Social media can be a valuable tool in your work search. It can help you find opportunities and showcase your abilities in innovative ways.
Employers are using social networking tools to find potential job candidates. So it makes sense that having a good social media presence and knowing how to use social media can help you find a job or advance your career.
Follow these suggestions to learn how to use social media effectively to look for work and market yourself to employers.
Understand how social media can help your job search
Whether you’re currently looking for work or exploring ways to expand your network, you can use social media to:
- network online with people you know
- gain access to people you might never meet otherwise
- show potential employers your technology skills
- promote your skills and support the claims you make in your resumé with links from your social media profile to your volunteer, sports, artistic or community involvements
Knowing how to manage your social media identity enables you to project a positive image and reduce the impact of any inappropriate information about you that may appear online. For more information, see Manage Your Social Media Identity.
Select the right social media tools for your job search
There are hundreds of social media tools. Which tool you should use depends on what you want to accomplish and your comfort and skill level in using it. Consider the following 4 types of social media tools and the suggestions for using them to further your networking and work search activities.
Social media websites are generally used for connecting with friends, but can also be used to let your contacts know you’re looking for work. Many companies and organizations join these websites and post job openings on their pages. Follow these suggestions to boost the work search value of your social networking pages:
- Link from your profile to other websites that show your professional, volunteer or community activities in order to provide a more complete picture of your skills.
- Change your personal profile to be more professional, or limit access to your personal profile or consider creating a separate professional profile.
- Consider joining other, related online groups to keep up with their posted information.
Professional networking websites are used by many professionals to stay in contact with their peers, highlight their skills and experience and add people they know to their network. Look for professional networking websites that align with your career goals and provide:
- a job search function
- access to other users so that you can make direct contact with employers also using the site
- options to pinpoint and streamline your networking—for example, you may be able to check job postings against your network to see if you have any contacts in the companies posting the jobs
- discussion groups that can help you to build your online identity around your skills and experience
Blogs are used to share thoughts on a particular subject or to demonstrate knowledge or expertise or as a tool for individual branding. Many companies have a corporate presence through these sites and may use them to post job openings or information about their company. Creating a post with a link to your professional networking page or online resumé is a good way to let others know about your work search.
You may even consider creating your own blog to boost your online profile. Blogging and commenting on blogs and tweets related to your field or your work search can showcase your skills and experience.
You can find blogs in your professional field by searching for an occupational name + blog (e.g. engineer + blog).
Forums and online communities are used to talk to larger groups and discover more about different organizations. Discussion groups and other online networking opportunities can be found through professional association, industry or union websites.
Taking part in discussion groups allows you to showcase your knowledge and connect with others in your field, including potential employers. By being active on social media, you can boost your online profile and help employers find you more easily.
Use social media effectively
Follow these general suggestions to make effective use of social media in your work search:
- Identify your work search and career goals and the image you'd like to project. Choose social media tools that can help you achieve your goals.
- If you use the same social networking site for your personal life as for your work search, make sure it supports your work search. If you need to create a boundary between your personal and your work life, consider creating a profile on a social networking site for family and friends and another on a professional networking site for your professional network.
- Create a short, simple profile. People will be more likely to read a short profile and it’s easier to update. You can add more information and links as you need to.
- Inform your online network when you’re looking for work or work-related connections to grow your network.
- Online networking can be very time-consuming. It's a good idea to limit yourself to a specific amount of time each day or week.
- Use the search function on social media sites to find groups, individuals and employers related to your work search.
- If you are preparing for a job interview, search through social media sites to find out about the organization and the people who will be interviewing you. Think of questions to ask in the interview based on their social media profiles. For example, ask about an article or blog they've written or a talk they’ve given.
Take advantage of social media in your job search
From networking to increasing your visibility, to discovering job opportunities, you can use social media and your social media profile to support your work search. Take advantage of the opportunity and use social media to showcase your qualifications and the image you want to project in an up-to-the-minute format employers are likely to notice.