You’re likely already on your Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat all the time anyway. So, why not let social media work for you to get recruited? When you’re looking for a new job, you can make a good (or bad) impression online. But not to fear, there are also great ways you can use your online presence to get you hired. Along with fresh advice from recruiting experts, here’s how you get recruited on social media.
Where to Begin? You Already Have!
Despite what even the most “offline” of us think, you do have an online presence (and that presence contributes to your personal brand. Even if you don’t use Facebook or the ‘gram, it’s likely that you still exist digitally. Try it: Google yourself. You’ll find one of two things: Either you’re tagged or mentioned in a few work or personal life things like a friend’s blog, an online article, or even just a company staff page. Or you’ll find that someone with the same (or similar) name as you has a robust online presence. Now when you’re looking for work, it’s likely that any recruiter or potential new employer is going to do what you just did: Google your name. Do you want to control what they find by putting current and accurate details about yourself online? Or do you want to leave it to chance?
Yep, it’s really a no brainer there. You need to get out ahead of what someone might find about you online — especially if you want that someone to hire you.
Where to Start with Your Social Media Presence
Having a good online presence just adds to your legitimacy as a candidate. Recruiters and HR staff will make sure you really are who you say you are by doing a couple of quick searches online.
“You’d probably Google the name of a blind date, right,” asks Beth Luberecki in the Washington Post. “Employers and business owners do the same thing with potential candidates or clients. If you don’t have a LinkedIn page, you might look less legitimate, no matter what experience and accolades you’ve racked up. A lackluster profile can be just as bad.”
If you focus on only one place for your career-boosting social account, make it LinkedIn. Potential employers not only use it as a “first stop” for checking out a candidate, but it also can be used to autofill your work history on those annoying online applications. Since LinkedIn allows you to show off your career history/resume as well as make connections, store recommendations, and update your work life in real-time, it’s the likely place for one-stop reality checks by employers or recruiters.
“You have to make your LinkedIn profile say something about you,” said Tara Hurley, Director of Learning and Development at Advanced Group (and avid LinkedIn user). “Recruiters are going to Google you, and your LinkedIn profile is going to come up and that’s going to make an impression on them.”
Don’t Do Just the Minimum, Either
We’ve all stumbled on half-completed profiles, blogs with only one post (five years ago) and other partial glimpses into a person’s online presence. Imagine you’re a recruiter and when they pull up your LinkedIn profile, you have a few half-hearted attempts at a job history, no photo and an ancient job title. It’s important for you to complete what you’re starting online, especially in places that might be the first stop for HR.
With over 645 million users worldwide, LinkedIn requires you to do some work to stand out among the pack. The best way you can do this is by explaining your unique qualities as well as you can. This means doing a few things, like:
- Be specific: Use numbers to talk about your accomplishments as much as possible.
- Use examples from your life: Nobody is you but you, so talk about how your work projects lead to increased sales or an improvement in efficiency.
- Get those references: If you can get a coworker or boss to write a review, and they need some help, prompt them with examples from work you did together so they can be as specific as possible about your awesomeness.
You’ll also be favored in outside site search rankings if you complete your profile. “Just like LinkedIn, online search engines such as Google prefer 100% complete LinkedIn profiles and rank them higher as a result,” notes Pauwels Consulting. “So completing your profile will improve your online visibility and findability outside LinkedIn too!”
Don’t Let Your Career (Profile) Sit Idle
One of the biggest mistakes candidates make with their profiles is they let them sit stagnant. You might ask, “But my job hasn’t changed, so why should I touch my profile?” Well, the answer is you want to look dialed-in and engaged to anyone looking at your profile page. And that doesn’t have to mean updating your job history, you can make small updates to other sections, or more. Once you’re “done” making your profile complete, you’re just not really done.
Career coach Paula Brand noted in a recent newsletter that she took little steps to brush up her profile this summer. “I recently changed my summary and background image (my beach picture turned into asters),” she wrote. “Last year, I updated my headline and in the near future, I plan to update my headshot. The other day, I had the idea to add my year of travel as an entry under experience.”
