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The role of social media in your job search
There’s no doubt most Australian employers use and check social media channels to screen potential new employees. Whether you’re an avid user of social media or not, here are our top tips to ensure that you use social media to your benefit in your quest for a new role.
Pick and choose
There’s a plethora of social networking sites and online forums on which you could have a presence and interact. From a time management and effort point of view, it’s probably best to pick a couple on which you’d like to boost your professional profile. Think about which sites recruiters, hiring managers and your industry peers use, and target those as a priority. The sector and role in which you work will play a part, but in general, sites like LinkedIn and industry-specific social networking sites like GitHub for software developers are more useful than Facebook in getting you noticed for a new role.
Update privacy settings
It’s important to keep your non-work accounts private: while social media and job search statistics show that 73 per cent of people aged 18 to 34 found their last job via a social platform, a significant proportion of employers also use it to screen candidates – sometimes even before interview stage. So make sure you review the content and its availability, and keep private information private so that you’re not being knocked out of the running before you even get to the interview stage.
Complete your profile
If you’re aiming to grab the attention of potential recruiters or employers, the more information you provide about yourself, the better. Present a full picture so that those viewing your profile are able to make informed decisions about your suitability. Include a full, succinct career history and mention any relevant awards and training. Make sure the profile picture that you choose is suitable in a professional context – think smart headshot, not sipping cocktails on the beach. Most importantly – make sure that the facts you state are true; information in such a public domain is easy to verify.
Remember, too, that using your social media for job search purposes goes both ways: recruiters and hiring managers can come to you, but you can also be proactive and seek out opportunities. You can then direct new contacts back to your informative profile.
Stand out, online
The attention span online is traditionally fleeting, so make sure you catch the reader’s attention at first glance. Format your profile well using paragraphs, subheads and bullet points where possible. Repeat the job title/s you’re after frequently throughout your profile so that you stand a better chance of being ranked in search engine results. Where possible (and we know this can be tricky if you’re currently employed), make sure that it’s obvious that you’re open to new career opportunities.
Using social media for job search can seem like a difficult process but ensuring that your online profile accurately and compellingly reflects your career history, skills, volunteer work and achievements is important no matter what your job search status is.
Demonstrate your knowledge
If you’re doing a job search through social media, making sure you’re marketing yourself and your skills regularly. If you write a blog about what’s going on in your industry, link this to your profile. Likewise, if your Twitter account will add value, connect it there too. Remember, potential employers want to see that you keep up-to-date with industry trends, so if you can provide a unique perspective on what’s happening in your industry, it will show that you’re engaged in your career and a critical thinker. If there is the opportunity to get involved in forum debates, do so, bearing in mind that once you say it, it’s out there so think carefully about the viewpoint you’re sharing.
Network, network, network
As it's often said, getting a job is about who you know, and if you connect with key players in your industry you’re likely to be closer to your ideal role. Networking isn’t a new phenomenon but the ability to connect with people online does make the process easier to manage. Remember that even if you’re doing your job search with social media, online networking shouldn’t replace traditional face-to-face interactions. Networking is a mutually beneficial relationship, so also think about what you can offer your connections.
Testimonials endorsing your achievements play a big part in painting you as a desirable candidate, but some endorsements hold more weight than others. A glowing reference from a satisfied customer can be perceived as more valuable than the recommendation of a peer you worked with on a project. As with any marketing, third party testimonials carry weight so if you’re planning your job search using social media, make sure you ask a few key people to write a recommendation for you.