You’re Doing it Wrong: Expert Advice on Using Social Media in Your Job Search

Still trying to figure out how to use social media in your job search? Are you tweeting tiresomely without any luck? Are you consumed with LinkedIn discussions that lead nowhere? It may not be that the social tools are worthless. Quite the contrary, it could be how you’re using them.

THE WRONG WAY TO ENGAGE WITH RECRUITERS

You can’t just wake up one morning and send a random tweet to a recruiter that has zero context. According to experts in the social recruiting field, here are some other big no-no’s when it comes to social engagement.

  • Don’t simply tweet a link to your LinkedIn profile with an arrogant “hey look at me.”
  • Don’t cancel an in-person interview via a Facebook wall comment.
  • Don’t engage a company representative in job-related conversations, whilst also engaging in unprofessional (e.g. vulgar, illicit) ones from the same account.
  • Don’t send messages to recruiters that include creepy comments about their good looks.
  • Don’t bug recruiters about the status of your application or doing anything in public that is critical of the recruiter’s brand. Jer Langhans, Global Talent Acquisition Manager at Expedia

HERE’S THE SECRET SAUCE: CONTEXT

As a 21st century job seeker, geeked out with your smartphone, portable chargers, tablet and laptop … your goal should be to take your online interactions to real life conversations.  Yes, it’s great to have rock star status on LinkedIn, 500 followers on Twitter and 1,000 Facebook friends! But, how are you leveraging those contacts and turning them into meetings?

  1. Research the company first to understand their current business needs (i.e. open jobs). Do you have the knowledge, skills and interest to be a truly viable candidate?
  2. Send a message to the organization’s recruiter that is personable, professional and has context. Who are you? Why are you contacting them? Why are you the best fit for the job? How can the recruiter get in touch with you? If the recruiter is on Twitter, @ message them. Better yet, find him or her on LinkedIn and send a more detailed message.
  3. Connect and ask for an informational meeting – 10 or 15 minutes of their time – so that you can learn more and share highlights from your career. A week or so later, if you haven’t heard anything, politely ping them.

This three-step plan may seem too simplistic. So, how can you really get started? “Recruiters are out on social networks trying to find you, so go out and find recruiters,” says Will Staney, director of recruiting at SuccessFactors. “Every recruiter is on LinkedIn … start there.”

Though, I would just add this golden nugget of advice from Lars Schmidt, Senior Director of Talent Acquisition at NPR, “Despite what many experts tell you, social media is not an absolute requirement for all jobs and careers. There are many fields where traditional job boards and resumes are still effective tools for finding your next job.”

What are some ways that social media in the job hunt has worked for you? Are you a recruiter who has additional slices of advice for job seekers? Please comment below.

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Shannon Smedstad

Shannon Smedstad

Shannon Smedstad has nearly 20 years of recruitment, employer branding, and communications experience. Currently, she serves as the Principal Employer Brand Strategist at exaqueo. Previously, she held employer branding and recruiting leadership roles at CEB and GEICO. She’s a work at home mom raising two awesome girls who also enjoys reading, running, leading a Girl Scout troop, and her morning coffee. You can connect with Shannon on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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