Everyone’s talking about using social media for job-hunting. But how, exactly, should you do that? Here are 10 smart and strategic ways to network your way into a job using three popular online tools: Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
1. Let people know you’re looking.
Whether on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter, let your friends and followers know that you’re looking for a job. Even better, tell them what type of job you’re looking for. They may not know of any openings right now, but if they know you’re available, they’ll think of you when a position opens up. That will help you hear about openings before they’re listed on popular job boards.
2. Don’t be afraid to network on Facebook.
Facebook may be for fun, but don’t make the mistake of overlooking your network there, especially if you already have hundreds of friends. Facebook can sometimes be more useful for job hunting than LinkedIn, because friends who know you personally have more of a stake in helping you. They want you to succeed—so use that to your advantage.
3. Make sure your Facebook profile is private.
Much of your Facebook profile is public by default, and you probably don’t want a potential employer browsing your personal updates. Under Account, then Privacy Settings, choose “Friends Only.” That way, an employer who Googles you won’t be able to see the details of your profile, your photos, or your personal status updates.
4. Find information about hiring managers.
Before you submit your resume, look up the hiring manager on LinkedIn and Twitter. (If he’s smart, he’ll make his Facebook profile private.) LinkedIn profiles and Twitter feeds are gold mines of information on individuals. Knowing more about the person who’s hiring can help you tailor your cover letter to their needs and desires.
5. Hyperlink your resume.
Add the URL for your Twitter handle and LinkedIn profile to your contact information on your resume. (But don’t add your Facebook profile, since that’s private.) Not only does this offer the employer another way of getting in touch with you and seeing how you interact online, it also shows that you’re social media-savvy, a skill valued by many employers.
6. Be strategic with Facebook lists.
Facebook’s list feature allows you to continue building your network without worrying about professional contacts seeing your personal updates. Under Account, then Friends, create a new list, and customize your privacy settings so professional friends can only see what you want them to see. That way your close friends can still keep up with your photos and personal updates.
7. Create the connections you need to get the job.
It’s all about who you know, right? Don’t just use the connections you already have. Figure out who you need to know to land a certain job—likely the hiring manager—and make that connection, whether by getting them to follow you on Twitter by retweeting their tweets, or growing your LinkedIn network until they become a third-degree connection. Twitter in particular offers opportunity to connect with professionals who might not otherwise give you the time of day.
8. Get Google on your side.
If don’t like what pops up when you Google yourself (because you know an employer will Google you), create a LinkedIn profile. Fill out your profile completely and become active on the network. That will help push your profile to the top of Google’s search results, which means a potential employer will see what you want them to see.
9. Join industry chats on Twitter.
Look for chats that revolve around your industry, or better yet, the industry you want to work in. Joining online conversations helps you keep up-to-date on the industry, meet helpful contacts, and showcase your expertise in your field. You may also want to network with other job seekers through weekly conversations like #jobhuntchat or #careerchat.
10. Seek out job-search advice.
All three of these networks are great places to find advice on job-hunting and mingle with other job seekers. Join LinkedIn groups that focus on job search. Follow career experts on Twitter, and “like” their pages on Facebook. That way you’ll get tips for your search even when you’re not looking for them. You can find U.S. News Careers on Facebook and on Twitter.
By Alexis Grant
This is one of those attention-getting ones.
According to , more than half of all employers (51 percent) who use social media for background information on potential employees are finding things that cause them to NOT hire the candidate, and that is up from 43 percent last year and 34 percent in 2012.
Social media hurting more and more candidates
Yes, you read that right: the number of employers that pass on job candidates because of something they found about them on social media is sharply rising.
What makes this even more troubling is that more and more employers are turning to social media as a source of information on job candidates, with 43 percent using these sites for background checks, up from 39 percent last year and 36 percent in 2012.
In other words, all the stuff you've heard about how stuff posted on social media can come back to bite you is true — and is damaging more and more job candidates every year.
“It’s important for job seekers to remember that much of what they post to the Internet – and in some cases what others post about them – can be found by potential employers, and that can effect their chances of getting hired down the road,” said at CareerBuilder, in a press release about the survey.
She added: “Job seekers need to stay vigilant, and pay attention to privacy updates from all of their social networking accounts so they know what information is out there for others to see. Take control of your web presence by limiting who can post to your profile and monitoring posts you've been tagged in.”
Employers don’t just utilize social networks when it comes to researching job candidates’ on the Internet. Some 45 percent of employers use search engines such as Google for research, with 20 percent saying they do so frequently or always. Additionally, 12 percent of employers say they’ve reviewed a potential job candidate’s posts or comment on rating sites such as , or other ratings sites.
What employers are finding online
If people haven’t gotten the message that what they put up on social media can come back to bite them big time, maybe they’ll get it now.
So, just what was it that employers are finding on social media sites that makes them decide to pass on a job candidate? :
- photographs or information – 46 percent;
- J or using drugs – 41 percent;
- or fellow employee – 36 percent;
- – 32 percent;
- related to race, gender, religion etc. – 28 percent;
- about qualifications – 25 percent;
- from previous employers – 24 percent;
- r – 22 percent;
- – 21 percent;
- – 13 percent.
Some employers finding good information, too
There is a bit of good news in this survey, however: one-third (33 percent) of employers who research candidates on social networking sites said they found content that made them more likely to hire a candidate. What’s more, nearly a quarter (23 percent) found content that directly led to them hiring the candidate, up from 19 percent last year.
, which was conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder from Feb. 10 to March 4, 2014, included a representative sample of 2,138 hiring managers and HR professionals, and a representative sample 3,022 full-time, private sector workers across industries and company sizes.
John Hollon is Vice President for Editorial of TLNT.com, and the former Editor of Workforce Management magazine and workforce.com.