Written By: Marc Belaiche, CA
Best practices for finding a job through social media outlets. Social Media has exploded as a tool for just about everything – reconnecting with long lost friends, learning about deals for products and services and seeking new employment opportunities. Companies are increasingly using social media to promote their job openings and find employees for their organizations.
This article will make recommendations on what actions you can take when using social media to look for new career opportunities.
It’s important to think of yourself as a brand in the same way a company determines how they market themselves. Be cognizant of what your online profile says about you and your brand. Ensure your presence reflects a professional image. Remove anything publicly available that can be perceived negatively by prospective employers.
Update your profile so that it contains all versions of any important keywords to ensure you come up on searches. For example, there are at least three ways a recruiter might search for a Chartered Accountant: “Chartered Accountant”, “CA” or “C.A.”. While some social media websites may recognize the different alternatives and give appropriate results, others may not. Taking this into consideration when managing your profile will help.
Make sure that your online profile is consistent with your resume – details such as dates of employment, position titles and company names should not have any discrepancies.
Don’t be exclusive
While there are many job opportunities through social media, also use traditional networking methods to increase your chances of finding what’s best for you. According to a recent Jobvite survey, while 86% of both active and passive job seekers have a social profile, only 16% used social networks to find their most recent job. (Source – Jobvite Survey 2011).
Have a professional picture on your profile so that it gives recruiters a very good first impression of you.
Send invitations to connect with people who could be helpful in your job search. Ask any new relevant connections for an informational meeting.
Loosen your account privacy settings if you are actively looking for a position so it is easier for recruiters to connect with you.
Can you find yourself?
Recruiters routinely search for candidates using keywords. Make sure your social media profile contains keywords that are relevant to the position you are looking for. Put yourself in the shoes of a recruiter looking to fill the job you would be qualified for, and see if you can find yourself.
Join a group
It’s important to be a part of groups that are relevant to your background (e.g., “Toronto Chartered Accountants”) so that you can network with other members with similar interests. As a member, you have the ability to send messages to others in the group which can be useful.
Create a group
There are many advantages to creating your own group, such as enhanced visibility and having the ability to communicate directly with a large number of individuals. It could take months or years to build the group but with patience your contact base will increase and help you in your job search.
Accentuate the positives
Highlight your skills, accomplishments and responsibilities in your profile putting yourself in the best possible light to recruiters. Using powerful words will have more impact.
Ask previous bosses, co-workers and subordinates to post recommendations of your work to your profile to give you enhanced credibility as a potential candidate.
Send personalized messages
Be sure to send direct messages to individuals who can help you in your search. Ideally personalize the message so people have more of a connection with you. If you send the same message to a large group, make sure to “bcc” the recipients to ensure they can’t see each other’s email addresses.
Add regular updates
Adding regular status updates to your social media profile shows others that you’re active in social media and keeps you top of their minds in your network if they want to interact with you. Given that status updates are regularly broadcast to your network, it’s an easy way to keep them up-to-date.
You can see who has visited your profile on many social media websites. For those who have viewed your information, send them a note to find out why they are interested and how you can help them.
Offer assistance first
If you receive a connection request, don’t just accept it and be done – ask why they want to connect and be open to answering their questions. Similarly, if you send a request, add a short note explaining why you’ve reached out. This will give the recipient some context for your request.
It doesn’t help your job search if you create a social media account and then never use it. Make sure to regularly post discussions to groups and share articles to stay visible.
Accept invitations and respond to emails promptly by logging into your account regularly to review recent activity. Set up your accounts so that you receive an automatic notice when someone sends you an email or connection request.
Research an organization through social media prior to an interview. For example, you can find out names and responsibilities of people that work at that organization by searching people by the organization’s name. You can also search for individuals who previously worked at the organization to determine turnover. Taking the time to do this research will give you valuable information in advance of your interview.
It is common knowledge in the recruiting world that up to 80% or more of jobs are found through the “hidden job market”, meaning the majority of jobs are not advertised anywhere, including through social media. This is especially true the more experienced you are. Don’t spend all your time on social media – it’s a method to find jobs, but not the only one.
Marc Belaiche is a 1990 CA and is President of TorontoJobs.ca, an internet recruitment business and recruiting firm located in the Greater Toronto Area in Canada. Marc has been in the recruitment industry since 1995. TorontoJobs.ca allows companies to post their positions online, search a resume database to find candidates, provides outplacement services and full temporary and permanent recruitment services. It also allows candidates to search and apply to positions directly online and get career, interviewing and resume tips all at no charge. Marc is also President of TorontoEntrepreneurs.ca, an organization geared towards business owners (see www.TorontoEntrepreneurs.ca). You can reach Marc at email@example.com and check out TorontoJobs.ca at www.TorontoJobs.ca.