In the new digital age, social media needs to be part of any job search strategy for individuals looking to evolve their career. However, it’s important to note that social media when utilised on its own is not as influential as using these networks as part of an overall strategy that harnesses all elements of the job search mix (job boards, internet, traditional media, researching companies etc.). And although more of us our using social media in our career, we are still seeing the same basic mistakes, some of which we have highlighted here in the do’s and don’ts of social media.
- Complete your profile and participate
It’s one thing to sign up to a social media channel but it’s another to actually participate. Don’t join these networks if you aren’t going to dedicate the time to participate and maintain your presence. And once signed up your first task should be to make sure that your profile is fully completed. Otherwise you risk giving potential employers the impression that you can’t finish what you’ve started.
- Promote your personal brand
Social media and blogging offers you the unique opportunity to create an online identity and to develop a personal brand for yourself in the industry. Do this by contributing to and starting your own discussions on various groups/pages that interest you and are relevant to your career. Offering a relevant and interesting point-of-view on a key topic or challenge in the industry is a good way to get yourself noticed and build a following.
- Be professional at all times
When it comes to your profile - don’t be flippant or too clever to try and make yourself stand out. Always stay professional - don’t use your nickname on your signup email address and if posting an image of yourself make sure you look presentable. Remember - the purpose behind utilising these networks is to get yourself noticed professionally and not to get a few laughs. You need to realise that recruiters are using these platforms to get a better understanding of you and your brand.
- Build your network
It’s estimated that around 30% of jobs in the industry are visible online. This means that a significant 70% aren’t. Therefore, you need to work on building and maintain your network on social media. You may be able to use these contacts in the future to find hidden jobs and opportunities which fit in with your career ambitions.
- Forget privacy
Make use of the privacy settings available on social media channels and don’t assume that what you put on your profile will necessarily be private. Don’t put anything on these channels that you wouldn’t want a potential employer to see. Embarrassing updates, pictures and posts have a way of coming back to haunt you if you’re not careful.
- Connect with everyone
When it comes to your network, remember that quality is more important than quantity. Before making connections consider what you have in common with that person. How can they help you and how can you help them? Don’t send out generic and impersonal LinkedIn invites to industry contacts who you’ve never spoken to before - this won’t help you get a job.
- Do too much
Doing too much and with little consideration of what you’re saying may damage your personal brand. Posting everywhere and spamming people’s inboxes asking for a job is not going to do anything positive for your career- it’s more likely to damage your reputation in the industry.
Don’t use social media to be lazy and don’t expect other people to do the work for you. It is inevitably hard work finding a job – if it was easy we would all have one and it wouldn’t be an issue.
Sending a few emails and updating a few of your social media networks does not constitute a job search strategy. So remember that although social media can be an effective tool in career-building, these channels should only make up a small part of this. Don’t get distracted from other crucial ways of developing your career- social media is not the magic solution.