invisible when job searching.  Having an incomplete, inactive, or unprofessional social media presence is just as bad as not having a presence at all.  So, follow these simple tips to actively engage in social media.