How to Use Social Media to Score Your Next Job, Not Lose It
Considering a career change? Think of your social media accounts as the third metric in terms of job qualifications. First you have your cover letter, which shines a spotlight on why you would be perfect for the role. Then you have your résumé, which gives a bigger picture of your qualifications and outlines the story of your experience. But you also have your social media platforms. These precious digital archives don’t just tell hiring managers what you can do—they show them. What’s more, they reveal your social clout (i.e., influence) and give potential employers an idea of how you will be able to expand their reach. Looking for ways to stand out in this oversaturated job market? Follow our seven methods of social media activation and take your career to the next level.
If you work in a creative field (or want to), having a personal website is an absolute must. It’s your digital portfolio—a place where you can exhibit your latest designs or articles and showcase your point of view. Unlike a résumé or cover letter, which tells hiring managers about your skills and expertise, your personal website shows your actual work, painting a clearer picture of your capabilities. According to Workfolio, 56% of all hiring managers are more impressed by a candidate’s personal website than any other personal branding tool (interestingly enough, only 7% of job seekers actually have a personal website). So the odds are heavily in your favor if you spend the time to build your own. Every time you generate press about yourself or something you’ve done, include a link to the article on your website. Whether you’re in the market for a new job or just want to keep your feelers out there for any incredible opportunities, maintaining a digital portfolio of your work and press is one of the most effective ways to be your own best PR rep. Bonus: Keeping a real-time digital portfolio conveys a tone of confident professionalism to your audience.
If you come across an article you find particularly interesting or an app you find particularly beneficial, share it and mention the author or creator. Retweeting, posting, or writing about other people’s accomplishments is a great way to reach a larger network of people in an altruistic way. It also shows the world your taste. If you deem something worthy of resharing and start sharing things other people also think are worthwhile, you will develop a reputation for having great taste. This is similar to telling admissions officers about your five favorite books for your college applications. It shows your interests and gives more insight into you as a person, including your understanding of the world. Commending the work of your peers is like keeping a public library of your interests. This kind of knowledge doesn’t fit on your résumé, but recruiters and hiring managers may find something from your retweets that gives you a leg up.
Companies, whether large corporations or early-stage startups, take referrals very seriously, especially for jobs beyond entry-level positions. That’s why the older you get, the more you realize that your network is everything. You don’t get a job because of what you know; you get it because of who you know. So mine your social networks for any possible connections that will benefit your desired career path. Always check LinkedIn to determine who in your immediate network is connected to a hiring manager or employee at one of your favorite companies. Contact those people before you even apply. You’re much more likely to score an interview if someone who works for the company delivers your résumé or an email introduction before you send it in cold.
In today’s oversaturated job market, having an exceptional education and an applicable skillset is de rigueur. You also need that competitive edge to stand out in a sea of qualified applicants. Show the world your strong communication skills and your chosen industry what interests you by writing. If you’re good with words or especially adept at keeping your pulse on current and forthcoming trends, chances are you’ll develop a following or catch the eye of a hiring manager in your field. In our digital age, the amount of online influence you exert can be one of the reasons you score a job over another client. Take Chloe Drimal, for example. Business Insider named her “the luckiest college graduate of 2013” because after graduating from Yale, she was one of the first hires at Snapchat. Drimal put herself on Evan Spiegel’s radar by writing about her experience with the platform for the Yale Daily News. Her story went viral, and one month after graduation, Drimal was part of the one of the fastest-growing companies of the decade.
Building a library of your own content or publishing a piece that goes viral can take time. So as you start to develop your own online influence, try speeding up the process by actively engaging with thought leaders you admire on Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. If you’re interested in entrepreneurship and the wellness industry, for example, tweet a specific question to founder Payal Kadakia . If you’re interested in investing, reach out to Kirsten Green from Forerunner. Research your industry inside and out, and start contacting the people you think are shaping it. Also reach out to anyone on social media who has the job you want, or one like it. If you’re interested in blogging, try direct-messaging your favorite blogger. If you’re interested in finance, find someone at the firm you’re most interested in, and try to introduce yourself over LinkedIn. Better yet, mine your network to find an acquaintance who can introduce you to that person.
One of the easiest ways to draw attention to your professional accomplishments on social media is by mentioning and thanking everyone who collaborated with you. Celebrating others and acknowledging them on a public platform not only makes you look like a team player but also broadcasts your skills and accomplishments to networks beyond your own. In fact, praising or complimenting others is one of the best ways to broaden your network. It lets you tell your friends and their friends that you collaborated on something you’re proud of. When your colleagues’ connections see you in this light, you’ve already passed a subconscious screening test that takes you from total stranger to someone they know and can call on if the opportunity arises.
People can smell it when you’re selling yourself too hard, and that desperation is not a good look in the professional world, especially when you’re looking for a job. Practice the 80/20 rule to maintain a digital presence that inspires and gives more than it asks for anything. In other words, make sure that 80% of the content on your social platforms offers a clear utility to users. Maybe your Twitter is full of insightful comments, entertaining retweets, or newsworthy posts, for example. Make sure you keep 80% of your posts to this kind of content. The other 20% can be used to showcase your work, advertise upcoming events that do the same, or reach out to industry professionals you want to meet.
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Have you ever gotten a job offer through social media?