Ch. 3: Social Networking
In Ch. 2: Networking with Job Boards we discussed the importance of career portals to modern job seekers and recruiters, the differences between general and niche job boards, and how to use them to your advantage when searching for a new position. This chapter focuses on the rising influence of social networking on how professionals advance their careers.
Social networking has become increasingly more important for job hunting over the past decade as more and more employers use Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to search for talent and evaluate potential candidates. Likewise, job seekers can use these networks to connect with professionals and like-minded individuals in their field to further their career goals and make landing the interview much easier than if they were to cold-apply for the position. Finding a job is all about marketing yourself, your skills, and your labor.
Those job seekers that ignore the importance of social media in this day and age are shooting themselves in the foot when it comes to visibility. Social outlets allow you to control what people see when they view your profile and they can be customized in way that portrays you as a talented, tech-savvy, modern professional.
It's vital that, when searching for a new position, to utilize these outlets to the best of your abilities. This chapter covers how to leverage each of the big 3 social networks to be more successful in your job hunt and to hone your social networking skills.
Using Social Networking to Find a Job
Its no surprise that social media platforms play a crucial role in finding a job. Today, many recruiters look at Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to find valuable candidates. 94% of recruiters search LinkedIn, while Facebook comes in second with 65% search rate, and Twitter at 55%.
Think about the three platforms as an intensive professional projection of your life.
Twitter should be designed like your online business card with a captivating headline and links to more information. Your Facebook is your personality profile that shows your personal and professional side. And your LinkedIn should be treated as your online cover letter and resume—the most professional of the three.
Using this trifecta will increase your visibility and chances of landing a great job.
Many of us think of Facebook as a platform to find and connect with friends, but it can be a very powerful professional networking tool.
Employers use these networks to find great talent and to feel out their potential candidates, so it's imperative that you maintain your profile. Here are a few things you can do to optimize your Facebook for the job search:
Facebook Privacy Settings
Don’t underestimate Facebook, but be sure to clean it up and get those party pictures off of there. To do so, you can either permanently delete your risque photos or simply change your privacy settings to prevent people from seeing them.
Click on "Who can see my stuff?" to customize your settings so that potential employers cannot see anything they may deem compromising:
Potential employers count as "Public" under Facebook's settings, so set your profile so that they can only see the good side of you. Don't let anything compromising slip through the cracks, as it may cost you a job offer in the future. If you add a potential employer as a friend, make sure you change their specific privacy settings using the "Custom" tabs.
Click on "See More Settings" in order to explore the full settings panel and customize how people view your profile:
Build Your Network
Go through your Facebook friend’s list and note the ones you can use as professional connection. Find those that can help you get a job you want. Think of people that know you and can vouch for your skills or be a foot in the door for a prospective job.
Completing your profile on Facebook is not as important as it is on LinkedIn, since you're not displaying your entire work history and skills for the world to see. Since Facebook is geared more toward the community as a whole instead of job seekers, it is more difficult to find the right people and the right connections. However, it's definitely still possible if you know where to look.
Search for groups that are relevant to your industry:
Post relevant, useful, and interesting content to the groups you join and become a member of the community to get to know some of the insiders. A lot of professionals take to these groups to discuss problems or new developments in the industry, making them a great place to meet like-minded individuals who may be able to get your foot in the door.
Pick your best references. These are all the people who like you and can endorse your abilities and character.
When you make a list, categorize those people into a new friend’s list on Facebook. You can do this by clicking on the “friends” drop down box and click on “add to another list” then go to “new list” and make a professional or work list.
When you post status updates or relevant job inquiries you can filter who you want to see the content. This is where your new “professional list” will come in handy. When you go to post the status, click on the “friend” dropdown again and pick who can see your status.
Don’t be nervous when asking people to help you. Most people like helping and like feeling that someone regards them as a resource/expert enough to ask for help.
Contact them. Let them know you are searching for a job and be specific about what you are looking for and highlight what skills you have in the field.
Figure out what you want before you start asking around. Don’t send out generic statements like “let me know if you hear about any jobs”. There are far too many low level jobs out there and if your contact doesn’t know specifically what you’re looking for they might send you a link to a McDonald's job.
Affirm their willingness to help and prepare them for potential calls from potential employers.
Don’t keep them in the blind. Let them know where you are in the process.
It will help maintain your network and not make them feel used if you keep in touch from time-to-time and let them know how it’s going and thank them for their help.
Fill Out Profile with Professional History
Facebook lets you post your work history and education so you can market your profile professionally.
Post relevant work accomplishments, related news, and updates on your job search along with the stuff that makes you human—it’s okay to post your dog pics, family photos, and about your trip skiing. Just remember to keep it classy and stay away from posting pictures of your new bikini with you in it or pics of you getting drunk.
People like helping people they know and see are human, so use Facebook as the personality side of your professional portfolio. If you can connect with a potential employer on a human level you increase your chances of landing a job.
Facebook’s search bar is a great tool for finding potential employers.
You can search for employers and find people you may know that work there. This way you can connect and contact people that can potentially get your foot in the door for a company you want to work for.
Weak Ties Vs. Strong Ties
Acquaintances can reveal more opportunities than best friends.
Acquaintances interact in a different world than yours, so they may know of other opportunities that your close friends don’t—your close friends probably know what you know because you exist in the same realm as them i.e., see the same news, hangout at the same places, know the same people.
Sometimes your weakest ties are your strongest assets to find a new opportunity. Don’t be afraid to reach out to people you don’t regularly speak to.
Twitter should be used like a business card. It should be what people see to gather contact info and links to more information like your portfolio, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
Like a business card, space on Twitter is limited, so don’t overcrowd your profile or tweets with junk. It allows you to practice brevity.
