New Leaf Blog
Recruitment has changed a lot since I first started advising people on their career. Yet, the core principles have remained the same. Do your research, network, tailor your application. Now social media is available, and recruiters are increasingly using it, ignoring it when you search for work you love narrows your options considerably. So are my top tips on the successful use of social media for job hunting:
1. Clean up your act. Look through the stuff you have posted, or your friends have posted about you, in the past. Make sure there is nothing that you would rather a prospective employer would not see. Potential employers often check out Facebook and Linked In to find out about you before you apply. Even if it doesn’t stop you getting the job, you don’t want to embarrass yourself before you have even started.
2. Update your profiles. Make sure your social media profiles reflects the interests you describe in your job applications. For job hunting, your Linked In Profile is the most important. Make sure it is up to date. Tailor your work history just like you would a CV. Ensure any career history matches what you have in your application. Your twitter profile (if you have one) should also state who you are in a way that might attract an employer. If you are not already on social media, I suggest joining Linked In as a priority for job hunting. Make sure you use a professional looking photo in your profile.
3. Find jobs online. Many jobs are only advertised online now, as recruiters want to avoid the cost of advertising in other ways. Both recruitment consultants and employers use Linked In as a way of advertising their jobs to a wide market. You can search Linked In jobs, or individual groups will usually have a jobs tab, where you can narrow down your search. Some Linked In groups specialise in career change or charity / green jobs, including idealist, green jobs and the jobs tab on Charity UK.
4. Demonstrate your expertise. Doing this builds your profile, which is especially useful for longer term reputation, but can also help in the short term. Post on Facebook or tweet photos, quotes, articles or videos about topics relating to the career move you want to make. Linked In has a lot of groups you can join where you can answer questions. Linked In, Google and Yahoo all have ‘Answers’ where people post a question and anyone can answer it. If an employer does a search for your topic or your name, your answer has a chance of coming up.
5. Ask for advice. Linked In is a business networking site where people are willing to help one another out. By asking a question on Linked In, it is often possible to get specific help for the problems you are facing. Once again, try joining some relevant groups, get to know them by watching the kinds of questions that are asked and then ask your own. Questions about ‘what kind of job could I get?’ are better answered if you include details of what experience you already have and what you are interested in. You can also get excellent advice on the sector in general and how to make a career change. Try ‘Idealist’ or ‘Working for a Charity’ groups for advice.
6. Research employers. Using social media can extend your insight into an organisation that you are applying to. As well as searching on Google for details of the organisation, trying searching on social media for the names of key people who work there. What kind of background do they have? Do you know anyone who knows them? What can they tell you about how to approach your potential employer?
7. Find specialist recruitment consultants. Recruitment consultants are now using Linked In extensively. By looking in the relevant groups, or seeing who has started groups themselves, you can often discover which recruitment consultancies have the jobs that most interest you. Then get in touch and register.
8. Extend your network. Don’t just send requests to connect to everyone who interests you – you are likely to be turned down. Do get active on social media and that will give you reasons to connect, people to introduce you and groups that you are both already a member of. This way people are more happy to say yes to connecting and won’t assume that you are just going to send them spam.
9. Request Recommendations. Linked In has a facility for people to recommend your work. Occasionally people will do this spontaneously, but more often you have to go out and ask for them. You get to see what people have written about you before it is posted online, and a batch of recommendations makes your profile feel rounded.
10. Avoid overwhelm. None of this will work if you only engage with social media infrequently. An out of date profile looks shabby – better to have no profile at all. But social media can also suck you in. It doesn’t take much to keep yourself up to date. So, do the little you need to, then step back and remember you have a life outside your laptop.