At its inception, social media was largely viewed as a virtual playground, of sorts, reserved for teens and young adults looking for new ways to connect with others. However, social media has since evolved into a go-to platform utilized by billions of people–of all ages and backgrounds–from around the globe. While many of the interactions are, indeed, personal and social in nature, both job seekers and companies have come to realize these powerful platforms as a legitimate part of the job search and networking process. Following, then, are three practical tips you can use right away to incorporate social media into your job networking strategy.
1. Create a complete and professional profile.
According to a November 2013 article in Forbes Magazine, social media is being utilized more and more by employers–not simply as a method for pre-screening but as an important recruitment tool. As such, you should remember that social media profiles often default to public profiles. If you share personal updates through your social media profile, assure that privacy settings are in place for personal updates, and that your public updates are professional. Also, take the time to post a professional picture (perhaps a headshot) on your profile, rather than simply leaving the generic silhouette attached to your account.
2. Don’t Limit Your Platforms to LinkedIn
While LinkedIn has established itself firmly as a great platform for business networking, do not overlook other platforms. Facebook has the largest number of active users with one billion active users, according to a January 2014 infographic published by Leverage Media. Google Plus follows with 540 million active users and Twitter has 241 million active users. Facebook is emerging in the job networking and recruiting space while Google Plus (and Google Hangouts) offer tremendous opportunities for networking more directly. Twitter is being utilized by employers to advertise job postings; however, job seekers should take time to learn the delicate art of communicating professionally and effectively using the Twitter-imposed 140-character limit.
3. Set Yourself Apart With Interesting and Engaging Content
Regardless of which platforms you choose, let your social media friends know you’re looking. Those friends are invested in your success and can keep an eye out for opportunities in your field. But don’t stop there. Instead, offer interesting insight relating to your industry, including information related to new trends in the profession. This can help set you apart from the next person with similar experience.
In conclusion, adding social media to your networking strategy is simply smart, and with these strategies, you can begin separating yourself from other candidates right away.