During one of my previous job hunts, I found a gig that seemed pretty much perfect. They were located in a great area, offered a competitive salary and benefits package, and seemed like a fun place to work. The only problem was their complete and utter lack of interest in me.
The only problem was their complete and utter lack of interest in me.
I tailored my resume for days, poured my heart into a cover letter, and had a nice phone conversation with the hiring manager, but after a few weeks I realized they weren’t biting. I needed to try something else before the opening was filled.
So rather than pining away for a callback, I got proactive. I did some deep diving on LinkedIn and Facebook, found an alumnus from my alma mater who had worked at the company several years before and asked them out for coffee. We talked about college, our careers and eventually, the position I was seeking. They promised to call the CEO that afternoon and put in a good word for me.
The next day, they called me in for an interview. The day after that, I received a job offer.
The job market in 2017 rewards those who can navigate their way around a news feed. Social media has complicated job hunting, but it’s also opened up a wide world of possibilities for those bold enough to embrace its utility. Here are some ways you can harness that potential.
Reach out to people.
Before social media, you could only contact someone if you had their phone number or email address. Now with the advent of Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, you can find almost anyone you’re looking for.
Instead of issuing a blanket statement on Facebook that you’re looking for a new gig (where your current boss might see), reach out to people individually. If possible, ask them for a specific favor, such as introducing you to their friend who works for your dream company. Think of it like planning a party – inviting people to a Facebook event won’t get people to come out, but sending individual texts will.
Create job alerts.
LinkedIn is the premier social media network for landing a job, but only if you’re strategic about it. When I was job hunting, I would create a LinkedIn search alert for journalism, marketing or PR jobs in Indianapolis. Every morning, LinkedIn would send me an email notification with any new jobs that matched my search terms.
Usually, I’d get results for jobs I wasn’t qualified for or interested in, but every week or so I’d find something perfect. Job hunting is a game of numbers, so be prepared to scour through hundreds of jobs to find one you actually like.
Become a subject matter expert.
A few months after graduating from college, I attended an alumni mixer at my journalism school. I was still unemployed and desperate to get job advice from the newspaper and broadcast veterans. When I asked one lady for her best job-hunting tips, she told me to start blogging about my passion. She said I could use that as a way to set myself apart from the other applicants.
I dismissed her advice. “Who has time to start a blog,” I thought to myself. I was certain it would be a self-indulgent waste of time.
But she was right. Starting and maintaining a blog proves that you have commitment and dedication to your work. It was because of my blog that I launched my career as a freelance writer.
If you don’t have the inclination to start your own blog, at least use social media platforms to prove your subject matter expertise.
Post articles on Twitter and LinkedIn that are relevant to your industry and comment on them. Showing that you care about your trade will make you more appealing to recruiters and hiring managers when they inevitably look you up on social media.
Nowadays, I use Twitter to post about personal finance and freelance writing. I don’t know if my editors and clients look at it before they hire me, but I hope they do. I’m proud of my social media game.
How social media can hurt your prospects.
During my last 9-5 job, my boss asked me to help him find my replacement. After I scanned over their resumes, I would look up candidates on social media to gauge what kind of people they were.
Most of the time I’d find nothing out of the ordinary – brunching with friends, traveling to Europe, spending time with family, etc. – but sometimes I’d find a profile gushing over their love of smoking weed or recent photos of binge drinking.
It’s not that I judge people for drinking or using drugs, but I do judge their decision-making skills when I see them publicly posting about private affairs. If I see that you liked a post about hot college girls on Spring Break, I’m probably going to judge you.
Ask your most old-fashioned friend to look through your accounts. If they find something that makes them uncomfortable, you should either take it down or make it private. It may hurt to censor yourself, but there’s a time and a place to exercise your free speech – job hunting isn’t it.
Has social media ever helped you land a job? Do you have any social media tips that could be helpful. Share with us in the #Adulting Facebook community.