When Jobvite released its seventh annual survey on job search trends, it showed that 48% of job seekers used social media in their most recent job search.
I’m surprised the number is that low! Perhaps, respondents were only counting when they used social media to find an actual job posting, but that should not be the only reason to tap social media.
Here are 10 ways to use social media in your job search:
1) Share your background
Yes, it’s your resume that gets passed around in the hiring process, but it’s your LinkedIn profile that gets reviewed when you’re networking. A prospect often checks you out online before asking for a resume or consenting to an informational meeting. When you include your LinkedIn URL in your email signature, you promote your resume every time you email but in an unassuming way.
2) Demonstrate your expertise
Your posts, status updates and Tweets are platforms for you to curate knowledge on a specific subject and therefore demonstrate your expertise. Share links to relevant articles with your insights and commentary. Attend related conferences and events, and post takeaways. People who see social media activity curated around a singular subject will see your passion and commitment in this area.
3) Show some personality
In addition to conveying expertise, the tone of your posts, the insights you produce, and the articles you share show your personality. You can decide to be light-hearted or probing or data-focused. In this way, social media becomes part of your personal brand.
4) Research company culture
Since social media shows personality, it also shows an organization’s personality or company culture. Follow your target companies on social media to get the latest news about them but also a sense for the culture.
5) View long-term career arcs
In addition to researching company culture, social media is valuable for researching specific people and careers. Look at the profiles for the ultimate job (e.g., Chief Marketing Officer) so you get a sense for that long-term career path. Or look at profiles for a company’s executive team to understand what types of backgrounds do well at that company.
6) Identify management changes
When you follow a company on LinkedIn, it alerts you when people come and go. If an addition or departure happens, this may foreshadow additional hiring needs relevant to you. The new marketing director may need to build a team with someone like you, or an outgoing marketing director could mean an opening for someone like you.
7) Identify trends and hot topics
Following companies on social media gives you news about the companies, but in aggregate, it also reveals trends and hot topics across an industry. You want to be aware of these patterns and discuss them in your networking and interviewing so you come across as an insider, a peer, someone who is truly engaged and up-to-date.
8) Approach a cold contact
It’s harder to get a cold contact’s direct email than to find them on social media. Inviting a cold contact to connect on LinkedIn, or direct messaging them on Twitter, might be your most efficient means of approaching someone you want to engage. A social media invitation is also less intrusive as these platforms are intended for networking.
9) Follow up after an initial contact
If you meet someone live at a conference or association event, inviting them to connect on social media can be a logical follow up. You can also post pictures from the event, and tag your new contact. If you share takeaways from the event and can quote from your new contact, that’s yet another way to continue building your relationship.
10) Stay in touch
When you’re connected on social media, your posts, updates and Tweets enable you to stay in touch with your broader network. While social media shares are not a substitute for contacting someone individually, personalized correspondence is impractical with a large network. It also can be intrusive depending on how often an individual likes to hear from you (and it varies person by person). Social media enables you to stay in touch efficiently and unassumedly.
Social media for job search is not just about job postings that are announced. Social media is useful for networking, research and branding. If you’re in the 48% already using social media for your search, keep going. If you haven’t started, pick one platform and one objective (branding, research or networking) and start today!