Social media isn’t just a means to announce to the world that you just had some bad brussel sprouts at lunch. There are lots of ways you can use Twitter, LinkedIn and even Facebook to do an effective job search. Here are a few:
- Make sure you use keywords and phrases most relevant to your field in your LinkedIn profile (I’ll assume you already have one – if not, get it up there yesterday!). More and more employers are trolling LinkedIn to find candidates, before even posting a job on job boards like Monster. They do a search for specific skills listed in profiles, and have been known to contact applicants whose profiles come up as a result. So if you’re looking for a job as a contortionist, be sure to include “twisting,” “bending,” “extreme stretching,” and perhaps “overextension” in your profile.
- Use your connections on LinkedIn to help you network your way into companies you’re interested in. It’s a professional networking site; that’s what it’s for. Hunt around in your connections to see who they’re connected to (1st or 2nd-level connections) to find companies to target in your job search. Ask the people you’re already connected to to introduce you, which consists of sending a message on LinkedIn saying, “My former colleague Joe Shmo would like to connect to you on LinkedIn,” or some such wording, and they check off the option that matches how your connection knows you (you’re Joe Shmo in this scenario).
- When you want to apply to a particular company, do a company search on LinkedIn and see what current or former employees are in your network of connections. If several people come up who are not current connections, they’re probably connected to you by 2nd, 3rd, or 209th degrees (kind of like the Kevin Bacon game). You can connect with them in the aforementioned manner, and politely inquire as to relevant info about the company you’re interested in. Unless you’re connected to them by the 209th degree, in which case you’ll be staring at the LinkedIn screen until your eyeballs fall out.
- Follow companies you’re interested in on LinkedIn, and “like” a post here and there. It’s a good way to get your name floating around in their online subconscious, network your way in and keep updated on what they’re up to. If they have a page, but haven’t posted anything in 3 years, that’ll tell you something (like they need you desperately if you’re a social media manager, so hurray for you!).
- Join groups on LinkedIn that relate to your field. Make intelligent comments; share interesting and helpful info/links. This’ll help you build a positive reputation and possibly get you noticed by prospective employers or helpful contacts. So be sure to keep the embarrassing and insipid stuff to yourself.
- Open a Twitter account, with a job title and tagline that best represents you professionally. It will also help you build your rep, and employers do searches on Twitter too. (twitter too – I felt like Judy Garland for a minute there. Sans pills, though.)
- Use Twitter to follow employers you’re interested in and find info relevant to your field. Twitter’s about links – to job boards, to positions listed on company websites, to articles about what’s happening at a particular company or in a certain field, and anything and everything else you can possibly think of (and some things you’d rather not).
- Use Twitter’s job search function – Use keywords (yeah, that again). A ton of stuff will come up on you – some of it like the garlic pasta you had last night, but some useful links too, like job listings and company info.
- Better yet, use hashtags with keywords. If you’re not familiar with hashtags, it’s the Twitter term for putting a “#” before a keyword (as in #copywriting jobs), and is often used for events/tweets relevant to a specific topic. More relevant stuff will tend to come up than if you just use the keywords without the hashtags. Why, you ask? Beats the sh*t out of me.
- Tweet info relevant to your field, or links to other jobs for fellow job seekers. Be a helpful little twit. Sorry, just had to say that.
- Let your Facebook friends know you’re looking, and what you’re looking for, and what your particular areas of expertise are. Unless you’re currently employed and don’t want your employer to know you’re looking, in which case ix-nay on the obsearch-jay.