expat network

Six Steps To Use Social Media In Your Job Search

Job Search
The world is increasingly turning to social media for its news as well as a way of keeping in touch with friends and family.  In the professional context it is also increasingly important especially on LinkedIn, which can be a great way to build new connections and a potential source of your next job.

Networking has always been at the root of good job searches.  There is no better source of job opportunity than people you have worked with or know personally.  Increasingly social media allows you to expand your network based on these existing relationships and using the power of social media to make connections with new people who can help you professionally and in your job search.

The question is how do you use your social media network to increase your chances of finding your next role?


1. Use Your LinkedIn Profile

Your LinkedIn profile is used by people to understand who you are and to assess your suitability for business connections, advice and for new roles.  Before you can use LinkedIn to expand your network you need to ensure you have a profile on LinkedIn that will support you in your job search as well as in your professional life generally.

You need to give a clear and positive image of yourself by completing all the details, paying particular attention to the About section and the Experience making your achievements clear.

It is also well worth ensuring that you get Recommendations and list your Skills and Endorsements.  A call to former managers, customers or other people you have done business with can get an endorsement or recommendation that lends credibility to your profile and helps to get you noticed.  It is the modern equivalent of an informal reference.


2. Facebook

You need to decide whether to use Facebook professionally as well as for your personal socialising.  On the plus side there are many groups that you can join that will enable you to join the conversations with people in your industry.  On the down-side you may wish to consider whether you want to share images with potential employers of you at a party.


3. Clean Up Your Act

Employers increasingly look at social media to assess candidates and many employers reject candidates after reviewing their social media profiles.   You will find that you have a presence online and it is worth removing embarrassing images or identifying controversial comments made on Twitter.  Awareness is important even if you cannot delete your comments on Twitter etc.

You should also use the privacy settings on your social channels to decide what you are happy to be made public.


4. Build Your Network

Once you have set yourself up on LinkedIn and on Facebook, if you decide to use it, you will need to build your network.  The first thing to do will be to connect with current and former colleagues and managers.  You should also identify all of your business connections whether they are customers, suppliers or other people in your industry that you have had dealings with.  Friends and alumni can be another good source of contacts, especially if they are in the same or a similar industry or role.

Once you have established an initial network you can branch out to find people you do not know.  You simply need to identify a connection such as having worked in the same industry or having spent time working as an expat in a similar location and use that common ground to suggest that you connect.

Building your network should be an ongoing task.  You should continue to look for people that are relevant to you and seek to connect so that you can access their connections to build an ever-wider network.


5. Use Networks Proactively

LinkedIn and Twitter provide the opportunity to engage with your network and through them with a wider group of people in your industry or in related fields.  By posting yourself to share articles you have written, talks etc and by commenting on or retweeting and commenting posts by other people you can demonstrate that you know what you are talking about and make a wider group of people aware of you.

By searching for popular trends and hashtags related to your field you can identify and join appropriate discussions and engage with thought leaders in your industry. This will help you to build credibility and your reputation and potentially get noticed by hiring managers and recruiters.  It also helps you to keep up to date on what is happening in your industry.

Forums like Quora and Reddit can also be both a source of information and an opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge and insight by answering questions related to your field of expertise.

You should always ensure that whenever posting, commenting or answering questions on different forums that you use appropriate language and avoid inappropriate or controversial political views (unless that is the profile you want to establish).

All of this together with your profile, endorsements etc will help to build your personal brand.


6. Research

Apart from providing the opportunity to build your network social media can be a great source to research target companies to find out which might be suitable for you, to identify key people in the organisation and to ensure that you have a good knowledge of them when you apply and attend interviews.

Companies and recruiters use LinkedIn and other online job boards to post even senior roles today and if you have done your research right you will know all about the company, their priorities and culture and you will know who you will be speaking to about the role.  If you have been truly effective in using social media they will also be aware of you.