Leveraging your social media to land a job

guest column Emmanuel Zvada

Job-hunting has radically changed. The advent of computer technology has paved way for one to apply for job positions via sites like the Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter, just to name a few.

Nowadays, job seekers use computers to reach out to relatives, former friends and classmates, including colleagues and fellow schoolmates.

Social media is a very useful tool to discover available positions, by establishing relationships with contacts who can give recommendations even on social media. The internet is a gold mine for those hunting for jobs, but you have to know how to use it.

It is a known fact that one of the most challenging tasks in one’s professional life is getting a new job.

The internet has a lot of job-posting websites where you can search and even apply to different companies easily, but you might also consider broadening your search to Facebook, Linkedin and other social medial platforms.

There are so many people competing for a limited number of positions that it seems impossible for an average person to get one if they do not have job hunting skills. If you go on google, jobs are offered almost everywhere. But despite the overwhelming number of available jobs, it is difficult to land one.

The way people look for jobs has rapidly evolved over the last few years.

The days of perusing through the “jobs available” advertisements of local newspapers are things of the past as many are now utilising social media jobs platforms.

The best thing about these jobs portals is that you can filter or search in a specific industry, or a specific position in every industry.

The success of using social media in job hunting is in networking. The more friends you have, the higher the tendency to meet friends of your friends, thus increasing chances of finding good contacts.

Whether you are a recent college graduate looking for your first job or a seasoned professional looking for a new opportunity, social media is incredibly useful for job hunters. Below are tips and tricks to enhance your job search via social networking sites:

What you are supposed to do

Eliminate all unprofessional posts and pictures

Even if you don’t want to leverage social media to help your job search, make sure your online profiles are not hindering your chances of getting employed.

Before you apply for any job, take a look at all of your online photos and posts and ask yourself if this is honestly something you’d want a potential employer to see.

It should also be known that the first thing an employer does when he sees your name as a potential employee is to check applicants’ social media profiles.

It will be a good advice if you delete, hide, untag, or make private anything that could be considered offensive or controversial so that you won’t ruin your employment opportunities.

Update your profile photo

Make your profile look like how recruiters would want it to look. Use a professional profile photo and cover photo as you want to look professional and experienced.

Post a recent, decent, and suitable photo for the position.

Never post vulgar pictures, as it is easy for people to grab them onsite.

More so, you must include your location on your profile, because many recruiters use it to search for any information they might want.

Carefully craft your brand statement if possible to capture your work ethics, character, special skills, depth of experience, and exceptional strengths.

List both professional and volunteer experiences if any, but put of a professional nature first.

More than half of hiring managers will look at an applicant’s social media profiles, so be very aware of the pictures you post.

List your top skills and qualifications.

Write all your qualifications, including all awards received and positions held.

If you are on Linkedin, don’t just list your education qualifications, but focus on your top skills that you want endorsed and ask former employers or professors to endorse that specific skill, but keep in mind that not all recruiters look at this section.

If you are job searching, let Linkedin know by turning-on “open candidates” from your preferences and recruiters will know you are quietly looking for a job.

All of your social media accounts that you plan to job-search on need to be private and professional. You need to keep it professional online because you never know who is watching and you never know how people may seriously consider your posts.

Build professional networks

Just as businesses are using social media to promote their brand and engage with prospects, you should use social media to promote your personal brand and form connections.

Your connections can exponentially increase your exposure and access to other connections.

Linkedin makes it easy to connect with people you know by importing your contact lists from sites such as gmail.

Engage with professionals not just on Linkedin, but on other platforms as well.

Talk on Twitter with influencers in your field; become an active voice on professional forums and Facebook groups. Connect with other professionals, spend time improving your profiles, and make sure your accounts always have your most recent contacts and professional information.

Proofread your entries before posting.

Make sure there are no errors in grammar or spelling. Show that you have good communication skills.

Post only positive comments.

Proofreading can play a vital part in any organisation, no matter its size; whether you work for yourself or for a company, protecting the brand is definitely important.

Misspelled words, poor grammar and inconsistent information, among a host of other things, can all have a negative effect on the brand and the company.

Maintain a solid online presence

It is important to keep your social media accounts updated, polished and professional. In other words, you are better off remaining online all the time by posting anything related to your profession than taking much without being noticed online.

Apart from that, you also have to make sure that you can be reached and the only way employers can reach you is if your number contact number is included on your profile.

Do not assume they will want to contact you online; make it easy for prospective employers contact you the way they want.

Provide your land-line and cell phone numbers, including your email address so that in case prospective employers want to get in touch with you, they can do so at any given time.

What you must not do

Mixing professional and personal online accounts

One downside of using social networking sites is when you fail to separate your personal and professional accounts.

This is very dangerous because your potential recruiters will be able to read private conversations or unflattering comments of friends who are just trying to be funny.

I would advise that you use Linkedin for your professional site as it is targeted specifically for professional purposes, especially job hunting. Facebook is currently the king of the social networking sites and you will do best to use this for your personal networking activities, mainly because you are likely to meet more friends there.

Do not discuss politics and other controversial topics.

Avoid showing your position on sensitive issues.

Politics is probably a more volatile topic than any other.

Politics always begins arguments; even if you and the person you are speaking with have similar views. Not everyone has the same opinion, and this goes for many different topics. So, it is not encouraged that we post our political sentiments online.

Lastly, keep in mind that when utilised correctly, social media can be your secret weapon in the job search. It may open doors, but in the end you still have to prove yourself because recruiters will judge you during your face-to-face interview.

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