Canadians spend an average of one hour and fifty three minutes on social media every single day, and have active accounts in at least 6 different social media platforms.
But while we often seek out social media as a distraction, a way to stay in touch, and a way to get news and other information, how many of us are using our social media time to further our careers?
If you’re looking to spend your time more wisely on social media, and leverage the internet to make your search for work even easier, then we have some tips for you!
In today’s article, we’ll explore how best to use social media for your job search! Let’s take a look…
Start with a search
Before you can start using social media to paint a better picture of yourself for recruiters, it’s important to get a clear picture of what your online image currently looks like.
For many job seekers, the internet has been a constant companion for decades — or even our entire lives. You could have profiles and accounts you don’t even remember creating, and online personas that look nothing like how you live your life today.
So before you start building a more professional online presence from scratch, be sure to scratch a search for yourself off your to-do list!
Google yourself to get a look at what recruiters might see if they did the same. What profiles are public, and how much of each profile is public or private?
We also suggest searching yourself up on the most popular social media platforms directly, as not everything might show up in Google search results. Consider having a friend search with you, so you can see what your profiles look like for another person. It’s also an easy way to get feedback from someone else at the same time about what works and doesn’t work for finding you work!
Tidy up before you start applying
Before you start sending out job applications, you should curate your social media profiles.
We know you can use social media for your job searches. But it’s important to know that recruiters are ALSO using social media to learn about candidates. So you should consider your online presence part of your resume.
Take what you learned from searching for yourself online, and make a conscious choice about what content you have on your social media profiles that you should either delete or hide/make private.
Is your Facebook wall a stream of party photos and arguments with strangers on the internet? While having an active social life and engaging in active discourse are fine in moderation, you need to moderate how much of a priority they seem to be in your life.
Remember, recruiters don’t know you well enough to put what they see about you in context. Their first impressions of you are going to be their only impressions of you, so consider that whatever they see will carry a lot more weight.
A good rule of thumb is to ask yourself: “Would I tell my interviewer about this?”
If the answer is “probably not”, then it’s probably a good idea to remove it from your public-facing profile.
You don’t need to hide everything. Having no online presence can be just as suspect as having a messy or unprofessional one. If you have milestones you’ve shared about your personal and professional development, or perhaps events and workshops you’ve attended that added to your growing skills and industry involvement, then those are worth keeping!
You should also make sure your information is up-to-date, and that you have clean, professional headshots as your profile pictures. While it isn’t in person, consider this the first time recruiters might get to put a face to your name.
How to use LinkedIn
When we talk about using social media for our profession, we can’t avoid talking about the world’s largest social media network designed specifically for professionals!
LinkedIn is the perfect place to curate a professional online image, while also allowing you to easily meet recruiters and network with others in order to launch your career.
Starting with your profile, you can build your resume right into what people see when they search for you. LinkedIn allows you to create a work and education timeline, and showcase references and recommendations from the people you’ve impressed so far!
LinkedIn also has an online learning platform called “LinkedIn Learning”. There, you can take skill-building courses and receive official certifications that LinkedIn will then display on your profile to prove you’ve mastered your studies!
One of the most important things to consider when designing your LinkedIn profile is your headline. Your headline is a very brief description of what people should think of when they think of you as a professional. It appears at the very top of your profile, and is one of the first things people will see and read when they visit. Don’t just say what your profession is — say what makes you unique as a professional!
You also have a longer professional summary section which you can use as a sort of unaddressed cover letter, describing your overall work and education history, as well as highlighting the latest and greatest of your accomplishments at a glance.
As with any social media platform, LinkedIn is all about connecting and engaging. You don’t just set up your profile and forget about it — you’ll want to stay active to stay on recruiters’ radars. Consider following business leaders, potential employers, and recruiters themselves in order to understand what they’re talking about. That way you can learn how to become part of the conversation!
And be sure to set your status to #OpenToWork, so that your profile shows up in search results for recruiters on the hunt for top talent!
Tips for any platform
While LinkedIn is the biggest networking tool for professionals, it definitely isn’t the only one.
Here are some of the other platforms that job seekers should explore for opportunities:
Every social media platform has their own advantages, disadvantages, and culture. And not all of them may be right for your career type. But there are some rules of thumb that apply to all of them.
For starters, approach your time online as though it was part of your job (because finding work is a type of work unto itself). It’s easy to get distracted by scrolling through memes, photos, and unrelated articles when you should be focusing on building your network and discovering job opportunities. We recommend that you set aside a specific amount of time for a few platforms, and you spend that time on the things that help your job search. If you find yourself getting bored, take a break and come back when you’re ready to focus, so you aren’t tempted to use social media the wrong way.
Another important tip is to build your network quickly, but carefully. Many job seekers are tempted to cast too wide of a net, sending and accepting friend/follow requests from just about anybody. But a good network takes time to build, because you should be building rapport with people along the way. In order to make deeper connections, don’t rush into relationships — get to know people as organically as possible, and show genuine interest if you want them to be interested in you and your career too.
Adding to that, you need to stay relevant to people in your network and industry by frequently engaging in discussions and showing up for events like virtual workshops or meetups. You don’t have to be the loudest voice in the room, but you should be in the room, so to speak. The more people see you around, the more they’ll start to recognize you as a serious professional. And the more likely they’ll be to remember your name when they have a professional opportunity to share. And as long as you are willing to share what you know and offer your perspective, people will also start to see you as an expert — and that’s an expert way to build trust with any employer.
Finally, don’t forget to literally search for work on social media! You can find all sorts of jobs online. Many social media platforms even have specific sections for connecting workers and employers, or where job openings are posted. Take note of what ways people share opportunities on different social media platforms, such as hashtags, special post types, newsletters/subscriptions, etc. Then make sure to make a quick search for the latest jobs part of your social media routine — or sign up for alerts when you can so the opportunities come to YOU!
Social media is a part of our daily lives. But it can also be a part of our careers, too!
Do you want help finding work online, or just in general? Then ReStart can help!
We offer free employment counselling to help you discover opportunities in how you look for work, so that you can find work faster and with better results. Book your appointment today to get started!