Thanks to the strength of social media, most job seekers are polishing up their Facebook pages and Twitter accounts to attract potential employers. Social media networks are becoming the go-to for people looking to enter the job market; they’ve also become a controlled environment in which employers can find and screen candidates before extending an offer for an interview.
So, what does that mean for job seekers? How should you craft your social media accounts in order to put your best foot forward? And how can you use social media to land the job you want?
Getting your foot in the digital door
The Internet has changed drastically in the past decade: once a slow and unwieldy wild frontier, it’s now used for everything from entertainment to business and education. The Internet has also made it possible for people to communicate and exchange information instantaneously; instead of, say, mailing your resume to a human resources representative, an e-mailed or posted resume can be retrieved and read in minutes.
Because millions of people use the Internet every day, it’s important that you learn as much as you can about online communication etiquette. E-mailing your friends isn’t the same as e-mailing a company and inquiring about open positions—you’ll need a more formal tone, a clear and concise message detailing your intentions, and an e-mail address that’s both professional and easy to remember. A combination of your first and last name will work best for sending resumes and job inquiries.
Making your online presence known
Professional social networks like LinkedIn are steadily becoming the best place for job seekers and employers to find each other. With features like company profiles, professional groups and a built-in jobs message board, creating an account and maintaining it can give you the best shot at finding job opportunities. But your Facebook, Google+ and Twitter accounts can also serve as avenues by which you can meet peers in your field as well as potential employers.
It’s not enough to make sure that your pages and accounts are clean of compromising photos or other content; you’ll also want to pepper your profiles with information about your education, life experience, work history and specialized skills. Using LinkedIn’s recommendation feature can also give your colleagues a chance to put in a good word for you—so don’t be afraid to solicit some recommendations from classmates, instructors or former workmates. Place keywords into your LinkedIn profile so employers can find your profile quickly and easily, and if you create a website for yourself, be sure to add your contact information (both online and off) so companies can express their interest in you.
Using social media to advance your career isn’t new anymore, but there are still new ways to incorporate your real-life experiences and skills into your online persona. Invest some time and effort into making your social media profiles represent the best of what you have to offer.