Job hunting can be daunting. Finding the right company, with the perfect position, and a good culture can be a challenge. Whether you are a veteran in the job market, or getting out of college and searching for your first job, the process can be overwhelming. Some might say that the rise of social media, had made job searching more complex, adding more things to think about than just a polished resumé and well-written cover letter. I’m of the mindset that leveraging your social media can be a powerful tool, and help you land your dream job (especially in the digital marketing industry)
So, how do you ensure that your social media profiles look appealing to potential employers and how do you give yourself an extra advantage in a competitive market? Check out my tips (from an employer’s perspective) below:
Make sure your profile photo sends an accurate message about you
An application with a friendly and professional photo on LinkedIn is far more likely to get viewed than an application with no profile image or an anonymous avatar.
Beyond just job searching, seeing an immediate photo is much more appealing and people with LinkedIn photos are 21 times more likely to receive profile views and 9 times more connection requests.
Don’t just take advice on a photo from your family and friends, get unbiased feedback on your profile photo using photofeeler.com which is a super useful (and free) tool that allows people who don’t know you to rate your photo based on competence, likability and how influential you seem.
Here are the results of my test. Likable (yay)! but a little less competent and influential than I would have liked. Some of the comments talked about that I looked too casual in a t-shirt and would prefer if I was in something else. If I was applying for jobs, I would consider wearing something more professional.
In addition, ensure that you’re profile photo is visible on LinkedIn and adjust your privacy settings so that a potential employer can view your entire profile immediately. If you’re in a position where you’re job hunting you will want as much exposure as possible, so there really should be no reason to add privacy to your profile. (This might be something to consider on Instagram and Facebook, but not LinkedIn)
Connect with Employees of an Ideal Company
Don’t just connect with the hiring manager or CEO of a company on LinkedIn. Use the platform to start conversations with people in the organization who have a role similar to one(s) you are interested in. This will give you a more unbiased view of what it’s like to work at that company, as well as a better chance to start a conversation. If you have a specific role at a company in mind, find the person or people who are currently in this role and send them a message offering to take them to coffee or lunch, and learn about their role and their path to getting there. Chances are if a position becomes available, you’ll be top on the suggestion list to their boss.
Don’t hide your entire Facebook profile – and make any professional/ work related updates public
Participate in discussions on social media related to the industry you’re looking to get hired in. At the same time – “Like” the companies you aspire to work at on Facebook. This gives you a chance to learn more about their culture and what their team lis like and gives an extra shot of visibility to you.
Feel free to promote your portfolio or personal site on Facebook and give your Aunt Susan something to be proud of. Talking about your career goals and achievements on Facebook not only gives people a break from political rants and snapshots of their friend’s dog doing something “cute”, but it also can spark conversation and connections you didn’t know you had. For some of us, it’s been a long time since high school, and you never know where your lab partner from 10th grade is working now, which could be a great and relatively easy introduction (as long as you were a semi-decent lab partner).
Put your best foot forward
Use your social media to showcase how awesome you are. Yes, it can be annoying that there are so many profiles to maintain and things to consider, but using social media to put your best foot forward is a powerful tool. According to a 2018 CareerBuilder survey, 70 percent of employers use social media to screen candidates during the hiring process. Don’t let your social presence give employers a reason to question your ability to be a great employee. You don’t have to strip your profile of all personality, but first impressions do matter, and in an ever growing digital world, social media is very often the first impression you give.