Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Using Social Media to Get a Job

As more means of communication become available, different managers in different organisations have varying degrees of familiarity and ability with those media.  In short, some are tech-savvy, some dream of the time of parchment and quill pens.  

Unfortunately, for the job seeker, this means you have to cover all the bases to try and get your CV and job application in front of the recruiter: including sending a CV and covering letter printed on quality paper (100gsm) in a large, hard-backed envelope, with the address printed and not hand-written.

Screenshot from LinkedIn profile
Fortunately, however, more and more managers are embracing new technologies and trying to find out as much about prospective employees as possible in the shortest time possible. They do this by using the internet and social media in particular.  So, tips for the job-seekers are:

  1. Google yourself.  See what sites the first 10 links refer to and what images come up.  Are they suitable? Are they the kinds of links you would like a future employer to see? If not, do what you can to change the websites listed or remove images that are less than flattering.
  2. Manage your settings in Facebook to ensure no embarrassing information is public. 
  3. If you intend to specialise in a specific area, build your personal brand by posting comments and opinions both through Twitter and by creating a blog.  On Twitter follow people interested in the same subject area. Find interesting news and information on the subject and retweet it. Connect to people when relevant.  Blog on the subject, particularly if you have several years experience and are able to share insights into the issues affecting your industry.  Remember to keep everything professional – you want a future employer to find it and rate you on the strength of the information posted – and you need to ensure others who see the blog (including former employers, co-workers or clients) will not take offence.
  4. Build your profile on LinkedIn. This involves putting as much information as possible on the platform as you would on a CV – giving employment history, skills, responsibilities, achievements and so on.  List the university and post-graduate education... unless you’re very young, school information should not be relevant.  Ensure you have uploaded a photo and connect to all colleagues, former classmates, clients and other business contacts.  Get colleagues, former employers and clients to recommend you on LinkedIn. The more senior the person the better.
  5. Use LinkedIn and Twitter to connect to people in organisations that interest you.  If you see a vacancy in organisation ‘XYZ’ and a friend’s contact on LinkedIn works for ‘XYZ’, then ask your friend for an introduction through LinkedIn and, if granted, ask the contact, nicely, if they can give you any suggestions on how best to present yourself for the advertised role. What is the organisation looking for?  Who would you be working for?  Use social media as your future employer would and find out as much as possible about the organisation and the people you would be working for.  This will allow you to adapt your application and, hopefully, the interview, to show how you are a perfect fit with the company.

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