When unemployment rates are at a record high, you need to do everything you can to interest employers in you and your talent if you hope to get a job. CNBC reported that the average American spent six and a half hours per month on social media in 2012. While you can connect with friends and family with social media, you can also look at it as another tool in your job search strategy. If you use your social media accounts wisely, you could find yourself able to make important job connections you couldn’t get through to elsewhere.
You may have heard the warning: Whatever you put online never really goes away. If you are planning to use your social media profiles to job hunt, keep everything —including your posts, videos and photos — professional. Don’t swear or use vulgar language. It’s a good idea even to avoid politics, unless you plan to work in an industry embracing a specific party. Don’t post photos of you drinking; assume even something you post on your private account could make it to the public realm.
For example, you might post thinking you’re posting to the private account when accidentally logged into your public account. A friend with access to your private account may have a falling out with you and post your content publicly. Just stick to the rule of thumb of never posting anything you wouldn’t want potential employers to see.
Join Job Search Groups
Many social media platforms offer the opportunities to join groups, so look for job search groups to join. Other job seekers in these groups can exchange information about job openings and job fairs, and potential employers may join the group to find talent to interview for a position. In addition, look for groups relevant to the industry in which you’re seeking a job. News groups, interest groups and groups dedicated to specific companies are all good options. Keep your activity on these sites professional and do your best to stay engaged.
Hashtags on Twitter and similar keywords on other social media platforms help you connect with people, including potential employers and other job seekers. The hashtag or keyword “#jobsearch” or “job search” will bring up relevant posts of people sharing tips and news about potential job openings. Be especially vigilant when you notice a job-related hashtag or keyword trending. See what everyone else is saying and join in.
Attend Virtual Job Fairs
One of these trending topics may be a virtual job fair. Specific employers or groups of employers sometimes participate in open-call job fairs through social media. The idea is for you to respond to a question employers post or to introduce yourself and your qualifications through their social media handle and the relevant hashtag or keyword, so they see the response on their feed. A job fair through Twitter has the extra challenge of keeping your response limited to 140 characters. Employers are looking for creativity, and the ability to grab their attention even with limitations.
Hyperlink Your Resume
Whenever you do anything online that positively reflects on your professional image, make it easy for people to find information about you. Hyperlink your name in your signature, social media profiles and posts to your resume on your own website or to your LinkedIn profile. Make sure your resume is up to date and formatted in a professional and attractive manner.
When you have your own resume website, you’ll have an easier time tracking how often your hyperlinks lead people back to your resume with your site’s traffic statistics. LinkedIn premium accounts will also allow you see who’s viewed your profile so you can tell if they company you applied to is interested.
While taking advantage of what social media has to offer, be careful not to get off track. If personal messages on social media websites distract you from the tasks for your professional life, consider creating separate social media accounts for personal and professional endeavors. This will allow you to stay focused on your job hunt and most the most of what social media has to offer.
About the Author: Cherrie Chisholm is a contributing writer and career counselor. She recommends MyLife.com to her students looking to organize their social media activity during their job search.