Social media adds yet another wrinkle to the job search process. But why not turn your digital presence into a boon rather than a bane? You already know the importance of building a thorough LinkedIn profile and cleaning up that beer-soaked Facebook profile, so we turned to our friends on the HR, communications and startup scenes to go beyond the basics for digital job seekers. These ten tips will attract the right kind of attention to your social activity.
1. Find niche sites to fit your field or geographic location
Amit De, CEO and co-founder of CareerLeaf recommends seeking out “niche sites that really highlight your skills, like Dribbble if you’re a graphic designer, Pinterest if you’re a photographer, or WritersCafe if you’re an avid writer. Find the best medium to convey your skill set, and really make it stand out.” Also be sure to check out local resources. Built in Chicago is one of our favorite hometown resources for content and networking, and they also have a consistently updated job board.
2. Post about the field you want to be in
Sharing intelligent insights on the career you want shows your passion for the topic, says Claudia Ramirez, PR Strategist at Fueled. “If you’re trying to get hired at a leading fashion house, make sure you’re posting up-to-date information on the latest products, releases, fashion shows, and industry gossip. The same goes for any industry you are trying to find your way into. Retweet posts from your favorite bloggers and journalists relevant to your fields, include pictures of industry events, and stay up to date on the latest news. It will showcase your passion for the field.”
3. Show discipline by blogging consistently
Starting a blog shows initiative, but consistency is equally if not more important. “If you plan on going into a career field that involves a lot of writing or social media usage, this will help serve as a bare bones version of a portfolio for you and help establish your name online,” says Heather Taylor, Social Media Manager at MyCorporation.com. But remember, putting your name on a blog with sporadic posting habits sends a message of its own.
4. Be Searchable on LinkedIn
LaMecia Butler recommends “changing your professional headline to the title that recruiters are using for the jobs you want.” Headlines are picked up in LinkedIn searches so be sure to optimize this component of your profile, and know that it doesn’t have to match your current job title.
5. Shift to real life with Meetup.com
“The website Meetup.com is a great way to find events to meet and network with people in person,” says Margaret Yekulis, Brand Marketing Manager at Fare Buzz. “There are plenty of groups for various fields to meet people who are already employed and may have a great connection, or be the great connection to get you your next great job.”
6. Build a visual resume with Pinterest
Brie Weiler Reynolds, Manager of Content and Social Media for FlexJobs, recommends using Pinterest to create a visual depiction of your resume. “Make boards for your experience, awards, degrees, examples of your work, and your hobbies and outside interests. Put a link to your Pinterest resume board on your plain resume, your email signature, your LinkedIn profile — anywhere potential employers might see it. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then Pinterest adds a whole lot more depth to your traditional resume.”
7. Gain influence by participating in Twitter chats
“The single best social media practice for a job seeker: engaging in career-related Twitter chats,” says Mark Babbitt, CEO and co-founder of YouTern. Every day of the week, there is at least one Twitter chat focused on beginning or improving our careers. Our favorites are #InternPro and #jobhuntchat on Mondays and #HFChat on Fridays. These chats feature career experts, recruiters, professionals from university career centers — and, of course, job seekers. Those in a job search can lurk at first; then, once confidence is gained, jump into the conversation. Twitter chats are also a great way to build followers and gain influence: just follow the participants in the chat; they’ll most likely follow you back.”
8. Fill in network gaps with LinkedIn InMap
“Use the LinkedIn InMap app to map your network and see where you have a gap in your professional circle,” says LaMecia Butler. “Currently my university, former cities and industry maps are well covered. Since I’ve recently moved to a new city, I can see that I now need to build that city network as well as the new industry I’m working in.”
9. Signup for Google Alerts
Since hiring managers are likely to Google the names of job candidates, it’s good to have an idea of what your search results page has to say about you. Andrea Eldridge, co-founder of Nerds On Call, recommends setting up Google Alerts for your name “so that you’re notified when something new about you hits the web.”
10. Turn off LinkedIn activity when you update
When updating your LinkedIn profile, consider momentarily swapping your settings to private. Do you really want your network to see that string of twenty changes you just made? Making these small tweaks is important, but using a bit of discretion throughout the process can’t hurt. Besides, as Delightful Communications Founder Mel Carlson points out, “if you’re connected to your boss, they could see that you’ve just posted a new CV or become connected to 20 recruiters or the HR person at your competitor company.”