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Make Social Media Work for Your Job Hunt!
Don’t let your online persona get between you and that job! In fact, why not use it to your advantage?
If you think that recruiters are only looking at your LinkedIn account online, think again! Recruiters cross-check three or more different social media platforms to vet candidates.
In fact, as one of the most wired countries in Asia, Singaporean recruiters use social media more frequently, more extensively, and for more purposes than their counterparts in other Asia Pacific countries! Some recruiters in Singapore even use social media as a recruitment tool.
What this essentially means is that it’s time to take stock of your online persona and rebrand it if you hope to use social media as an asset to your job hunt!
Here are some guidelines to help you create a more recruitment-friendly online presence:
Formulas for Facebook
Are you on Facebook? Here’s how you can manage your profile so it won’t get in the way of your personal brand.
Go from Public to Private
Facebook sets your profile to “public” by default, so adjust that to accommodate your job hunt efforts. Customise your privacy settings by building specific “friend” lists so that only particular groups can access your entire page.
This way, not everything you post gets revealed to everyone.
Use a clean-cut headshot as your profile picture (yes, feel free to touch it up a little or apply a classy Instagram filter if you wish).
Make sure to keep it professional, so no Gwiyomi or rave poses, please!
Be careful about your friends tagging you in their own photos as well – always disable that option to be safe! Don’t let an unexpected tag of a wild night out with your friends ruin your shot at a position.
Use Facebook applications
Make use of Facebook apps such as BranchOut and BeKnown, which can help immensely in separating your personal and professional life on Facebook.
While you can start a new account on other sites for professional networking, doing so means that you’ll have to rebuild your contacts from scratch.
Using dedicated networking apps allows you to leverage off your existing Facebook network to link up with other applicants and recruiters.
Advertise yourself – literally!
Why not make a Facebook ad for yourself? It’s a less conventional method, but there have been success stories about job seekers who found their job by making a Facebook ad.
So if you’re adventurous, good at marketing yourself, and have some cash to spare, why not give this a try? (Google’s AdWords also provides the same service.)
Keep it personal!
Even though you’re overhauling your Facebook account to help your job search, remember that it’s still fundamentally a personal social medium!
Do not attempt to stalk recruiters or personnel from your targeted employers on Facebook, or make employment queries – prospective employers want to have their work-life balance as well!
Tips for Twitter
With only 140 characters to play with and a strong corporate association, Twitter is not just an effective networking tool, but also an efficient one! Most employers won’t mind “chomping down” on your bite-sized messages, even if they don’t know you.
Build up your profile
Pay special attention to your profile: the Twitter handle, bio, header image, and profile picture. If you’re going for the image of an accomplished graduate seeking for a position in law, @otakujunkie as your Twitter handle really isn’t the way to go.
Also, use the bio section to give a 160-character summary of your interests and your current profession.
Be professional, and use keywords so that it can be easily found during searches. A law graduate may want to include words like “law”, “barrister”, or “lawyer” in their profile.
Additionally, link your Twitter bio to your blog, online portfolio, or LinkedIn account so that potential employers who visit your profile can easily find out more about you.
“Follow” and learn
Follow people who are of interest to you, especially individuals working for your targeted employers and influential figures in your field. This will keep you informed about the latest news and trends within the sector, or about goings-on with specific employers.
Build your fanclub
Start building your followers too – they’re a great source of networking contacts. Still, be careful not to get too obsessed with the popularity game – it’s the quality, not quantity, of your followers that you’re looking for.
Retweet and comment
Don’t just observe and read tweets! Build your presence by retweeting and adding your own comments.
If an employee mentions feeling happy due to achieving a milestone within the company, congratulate him or her.
Make sure that your messages are relevant, and not too personal. Commenting about an article on industry trends is OK, but not “Wow you look hot in that gown at the company dinner!”
Make good use of the tag (@) and hashtag (#) functions. Direct messages or relevant links to @johndoe and @janeroe to bypass gatekeepers and to get their attention.
Use hashtags (e.g. #lawandorder, #jobsearch) to be kept in a conversation. Organisations also sometimes run hashtag campaigns to promote themselves, so try to take part if you can!
A lot of Twitter users tweet external links, where they can express themselves more unambiguously. Make sure you curate these for libellous or offensive content before retweeting them!
Watch out for bugged links meant to hijack your Twitter feed as well. You don’t want your contacts to start receiving promotions for “male enhancement pills.”
Lessons for LinkedIn
LinkedIn is the most professional of all social media sites, and most employers use it these days to source for potential candidates. Here are two main criteria to having a successful LinkedIn account so you don’t miss out:
Use the right keywords
As you fill out your profile and summary, remember to use common search terms so that your profile will appear when employers search for potential applicants.
If you want to promote yourself as a food reviewer or a chef, for instance, don’t introduce yourself as a “culinary maven” – fancy, but no one will know what that means.
Get some recommendations
Try persuading your former supervisors, lecturers, part-time colleagues, or friends to give you a skill recommendation. Having a thumbs-up icon or a “+1” to your skill definitely adds to your credibility.
Post and share
Don’t just stop at starting an account and accumulating endorsements! Use LinkedIn as a sharing ground – if you find any interesting titbit of information, post it up so your network can benefit from them too.
Take the opportunity to demonstrate how well-read you are too!
Make a comment
Make sure that you take note of what your contacts post up in their profiles, and respond to them – intelligently! Comments will help you build your LinkedIn persona: your ideas, values, beliefs, and so on.
Many recruiters are known to look through your comments to other people’s posts in addition to your own posts and profile, just to cross-check your projected personality.
Write on Pulse
Level up by contributing content to LinkedIn Pulse, an application that lets you self-publish articles regarding business (and other related) matters on LinkedIn.
Aside from using the platform to share your opinions and to showcase your critical thinking skills, this could also serve as your writing samples. Think of it like a blog – just business-related.
Other than that, network on LinkedIn as you would in other social media channel: import your contacts from your e-mail and other sites, and continue to build on them as professional relationships.
Who knows? Your dream job offer might just be lying in there somewhere!
Fishing for endorsements!
Getting recommendations and endorsements for your skills, as well as opportunities to connect people is important, but never stoop to begging or stalking your contacts for them.
Instead, approach them with polite messages and send a couple of reminders after your first message. Remember to return the favour if they do it for you, but don’t spam them with emails if they don’t.