Use Twitter to showcase your professional profile. Make sure it has a good headline; doing this will separate you from those still writing “editor” as their headline.
Make separate accounts for your personal and professional life. That way you can use your professional Twitter to keep up with your professional network.
Follow people and institutions that relate to the field you want to work in. Twitter will help you by giving you relevant searches with “who to follow”. You can use shout-outs to correspond with people out of your league to share insights and start up a potential dialogue.
Find mentors and send private notes to them. Reach out to people in your field and let them know you are searching. Make sure to reach out to them a few times, because most people won’t respond to people that come out of the blue.
Talk about things they’ve done or said, or posted that you agree with or that touched you in some way. Assume they will participate in the conversation—you might be surprised.
Be sure to have good, relevant content on your twitter. Tweet insights and posts that are interesting and relevant to the field. Tweet other people’s insights and articles—this could start a dialogue.
The more interesting your content, the more likely you are to attract followers and maybe get a job.
Use shortened URLs to publish your articles and portfolios. That way they don’t take up space and people can easily find your stuff.
Use Twitter to Find Job Openings
Many Companies Tweet about openings they have. Stay up to date with the industry and profession. Follow the leaders and companies. When they post job openings, use a shoutout to get noticed.
LinkedIn is your online cover letter and resume. Your profile should be strictly professional and highlight your qualities and skills. Recruiters use LinkedIn as a landing page to search for candidates that best match what companies are looking for. Employers use algorithms on LinkedIn to best match your profile to a fitting position.
LinkedIn is great, because if you sculpt your profile correctly, people will find you for a job, instead of you doing all the searching. If you use the correct keywords and have a good network, you can give yourself the best visibility to recruiters and the best chance of getting an interview.
Make a Great Headline
Tell about yourself in a strong statement. A headline is your tagline, your pitch; you are trying to sell yourself with it and you have one line. A good headline is the first thing a recruiter or employer sees, so make it a good one. A headline is your brand. Brand yourself in a way that sets you apart from the crowd, but at the same time, shows you are human. Tell them what you plan to deliver and make it memorable. A good example is:
“Professional designer looking to make an overworked art director’s job easier” or something like this.
The best way to make a headline, is to take what you are good at/ what you do, and sell it to an employer by telling them how you can take what you do and help them out. An employer has a need, so figure out what that need is and tell them how you can meet it with your headline.
Create a Detailed Profile
A detailed profile helps your visibility on Google and within the platform. This profile should include important keywords so the algorithms can match you based on the relevancy of your keywords. Be sure to form it like a resume and include employment (current to past), education, industry, websites you have (portfolios, blogs, etc.).
Include a detailed professional summary that highlights experiences and skills. Speak to your accomplishments and what you have done for previous employers with your skills. Keep your summary professional, but don't be afraid to talk yourself up and list as many skills as you know or are acquainted with.
To get the best results, ensure that yours is at, or at least close to, 100%:
Customize your URL so it’s easily sharable and personalizes your profile. A good URL makes it easier for you to link your site to resumes and job boards and it also is great so you don't have a messy looking link that shows you took no effort.
Consider a good headshot. Make sure it’s professional and of good quality. Don’t make a bad first impression with a blurry picture—or with one of you holding a beer.
To add images, log in and click "Edit Profile" and click the following icon to upload:
You want to create not only a profile that conveys how qualified you are for the position, but one that is easy to digest and visually appealing. When building your profile, aim for an end result like this:
Completing your profile is the first step to success when it comes to marketing your resume on Linkedin.
If you want people to take you seriously, then you should take your job search seriously. A great profile shows that you not only took the time to impress whoever comes to it, but that you're also dedicated to finding the right position.
First, you want to start off connecting with anyone and everyone you already know who's on LinkedIn. To do so, hover over the icon in the top right of the menu and select either "People You May Know" or an option to invite your contacts:
Clicking on "People You May Know" or "See all" will take you to the full suggested connections page, where you can add people that LinkedIn believes you may already know. Take some time to add as many connections as you can among peers, college professors, former or current employers, and friends.
If you've already built a decent following or friend list on other social networks, it's a good idea to share your profile there too to gain more connections.
Search your prospective employer and see connections you may have that link you. If you can’t find direct connections, you can find connections of connections—remember, your weak ties might be some of your best.
Connect with people who work in the industry you want to step into. Even if you don’t know them, don’t be afraid to reach out. Check into the leadership of a company and connect with them. Find out what you have in common and make an introduction—who better to become visible to than the people that might give you a job.
Include resume keywords and skills in your profile so companies can pick them up when searching for candidates.
Participate & Promote Your Profile
After you've built your initial following within your current network of friends, family, and colleagues, it's time to search for employers and leaders in your industry, or the industry you want to get involved in.
If you're eyeing a certain position with a specific company, try to find people who already work there to connect with. Use the top search bar to find employers and connect directly with them, further exposing your profile to the industry.
Use the search filter to find people, jobs, companies, or groups that are relevant to your job search. Finding groups within your field and posting relevant content can be your biggest asset when finding like-minded individuals that you want to connect with.
If used properly, LinkedIn can serve as a great platform for job seekers to find companies and professionals that align with their goals and interests.
It's important to stay active on LinkedIn and engage with your connections. Participate in endorsing people and sharing articles and insights with people. Post interesting resources for people to read and engage with. Staying connected will help you be visible and gain rapport among connections.
Social Media is a strong tool to use in building connections and discovering resources to help you land a job you want. You can use the social media trifecta of Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to build your online presence, build and maintain your network, and increase your chances of finding a job you might actually want to work.
If done correctly, you can use the three platforms to compliment all aspects of your personality and give a well rounded picture of who you are as a person and what you bring to the table professionally.