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HOW CANDIDATES CAN HARNESS SOCIAL MEDIA TO FIND THE BEST CAREER OPPORTUNITIES

24 Dec 13:00 by Ieshia Thaper

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The majority of recruiters and employers use social media extensively to mine a wealth of top talent who have accounts across the biggest and most popular platforms. It is a medium which cannot and should not be ignored and this is why it needs to play a key role in your job search strategy. After all, it has the power to unlock the door to a host of promising career opportunities.

How to use social media in your job search

Online social network sites have become an essential forum to advertise your skills, allowing you to establish your social brand, network with people online, identify job opportunities and turn those leads into real job opportunities.

Ordinarily your CV is only seen by those you have either sent it to directly or by recruiters who have paid for access to the candidate database of a recruitment website. By using social media sites in your job search, you can increase the visibility of your professional profile and be seen by a wider set of connections. It puts your skills and experience into the public domain and provides opportunities to network online with professionals from a diverse range of sectors.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is, without any doubt, an extremely valuable tool in your job search. This is because both businesses and recruiters will use the platform to search for candidates for particular jobs and then approach them directly.

If you are actively job searching, it is essential to maintain an up-to-date LinkedIn profile.  Your LinkedIn profile is akin to writing an online CV. However, the digital technology aspects of LinkedIn offers some other useful features, including ‘Endorsements’. 

Companies often use positive feedback and reviews from customers to persuade other potential buyers. LinkedIn takes this idea and allows you to include personal testimonials. Ask people you know, whether it is your manager, colleagues, customers, suppliers or friends to write a few positive words about your work capabilities on your LinkedIn page. You can even make suggestions for the kind of thing you would like them to write. The fact that another individual has taken the time to write positively about you will be viewed by others as an indication of credibility, professionalism and authenticity.

LinkedIn is not a replacement for the conventional CV but it does a good job of complementing it. If you are, or aspire to be, in a professional role then you should sign up. This is because recruiters who receive your CV will check to see if you are also on LinkedIn. If you are not, they will assume that you are either technologically outdated or perhaps have got something to hide.

Twitter

Twitter, as we know, is a public platform where people can post and exchange short messages. People use it to interact with other people or organisations they find interesting or useful, including attaching links or photos that they want to share via their Twitter community.

Businesses use it to share compelling content which promotes their services and expertise, with the aim of enticing people to visit their website.  When using Twitter in your job search, always be professional. Twitter tends to be an informal medium but if you are trying to catch the attention of recruiters and others in your field, then you must represent yourself in an attractive light.

You do not have to tweet yourself. You can simply follow companies or topics and retweet relevant industry insights. If you do wish to tweet, you can use them to show your interest in a particular career or sector and post messages about current affairs in the industry you wish to work within.

Your Twitter profile should include a professional looking photo, an appropriate bio and a link to your CV, LinkedIn profile or website. Twitter is much more informal than LinkedIn or conventional CVs, but you should not underplay your skills and expertise in this popular arena.

Facebook

With a staggering 2.45 billion monthly active users in 2019, this social networking giant allows users to create a personal profile, add other users as friends and exchange messages within its community framework. You can also join groups, organise events and share photos and videos.

Although it is an informal medium and largely used by people for connecting with friends and family, it is increasingly being used by organisations for more commercial reasons. Many organisations use it to communicate with staff, customers and the wider public and to receive their comments, reviews and feedback. Some companies also use it to recruit and vet potential candidates. On Facebook, the boundaries between the personal and the professional can be blurred, so make sure that you are always aware of which information about you can be accessed and by whom.

From a career perspective, Facebook is useful because it provides an easy way to ask personal connections for information and advice about their career or job search. It can also act as a resource of information on both individuals and companies. The informal nature of the site, and its interactivity, means that you can often obtain information and communicate with employers in a way that may not be possible elsewhere.

However, while social networking sites present excellent opportunities for recruitment, they also mean that employers, both current and prospective, have become extremely sensitive as to their employees’ web presence.

Before you post any information in your own name on the internet, consider whether you would be happy to have this information published in a national newspaper where your family, friends, current and future employers could see it. If not, then change it.

The benefits of using social media in your job search

You can apply for advertised roles easily and quickly.

You are more visible to recruiters who are using social media to advertise their jobs and source candidates.

You can build your network and engage with a wider audience across multiple social channels.

You can create positive PR around yourself by presenting testimonials, endorsements and presentations of your work on your social media accounts.

You can speak to recruiters and prospective employers throughout your job search by engaging with them across all channels in real time.

A top tips summary

Ensure your social media profiles state that you are actively job seeking and the type of role you are interested in. Make sure you use keywords so recruiters can find you.

Follow relevant companies and individuals in your industry or network.

Get involved in LinkedIn Groups which are related to your industry and let them know the type of role you are looking for.

Initiate conversations with individuals and companies on any interesting topics related to your industry.

Keep your personal and professional updates on separate social media accounts.