You’ve heard it said a hundred times: Successful job seekers are using social media to find and secure work. The reasons social media works for growing a career includes: recruiters and hiring managers use the platforms to source and evaluate candidates, the online search is easier and more effective than some other methods of recruiting, and social media is a highly accessible tool – we all have access to millions of people on our cell phones and mobile devices!
Employers know that what job seekers post onto social media is public and searchable. They can see the “real you” by digging a bit deeper into your online habits, friends, and comments. While your resume might be polished and professional, your social media posts could reveal your true feelings about work, companies and industries.
Social media is not a passive sport – you don’t create a profile and wait for the phone to ring. To be findable online you should actively and intentionally promote your value to the employers who are seeking someone just like you.
To ensure you are findable online (in the way you want) follow these guidelines:
- Keep your information updated and current. If a recruiter finds your profile online and is interested in speaking with you, they should see your current contact information, updated profile photo, and most recent skills. This makes it easy for them to reach out to you to discuss an open position and hopefully schedule an interview.
- Speak to a specific audience. Your online profiles are marketing assets. Use them to target a specific audience of employers, industry leaders, hiring managers, etc. The clearer you are on who you want to attract, the more successful your profile and activity will be in attracting those people to you.
- Use key words and key phrases. Each industry – and sometimes each company! – has a set of key words and key phrases they use to describe their work, culture, habits and norms. If you can use those words and phrases in your online profiles, comments and posts, you are more likely to be found in an online search. For example, if the company uses the term “team member” instead of “employee,” or “lead” instead of “supervisor,” in describing their culture, sprinkle those words throughout your profile where appropriate. Similarly, look for specific key words to describe job functions the company hires for. They might use “project manager” to describe the same work you did in uniform (although you were responsible for completing a “mission,” not a “project.”)
- Stay consistent across all platforms. Consistency is key! While each social media platform has its unique function and personality – Facebook is fun and social, LinkedIn is professional and oriented towards business, and Instagram is all about interacting with images – be the same person with the same goals, beliefs, passions and interests on all sites. If a recruiter sees that you emphasize your passion for aviation on LinkedIn, but don't mention it anywhere else, they might question your authenticity.
- Leverage your connections. The people you are connected to and interact with online should be part of your strategy to be found by employers. Are these individuals leaders in the industry? Are they well connected? If they are credible and well-liked, having them write recommendations for you, endorse you and interact with your posts and content (by “liking” or sharing your posts) increases your credibility with recruiters. When you are linked to people of influence, that influence rubs off on you and helps you stand out.
Instead of leaving it to chance that employers will be drawn to your online profiles, comments, posts and images, make yourself findable to them in a meaningful and strategic way. This puts you in the position of being able to intentionally draw the right employer towards you.