If you’re not using social media as part of your job search, you’re missing the boat. It’s so common now that if you don’t have a social media profile, you have no chance of successfully penetrating the hidden job market. Especially among the younger set, social media is being used as a means to network with people who could help them connect with desirable employers.
Even if you’re highly resistant to using social media as part of your job search, you still absolutely must have a LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn is increasingly beginning to replace conventional resumes; in fact, many online job sites now request that users submit information for their LinkedIn profile.
Although LinkedIn is indisputably the most useful site for anyone who is seeking to connect and network with others in their field, don’t discount the potential of other social networking sites such as Facebook and Google+. Anyone in a field where it’s important to provide visuals as part of their resume will benefit from the photo-friendly nature of these sites. LinkedIn is more text-heavy.
You might think that a site where you can only post 140 characters would be useless for career development opportunities, but keep in mind that a lot of companies will post job opportunities on Twitter. If nothing else, you can get a feel for various companies, and maybe even some contact information.
Use Social Media Effectively
If you’re going to use social media to try to penetrate the hidden job market, be sure to use it all. Complete a profile at LinkedIn, and also on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter. Remember that the more information you make available, the easier it will be for potential employers to identify the talents and skills that could make you useful to their firm.
Network, but don’t be too obvious. For instance, Facebook and LinkedIn both allow former employees as well as colleagues to add their recommendations onto your profile. However, if it’s “you recommend me, and I’ll recommend you,” employers are going to be quick to spot that sort of thing. Be sure that recommendations are from people who actually know you and can vouch for your talents.
Keep it consistent. You should be the same person on Facebook as you are on LinkedIn. Employers want to get a feel for the real you, so they’re actually just as likely (if not more so) to check your Facebook as they are to look at your LinkedIn profile. If your LinkedIn profile is highly professional, but your Facebook tells a different story (maybe you’re a party animal?), this adversely affects your credibility. It could also result in fewer associates wanting to recommend you or network with you professionally.
There’s no getting away from using social media for networking—both personally and professionally; so make sure you have a presence, keep it professional, and use all the platforms that are available to you. When you’re trying to break into the hidden job market, it pays to stay connected.