There are so many social media options available to you as a recent grad to use for your job search. But which ones are more appropriate for building your professional online brand? In this post we review the most commonly used social media platforms and provide advice on how to use them to your best advantage for job searching.
LinkedIn and New Grads
LinkedIn is an excellent social media tool for experienced professionals. It allows users to highlight their skills, work experience and ask for recommendations. However a recent survey by Jobvite identified that while 94% of third party recruiters still use LinkedIn to find candidates, only 36% of candidates are actually using the site for active job searching.
Recently FoodGrads polled our own subscribers to find out what their usage of LinkedIn was. The results were somewhat underwhelming. 96% said they did have a profile. However, when we asked how useful they found the site, the feedback ranged from ‘useful’ to ‘only have an account because I was told I needed one’.
While having a profile on LinkedIn is still a must, it is becoming increasingly difficult to navigate for job searchers early in their careers. It is highly recommended that you don’t only rely on LinkedIn for your job searching strategy. Read on.
In 140 characters or less share a thought, add to a discussion, and speak to and hear from those you are most interested in.
Twitter provides several great opportunities for job seekers. Many companies will tweet job openings before they are posted anywhere else. That way they can identify candidates who have a genuine interest in their organization.
Twitter is also great for doing general job based research in your chosen field. By strategically selecting who you follow, you will gain insights from the heavy hitters in a given industry (or at least find out who those people are). Also, you can follow individuals in a particular role or company that interest you. Review these tweets to find out who they follow and what discussions they are interested in. Tweet your own comments and share relevant news to this network. These activities are great for professional brand building. What’s more is they allow you to participate in relevant conversations and pick up on trends in your industry such as company expansions and hiring trends.
Finally, if you want to have the job postings come to you on twitter, learn how to utilise hashtags. As most users know, Twitter allows you to search tweets based on the hashtags they contain. Look for commonly used hashtags like #graduatejobs, #hiring, #jobs etc to find postings that companies have tweeted. You can also use hashtags to promote yourself. Add tags like #HireMe, #Candidate or #JobSearching to your professionally relevant tweets.
Not just a place to post pictures of family or your recent vacation. Facebook is now the most popular place to search for employment. According to a recent Jobvite survey, 83% of job seekers in North America are using it for job searching. Previously known as a purely social site with many companies restricting access to Facebook at work, now most businesses have a presence there.
Users can create a professional profile as well as a social one by beefing up the section under Education and Employment. Just as Facebook allows users to create lists of “social” friends, a job seeker can use this feature to start a friends list that is purely for sharing professional news and insights. Look at your own current list of friends and add them to your professional list as you deem appropriate. Next, go in search of others you may have met in a more professional capacity. A professional list is useful for posting content on your own professional accomplishments, or those of the company you currently work for. You can also add comments to the posts of other “professional” friends, share articles that are relevant to your chosen field and like those companies that are playing in the space where you are searching for your next job.
Instagram, though not necessarily the most obvious choice for job seekers, can be a secret weapon in your job searching artillery. If you have identified several companies that you would like to work for then simply Google their name + Instagram, to find their Instagram account. If they don’t have an Instagram account, check out the company’s website for staff member names and Google these instead.
You can use the information you gather to find out about their working environment and company culture. Even better, the little titbits of information you pick up on Instagram can help you stand out in an interview. Imagine responding to the question “Why do you want to work for this company?” by referencing something relevant you found on social media. Instagram is currently very underutilized as a job searching medium and so it is unlikely that any other interviewee would have such a good response.
Last but definitely not least, use Instagram to identify of the environment and culture at an organization is right for you. A very oversimplified example of this might be if you are a non-drinking vegetarian but the company’s Instagram feed is full of pictures of staff getting together for beers and burgers. Maybe that environment isn’t the right one for you?
Snapchat, while not a new thing, is only a recent addition to those tools used for business. There are some fantastic stories about how people have used Snapchat to land their dream job. Read one job seeker’s story in this article from Fast Company. If you can get creative like this – go for it!
No article on any type of searching is complete without a reference to Google. Jobvite’s survey identified that 37% of job seekers use the search engine for finding vacancies. Many organizations post jobs on their own website or career page, they use internal referral programs and word of mouth to attract applicants as opposed to job boards. Applicant Tracking Systems are used to manage the applicants and you can use Google to uncover these vacancies. Here is a breakdown from The Under Cover Recruiter that highlights the most popular ATS systems and how to search them.
Google allows you to set up alerts which can inform you of expansion plans (resulting in jobs to fill), key personnel changes or news about specific companies. You can use this information to get your ‘foot in the door’ before the general public. GlassDoor published an article on using search strings on Google News to get a new job.
Do not post anything that may have a negative impact on your character or professionalism. A thorough hiring manager will check all your social media accounts. In addition, there is a fine line between professional persistence and spamming! You do not want to add professional stalker to your resume.
What has worked for you and what hasn’t? Do you know anyone that did something ‘out of the box’ that landed them their dream role or of an attempt that backfired? (if the attempt was yours, we promise not to judge—at least you tried)
Employers, do you have any tips or suggestions for new grads? Please share your comments and suggestions below.