Separating yourself from the rest of the pack in a job search can be a tricky business. With jobs becoming hotly contested, you need to use everything you've got to be noticed. Thankfully, with recruiters and employers now using the Web to aid their search, there are a lot of things you can do to improve your chances and impress. Therefore, we've outlined a number of things you can do to help you stand out online.
Keep Up To Date With What's Happening
Chances are you're doing this already, but it's vital to keep up to date with the major talking points in the industry. A good way of condensing all this info is to create an RSS feed to help you organise your content. Google Reader is the most popular choice, but there are other RSS readers out there that will help you out. This way you will have all your content together that you can keep up to date with your chosen profession.
However, not everyone knows what blogs to follow so this will require a little bit of research. Thankfully there are a number of helpful lists out there that will get you started. For example, the AdAge Power 150
is a collection of the best marketing blogs in the world so if you're interested in social media, advertising and marketing, these blogs are the ones to subscribe to.On top of that, there are many news aggregation apps out there for iPhone, Android and iPad that will suggest content to you based upon your reading habits. These can be very helpful if you're subscribed to a number of sites and want to find more examples.
Start A Blog
If you're in any way serious about getting hired using social media, then you need to have a blog. Treat it as your own personal page as prospective employers will visit it when they're researching you. Make sure you've linked to other links like your Twitter and LinkedIn accounts, any examples of previous work and your previous experience.
The purpose of the blog works in two ways: It gives you an opportunity to show off your knowledge and through regularly updating it, it shows that you have your finger on the pulse. Whether your interest is, be it marketing, business, finance, technology, etc., use it as the main focus of your blog and work from there.
Once you've done that, you need to be consistent with your output so if you never had a blog before, aim for one post a week. Set a deadline and stick to it. This way, you will have plenty of time to prepare your first few posts, and the gentle introduction will help you get into the habit. Once you feel you've gotten used to it, you can start increasing your output to two or three posts a week. Writing is a habit. If you're not used to it and you start by write every day, you'll quickly fall out of the habit. Build it up and once you feel confident, increase the number.
Even if you have experience writing, a second pair of eyes can pick out many mistakes and highlight any errors you might be making regularly. Try to get a friend that you trust to look at the first few posts you write and ask for their opinion. This is important as you want to iron out any mistakes before they turn into habits.
Create An About.me Page
Not essential, but still useful to have. About.me is effectively an online CV, but unlike LinkedIn, which is all about connections, about.me is stylish and brings together all your social media profiles and experiences together. The format is quite simple, come up with a catchy heading that sums up you, write out a bio about your experiences (keep it relatively short) and link to your social media profiles and blog. That way, you can link it to your different social media profiles and make it a central hub for you.
This is vain, we'll admit, but it's good to know what comes up when people do type your name into that search bar. Once you do this, you will see your name and all your social profiles appearing. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and your blog (if you have one) will be the first to come up.
When somebody wants to get a snapshot of who you are, this is the screen they will see so it's a good idea to get your house in order first so that potential employers will get a good impression when they research you. Here's what you should keep in mind:
Twitter allows you access to any industry you may be stood outside looking in on in a way that could never possibly be attained before social media's rise to prominence. It is best to find out the most influential and important figures in your area of interest/expertise and also find out who they themselves are following, so you can get a greater and more in-depth sense of the conversation as well as the biggest, latest news in your field.
By following the right people and making yourself a virtual part of the right circles, you can keep up to date with the ongoing conversation, and, when you feel confident enough, join in that conversation by interacting with the heavy-hitters you are following. You'll want to follow a substantial number of people - approximately 200-400 - so you can get the greatest cross-section of views/opinions and so you can view conversations as they happen.
LinkedIn is the social media platform most overtly geared towards gainful employment, so shameless promotion doesn't even have to be thinly-veiled. It is important to update your account and fill-in all the necessary details to ensure your profile is 100% complete.
Fortunately, LinkedIn will pester you with reminders until your profile is sufficiently informative. It is also important that you treat LinkedIn with the same care as you would your CV and with the same sincerity you would a job interview - that means, among other things, not deploying legendary holiday snaps as profile pictures.
Interaction is also vital, so you should scope out popular and influential groups and join them with an eye to finding out about job opportunities and making connections. All industries have some presence of LinkedIn, so you can get ahead by harnessing the combined influence and experience of the millions that inhabit the site.
Facebook is a minefield for the unemployed. As the most popular social networking site, it tends to be a catch-all for embarrassing photos, bad language, controversial views and all manner of NSFW things that you would probably never mention to a potential employer. Thankfully, the privacy settings are easily modulated to keep your more unsavoury Facebook activities out of public view. You can also choose how much access apps have to your public profile to prevent them from posting on your wall, if you would like to.
Facebook is admittedly the most 'social' social media platform, in that you are more likely to use it exclusively for interacting colloquially with friends, so, when it comes to cleaning your profile up for professional consumption, it is really more about damage control than anything else. If you want to use Facebook without worry, be vigilant in your usage of the privacy settings; otherwise, have the presence of mind to consider the professional ramifications before posting or 'liking' anything.
Network, Network, Network
Years ago, you would have printed off a pile of CVs and pounded the pavements looking for opportunities and talking to recruitment agencies. Luckily, there is a better solution now and you can do it from the comfort of your own home. Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook provide unbelievable networking opportunities and although it might seem like hard work at first, you could be instantly striking up conversations with CEOs of companies within minutes. That just wouldn't happen in the real world so make sure you use it to your advantage.
Employers advertise so why shouldn't job seekers. You have all sorts of targeting available to you via all the social platforms. Facebook allows you to target ads at specific companies, while LinkedIn goes a step further and lets you send InMail to anyone on the site for a price. While these methods require you to pay for the privilege, it could open doors for you.
Read This Book
Reid Hoffman is probably one of the smartest people out there - being one of the founders of LinkedIn - and his new book, The Start-up Of You, was released earlier this year and is a must read. He encourages job seekers to think of themselves as a startup and says:
"The career escalator is jammed at every level. Unemployment rates are sky-high. Creative disruption is shaking every industry. Global competition for jobs is fierce. The employer-employee pact is over and traditional job security is a thing of the past. Here, LinkedIn cofounder and chairman Reid Hoffman and author Ben Casnocha show how to accelerate your career in today's competitive world. The key is to manage your career as if it were a start-up business: a living, breathing, growing start-up of you."
It's certainly a new way of thinking and with the world order changing, it could be the best few euros you ever spent. You can find his book on Amazon, where you can purchase it as a hardback, paperback or ebook.
Guides and Advice
Here are a selection of other resources you can use to help your search:
- BU Today look at how social media is changing the recruitment industry and helping employers become more efficient when filling positions.
- The New York Post gives a few handy tips about how to use social media to your advantage as well as making connections.
- The Atlantic takes a look from the employer's perspective, looking at the reasons why they look at social profiles and the reasons why they mightn't hire you. All through the medium of infographics.
- Inc. gives employers tips about how to use social media as a tool for recruitment, giving you an idea of what they'll look for.
- Austin Gunter gives a brilliant overview of the reason why social media will get you a job (clue: It's about connections) and offers some quick guidelines about how you can optimise your Twitter, LinkedIn and about.me page.
- Media Bistro present another infographic, this time analysing what hiring managers will look at when they're screening candidates.
- Forbes look at how social media is changing the hiring process and speaks to Chirag Nangia, CEO of recruitment tool Reppify about this trend.
Click on the image or click here to see the most creative job applications on social media and the Web.
comments powered by