Landing your dream job is certainly no easy task. Uneployment rates range from 7.9% in the United States to as high as 50% in some countries. Even if you’re employed currently, the reality is, at least according to Deloitte’s Shift Index, as many as 80% of people are unhappy in their jobs. (By the way, if you have no idea what your dream job is, I highly recommend you check you the incredible bestselling career book of all time, What Color Is Your Parachute?which changed my life.)
The good news? With the openness of the social web today and the availability of your entire life’s connections, a job hunt can be much easier if you present yourself well and network appropriately. Here are three social media essentials to remember:
1) Optimize Your Profiles
You already have your resume in a PDF and have found all the right websites for job listings. But just as important as these things is having your profiles on the major social networks updated and optimized for a potential job search. For some jobs, employers may even ask for links to your profiles in the application or interview process. Don’t be afraid, be proactive!
LinkedIn: Extend your resume
- Do you have a picture? If not, make sure you have one that represents yourself in a professional manner!
- Reach out to relevant connections for recommendations. Don’t just ask your supervisors at previous jobs, but ask your peers and reports.
- Have you listed all of your accomplishments and skills? Sometimes better than finding the right job is being found for the right job! LinkedIn Recruiter allows companies to look for specific skills and past positions. Make sure you list them so you can be indexed!
- Endorsements are a great way to easily gain credibility. You should give them as well as ask for them.
Twitter: Show your expertise!
- What is your picture? Make sure it represents you as you want the world to see you.
- What are you sharing? Your tweets should reflect your personality and expertise. Share articles and quotes from thought leaders in your industry. As a guide for sharing jokes, thoughts, and everything else, if your mom wouldn’t approve, don’t tweet it.
- What does your Twitter bio say about you? Make sure you include a link where people can find you. Consider making it a link to your LinkedIn profile.
Facebook: Clean it up!
- What do your profile picture and cover photo say about you?
- Check your privacy settings and make sure you understand them. They may seem difficult to navigate, but they are really important when it comes to your public image. I’m all for openness personally, but for many, you’ll want to make sure photos and videos for friends aren’t visible to your next employer.
2) Network Appropriately
The opportunity is there for you to find and engage with literally millions of people. The tough part is going for it, setting boundaries and making sure you don’t come across negatively.
Search your 1st degree connections to find interesting 2nd degree connections. Connect with people, but make sure to be upfront about why you are connecting. Don’t ever send the default message! Instead, give them a reason to connect with you. If you really want an in, tell them you’d love to learn more about their company and the position they have. People love to talk about themselves and a 15 minute informational interview, whether in person (ideal) or via phone or video chat – is an ideal way to learn more about a company while subtly showchasing yourself.
Follow the people that interest you at companies you’d like to work at. Follow the CEO’s, marketers and other industry leaders. Follow the Head of Human Resources. Watch what they are doing and find the right time to engage with them. It won’t work to bombard them on a Friday night with a tweet about how you want a job, but Twitter does give you the unique opportunity to engage in conversation with someone you don’t know. When they talk about the Lakers game, or thier kids, or their trip to Costa Rica – just reply with interest, if you have something to say. Show them you’re interested in them – and they just might be interested in you.
Most people keep Facebook for their existing network of friends, and some don’t even connect with professional collaegues on Facebook. However, you can like the companies you are interested in and engage with their content. You can also find company and industry leaders to subscribe to, (one way communication, similar to Twitter) which can give you insight into their lives! You never know when a common interest might help.
Use LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook to research the organizations and people where you might want to work before you reach out to apply for a job or schedule an informational interview. You can learn a lot more about a company’s core values and culture from their social sites than their website – and if it’s a dream job you seek, be sure that the the company’s values and culture align well with yours before any interview.
Once you land an interview, do significant research in order to be prepared to talk about the company. You can learn from their company website of course, but again, their social sites will also provide great insight into the organization, their leaders, the department’s personalities, and the company’s culture and values. In addition to the big three, research whether the organization you’d like to work for is on YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram, Google+, or Tumblr. Read their blogs. The more you can learn in advance, the better you’ll be able to show how well you’d fit in and provide value at your dream job.
Remember, in finding the perfect job, it’s always been about who you know. The only difference today is, thanks to social media, who you know – and who knows you – can quickly change for the better.