Other ways you should be optimizing your profile are in the little things, namely keywords. Hurley points out that your summary and keywords should appear at the top of your profile to better direct recruiters searching for the best candidates.
Your profile could be evolving as your industry evolves. At the very least, think about updating or adding to:
- Your profile title: It doesn’t have to just be a few words. How would you best explain all the different hats you wear at your job?
- Your profile keywords: Add to these in smart ways so that a recruiter using LinkedIn as a search platform can find you (i.e., the perfect candidate for the job they’re trying to fill).
- Your summary: This might be the hardest part, because it’s the longest and it’s all about talking about yourself and what you can do for a new company. Take it slow, and if you need to tweak it over time (maybe your career goals change, or your abilities improve) feel free to edit!
Don’t Think Nobody Notices Your Actions Online (or Lack Thereof)
Engagement is a great way to make waves and make new connections — before you’re looking for a new job. You want to be a known entity in groups pertaining to your career, by posting interesting topics or replying to topics in smart ways.
You can use your engagements and networking to get the inside scoop on jobs in advance. “You want to be networking and finding out about it before it gets posted,” says Brand in the Washington Post. “There are definitely recruiters who hang out in certain groups for their industry just to see who speaks intelligently and who’s active.”
You want to know what’s going on in your career area, but also with companies you might want to work for. Do this by engaging them on social media.
“If you’re a job seeker and you’re interested in working for certain companies, follow them,” Hurley said. “Follow the recruiters or the department heads you want to work with. If they’re active on LinkedIn – if someone likes your post and it’s not someone who I’m not friends with I immediately go and look them up. It’s flattery, right?”
“If I was a job seeker with expertise in UX, then I would follow those hashtags on LinkedIn and join the conversation,” she said. “Even if you’re not posting a lot, there’s a lot of influencers or thought leaders who have done a lot of work through commenting on a lot of people’s posts.”
You want to make sure that those recruiters have an idea that you’re the real deal by your thoughtful engagement and posts online. This could mean small things like:
- Posting an outside article on a topic you think is important to your industry.
- Writing your own few paragraphs on a current idea or newsworthy item from your company (public-facing, of course, not inside knowledge that shouldn’t be shared).
- Posting about a topic you learned about at a recent conference, or liveblogging a panel or webinar you enjoyed.
- Engaging by responding to someone who comments on your online posts (this can also easily lead to more connections that can mean something).
If you keep your name in the public eye, you help to keep your name at the top of that short-list in a recruiter’s brain when it comes time to fill a new position.
“A lot of recruiting is timing,” said Hurley. “Like a real estate agent – you could be the best in your region – but if I just moved or I’m really happy in my house, I don’t need you. With recruiters and company brands, it’s the same thing. How do you stay in someone’s periphery so they think of you when they need you – when the time is right.”
Keep Up With New Innovations in the Platform
You might have noticed that a lot of folks are publishing videos on LinkedIn lately. You’re not wrong to think that’s different. LinkedIn rolled out “native video” a few years ago, and according to Hurley, it’s a great way to get noticed by recruiters and others using the platform.
“I posted a few long-form articles on LinkedIn through their article publisher and I got like 15-30 views,” Hurley said. “I went to a conference and they said do video. I wasn’t too enthusiastic to do that. But I posted a video and it’s insane. I now get like 2,000 views. It’s the way their algorithm is working.”
“Think of it as a quick video bio,” she said. “It doesn’t have to be long, or overly creative (it’s not an audition) — just 30 seconds of talking about yourself. ‘Hey my name is __. I do this…I’ve been doing it for X years.'”
The ideal situation is a recruiter would be to find a complete profile on LinkedIn and maybe an asset added that’s a video,” she added. “To see someone, hear them, get to know them and their values. It just accelerates the whole process.”
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