If you are job hunting, it’s almost certain that a hiring manager will check out your social media profiles if your resume has sparked their interest. In Jobvite’s most recent survey of recruiters, 92 percent said they use social media in the recruiting process. And 55 percent of recruiters say they’ve reconsidered hiring decisions based on what they’ve seen in a candidate’s online profile.
Collectively, social media profiles give a good glimpse of the applicant, both professionally and personally, which is no doubt why recruiters like looking at them so much. It’s imperative, therefore, to package yourself to sell well via social networks. Personal branding doesn’t have to be hard work, though. Following these three guidelines will help you maximize the sway of your branding efforts on social media:
Some brand consultants advise jobseekers to be all over the social media map, that is, to throw up a profile on every platform out there for broad exposure. Here is why that’s a bad idea: spreading yourself too thin will waste your time and have almost no effect. An overwhelming majority of hiring managers check out candidates in three places only: LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. That’s where you need to focus your efforts. Creating strong profiles and keeping content fresh on these platforms will serve you best, and it will save you time. Keep in mind that social media is just one part of your career search strategy. So keep it simple and concentrate your energy where it will have the most impact.
You’ve probably already done this exercise for the executive summary of your resume – identified your three unique selling points, or reasons why an organization would want to hire you. Transfer them to your social media profiles and make sure they shine through clearly and consistently. LinkedIn makes it easy to show your strengths in the “Summary” area. While Facebook’s aim is social, you can and should add your education, work history and professional skills to the “About” section. Twitter will challenge you to condense your specialties into 160 characters, but it can be done! For examples, look at the Twitter profiles of well-known leaders in your industry.
These platforms give you the opportunity to show the real “you” from different perspectives. LinkedIn is, of course, strictly business, and it’s great for displaying personal endorsements about your work, testimonials, a portfolio, and content you share that’s related to your professional niche.
Twitter lets you share relevant business content too, along with your brief commentaries, but it’s a wider net. You should also share links that speak to your interests beyond the office, such as community events, sports teams you follow and hobbies. Even tweet some (tastefully) humorous things. Just steer clear of negative rants, overly-political and religious themes and tweeting too often – especially during working hours.
Use Facebook to show your personal side, positively. Post about your travel, family activities, hobbies, and volunteer work. Hiring managers are interested in these things, too. Avoid overly personal details, selfies, and posting too frequently. These rules also apply when you comment on other’s posts. Remember that you can remove posts or comments on your Facebook page that are edgy. Always think: “What could a hiring manager infer from what’s on my page?” and act accordingly.
You’ll look more polished and organized if your social media profiles have a common look to them. For LinkedIn and Twitter, for example, use the same background/header photo. For all three platforms, use the same professional headshot as your profile photo. Your contact email should be consistent across social media, too, as should your name, in case you sometimes use a nickname.
Especially if you are in an active job search, keep the content you share fresh, and always check your grammar and spelling, even in informal posts. These things matter to a recruiter trying to learn more about you. Converse regularly with others in your industry niche through LinkedIn and Facebook groups, and with the people and organizations you follow on Twitter. This shows you’re engaged in your work and gives you the chance to demonstrate your knowledge of trending subjects.
While it’s important to show you’re using social media regularly to keep in touch with your network and learn new things, you shouldn’t go overboard. Share 20 tweets a day and you’ll probably come across to a recruiter as a person who’s wasting time at work or has no life outside the office. Create a system where you spend a short, concentrated amount of time each day or every other day updating your social media pages, and you’ll be more efficient. Then, devote the rest of your job-search time to other useful tactics.
Photo courtesy of Jason Howle/Flickr
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