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Social Media and Your Job Search: How to Get More Hiring Managers and Recruiters to Find You
bySarah CollinsMay 01, 2014
Social media isn't just good for sharing baby photos, status updates and locale check-ins. It can be a valuable networking and career tool -- but only if you use it effectively. When on the search for a new position, optimize your social media presence with the right networks, a mindful resume and a clean profile. By doing so, you might just catch the eye of a hiring manager or recruiter looking for a candidate just like you.
If you're not using social media yet, now is the time. Alexander "Felix" Burkart, a career coach in St. Louis, recommends starting first and foremost with a LinkedIn account; he says it's the No. 1 place hiring managers go to find talent. If you're already there but have a limited network, it's time to expand. "If you are on LinkedIn and have 12 connections, you are missing out on a huge potential," says executive recruiter Rikka Brandon, who's based in Moorhead, Minnesota. Start connecting with former classmates, colleagues, former colleagues and friends of friends to cast a wide net. Burkart also recommends listing easy ways to contact you on your LinkedIn profile, including email, phone and, if you're an active and professional tweeter, a Twitter account.
Use Keywords Effectively
It's not enough to have your name, job title and a photograph on your social media accounts; recruiters want to see that you're a prime candidate for the position they're filling. Create a list of keywords applicable to your industry and strategically insert them into your social media profiles, whether it's in your former job descriptions on LinkedIn, status updates on Facebook or tweets on Twitter. For an account planner in the world of advertising, posits Burkart, keywords could include insights, brand strategy, shopper marketing, consumer psychology and creating planning. He also suggests that the phrases "looking for new opportunities" and "seeking new opportunities" can help a hiring manager find you more easily. If your industry prizes a certain set of skills, include those keywords in the profile, too, because recruiters often use these in search strings.
Go With Common Terminology
Don't be afraid to translate company jargon on your social media profiles into common language. "If your title is customer happiness engineer, but the rest of the working world considers you a customer service manager, be sure to include the 'common' title," Brandon says. "Recruiters and HR managers are used to using multiple terms to find qualified people, but if your title is something very few people know outside your organization, it makes it difficult to find you."
Cast a Wider Net
Certain social media websites offer groups you can join, some revolving around industries or geographic locations. These can be a source of job leads and networking opportunities. When she's looking for a particular position, Brandon says, related industry groups are the first place she heads. If you're concerned about your boss seeing a flurry of activity on your social media profiles, rest assured -- you can hide these memberships on LinkedIn from being visible on your public profile. Elevate your visibility in the group by posting to discussion topics. Burkart recommends joining a smaller number of groups and focusing on adding interesting content to those channels.
It might seem intuitive, but you'd be surprised at the number of job searchers who don't take the time to double-check for spelling errors and typos. "You'd be amazed as how many 'mangers' are on social media," Brandon says. If you use one social media profile for fun only, check your privacy settings and lock it down to friends only. On all public profiles, review all photography and verbiage to check that it's professional above all else. "I have seen many applicants lose job offers because they wanted to post a 'fun' photo instead of a professional one," said Jason Navallo, New York-based author of "Driven to Succeed: How to Start Your Career After College."