How to Use Social Media in Your Job Search

Using Social Media in Your Job Search

Social media is more than just keeping in touch with friends and families these days. Going beyond the social aspect, social media is being used by not only business and recruiters, but job seekers as well.

Don’t believe it. Consider this: a recent study from the National Association of Colleges and Employers show that 41 percent of 2012 college graduates are turning to social media sites to help find jobs. That’s a 33 percent boost from 2008.

Is it working?  According to the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM), 55 percent of employers will increase their outreach through social media this year. The upside is that applicants can connect directly with recruiters and hiring managers on sites like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

But, this strategy can backfire with one bad social media blunder. Whether you’re an experienced employee or a brand new job seeker, a social media mistake can put your career search at risk. There’s etiquette that savvy SM users follow.

  • First, don’t trash talk former or potential companies or employers on the web. Most major and even smaller companies are versed in social media now, so if your Tweet or Facebook post says something rude about them, it’s unlikely you’ll get that interview or offer. If you have something to say that’s negative, pick up the phone and whine to your mom. Leave it offline.
  • Keep it clean. Shouldn’t have to say this, but if you are actively looking for a job, don’t drop the “F” bomb on your social media sites. Don’t post porn. Don’t be too overtly sexual or crude or snarky.
  • If you want to keep your Twitter and Facebook private for only friends and family, then be sure to set your accounts to “private.” On Facebook and Twitter, choose “settings” to make sure only your friends can see your Facebook page and your Twitter updates. Be aware, however, that this isn’t foolproof. Your contacts can post information about you on THEIR pages, and you can’t remove it.

Job Search Tips

So how do you maximize social media to help you in your job search?  Here are a five job search tips to get you started.

  • Always have your professional profiles up-to-date and complete. Recruiters use these profiles and information to find new candidates.
  • Engage in online communities and conversations. If you’re seeking a job in technical sales, join a community and discuss what you are passionate about.
  • Connect with your professional people on LinkedIn. Connections through LinkedIn are designed to be beneficial and these folks could help you find your next position.
  • Connect with the employers you want to work for by following their Twitter account, like their Facebook page or join their LinkedIn group, and join their Talent Community.
  • Use your social networks to find someone who worked for that company. A referral from a current or former employee ups your chance of getting that interview. Find these helpers through LinkedIn or Twitter or other sites.

Good luck, and remember, social media can be a blessing or curse when it comes to job search. Make sure yours is a blessing.

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Jessica Miller-Merrell

Jessica Miller-Merrell (@jmillermerrell) is a workplace change agent, author and consultant focused on human resources and talent acquisition living in Austin, TX. Recognized by Forbes as a top 50 social media influencer and is a global speaker. She’s the founder of Workology, a workplace HR resource and host of the Workology Podcast.


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