Leveraging the Social Media: 5 Ideas For Your Job Search

Unemployment rates at 50 year highs. New college graduates moving back in with Mom and Dad. Things are bad out there and jobs are scarce, so where does a savvy job-seeker start? Monster and CarrerBuilder have plenty of listings as does Craigslist, but cruising the job boards is a passive approach: you watch the listings and send in that cover letter and resume when you see one that looks right for you. But, instead of waiting for an employer to publish that ‘perfect’ job description, I recommend the livelier approach: focus on the the active verb in “job search” and start making your own opportunities, start opening your own doors, and start creating your own luck.

Social media platforms provide wonderful channels for an active job search strategy and you can start today. To get the most from these I have 5 tips as well as some specifics pointers for the various platforms:

1. Update your profiles. Accurately reflect your experience, your background and your strengths. Oh, and be sure to get rid of those party pictures from sophomore year. Put your best professional face forward; remember recruiters and hiring managers will be checking out your pages and you should do anything you can to make their decision easier
– Facebook: Choose a great professional-looking photo for your profile to increase your credibility.
– LinkedIn: Make sure that you complete your entire profile so that it shows up on free searches
– Twitter: pitch yourself via your bio, include links to an online resume or CV, even design a new background for your Twitter account to take advantage of all that great real estate to aid in the sale.
– Pinterest: Post your resume, portfolio items, even press clippings to a pinboard titled “Job Search” or some such. Then do the share thing: publish links to your pinboard on your website, your business cards and your resume; be sure tweet it regularly and link to it via FB and LinkedIn.

2. Be social. Every study shows that the best way to get a job is to leverage your existing networks. Put yourself out there – make sure that your friends and associates on all of your networks know you are in the hunt. Lastly, take a risk and reach out to anyone who you think might positioned well to help you – relatives, friends, friends of friends, ex-colleagues – anyone.
– Facebook: Friends, friends, friends. The more you have the more chances you will hear of a new opening and the more people out there who know you are looking. Lots of friends equals lots of opportunity.
– LinkedIn: Join and participate in industry-relevant groups – let people see you active and responsive.
– Twitter: The general rule is that you should follow those who provide value and that you should provide value  in return. In the job search universe, this still holds true – follow people who could lead to that great opportunity and in turn provide them with equal value to help you to stand out.

3. Set yourself apart. When you learn of a job via your SM efforts, be sure that you are right for the job and then start explaining exactly why. Match the tone and style of your communication – whether a cover letter, a formal application, or even a simple Tweet of inquiry – to the job you are applying for.
– LinkedIn:  Use your profile headline to communicates about you and not just your job title.
– YouTube/Vimeo: Use your videos to be memorable – the video at the top of this article was sent to us unsolicited by a young man named Judson Collier who learned of an opening at crowdSPRING via one of our tweets and went above and beyond in letting us know how and why he would be a great fit.

4. Leverage the platforms. Use them for what they’re best at – YouTube is where people go to view videos; Twitter for short communications and to disseminate bits of news about yourself; Facebook is wonderful for content that will help someone get a fuller picture of you, etc, etc.
– Facebook: Use the limited access Friends list and adjust your custom privacy settings to control the information you make public.
– LinkedIn: Use the Professional Summary section to provide even more detail about who you are
– Twitter: Use Twitter search terms such as “Hiring” or “Jobs” and check the results constantly or even create an RSS feed for these tweets.

5. Engineer your opportunities. Use SM to research the companies, positions, and people you are trying to win
– LinkedIn: Add lots of connections in order to increase your first-degree connections in places you want to work. Also, ask friends and colleagues to recommend you to ensure that you look like the top candidate you are.
– Twitter: Follow people in your industry; If you don’t, you will never see their tweets about jobs for people like you.
– YouTube/Vimeo: Before the big interview poke around and see what you can learn about your interviewer – do they have a channel they like? If you have a bit of special knowledge that you can drop in the interview, it will make you stand out.