Make the Most of Social Media
In this digital age, social media has become a common way to interact with friends, family, and even employers. Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn can be important tools in your job search.
LinkedIn is the best known social media platform focusing on business and professional networking. The built-in job search engine allows jobseekers to find openings. LinkedIn also allows jobseekers to see if their connections are affiliated with businesses of interest.
When using LinkedIn to help you land a job, consider the following tips.
- Your experience section should highlight your main job functions at your previous/current jobs in general terms; this section should not provide bulleted details about job functions, as might be done in a resume.
- Use specific keywords that employers in your field will be searching for when you generate your list of skills. Read job postings to find terms associated with the skills most sought after in your industry.
- Ask your connections to endorse you for your top skills, and have previous coworkers and employers write recommendations for you.
- Join alumni groups and other groups in your field. Contribute to discussions as a way to network and exhibit your subject knowledge.
- Decide who to connect with, with the emphasis being on quality connections.
- Follow influential people in your targeted industry.
If you do not currently have a LinkedIn account, you can set one up by visiting their website and completing the "get started" form on the homepage. You will then be directed to complete steps to set up your professional profile.
On Facebook, you can connect with friends and let them know you're looking for work. Even if you keep tight privacy settings, make sure your work and education information is public. You’ll also want to provide a brief description about your professional background in the "about" section of your profile. Consider following recruiters and companies in your targeted industry for current information that may impact your job search.
Twitter's platform allows you to receive frequent updates on employers, recruiters, and industry insiders. As on Facebook, you’ll want to keep your profile up to date and provide a brief description about your professional background in the "about" section of your profile. After choosing relevant accounts to follow, you can participate and make yourself stand out by tweeting to people, re-tweeting posts that are interesting, and commenting on content. Posting links to pertinent articles and other online content while providing your own professional opinion is another way to stand out as an enthusiastic jobseeker.
Checking out employer social media pages will help keep you up to date on current hiring needs and recruiting events—it’s common for employers to post job openings on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Following employer social media pages also gives you a way to get a feel for the company’s culture, determine their core purpose and objectives, and stay current on relevant news and information. Many employer social media accounts can be found by searching for social media icons on their homepages.
A digital footprint is a term used to describe the trail, traces, or "footprints" one leaves on the internet. These "footprints" can come from a variety of sources, including social media, blog posts, email correspondences, videos or images, or any other digital information transmitted over the internet. As it relates to your job search, it is common for employers or hiring managers to search the internet for information about job applicants before hiring them.
Here are some ways to ensure that your digital footprint will help—and not hurt—your odds of obtaining employment.
- Conduct an online search of yourself by using your favorite search engine (Google, Bing, etc.). Search for your name and other terms that will help narrow your search (the name of your town, schools you have attended, previous employers, organizations you belong to, etc.). Scroll down through the first four pages of results to see what appears. This will give you a preview of what a hiring decision maker may find about you.
- Conduct additional searches of yourself on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, or other social media accounts you've created.
- Look for any inconsistencies between your resume and your online presence, and remove or update conflicting information.
- If you find content that might concern an employer about your judgment, maturity, integrity, or ability to get along with team members, make an effort to remove that content. Here’s a simple rule to follow: Don't allow anything on the internet that you wouldn't want 5,000 strangers to see or know about you.
- Examples of content to remove:
- Photos of you and your friends drinking, wearing inappropriate clothing, or engaged in questionable behavior
- Inappropriate comments by your friends
- Discussions about using alcohol or drugs
- Negative comments about current or previous employers or coworkers
- Slang or discriminatory comments about racial or ethnic groups
- If you have posted articles, blog entries, samples of your writing, or other web content, make sure they reflect your best self. That includes checking your grammar and spelling.
- Use the privacy settings on Facebook, Twitter, or other social media sites to restrict access to only your trusted friends. If you choose to permit anyone to access your social media sites:
- Check your "likes," and "unlike" any page, movie, band, or other content that might cause a negative first impression.
- Restrict tagging to prevent a friend or acquaintance from tagging you in a comment or photo that will cast you in a questionable light.
- Be sure that you have a professional email address and voicemail greeting.
After following these tips for cleaning up your digital footprint, you should be prepared to make a good impression on employers or hiring managers who happen to search for you on the internet. Throughout your job search process, it is recommended that you conduct these activities once every couple of weeks. It is important, too, that your digital footprint remain a strong reflection of your best self, even after you land the job you are looking for. Employers may conduct such investigations even after you are hired. As a best practice, plan to monitor your digital footprint monthly, and update or remove content as needed to ensure a favorable online image.