Five Ways to Improve Your Job Search with Social Media

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social mediaLinkedIn. Facebook. Twitter. YouTube. Not only have these social media giants changed the way we interact with people in both our personal and professional lives, but they are also becoming vitally important marketing tools for job hunters and employers alike. While the overwhelming volume of information filtering through these massive social networks can intimidate even the most conversant social media user, several points of focus can help narrow your approach enough to find your desired jobs and successfully market yourself to the relevant industries.

First things first when searching for the right people for your needs: remember your audience. A job search is a time and energy intensive task so it is crucial to determine where your primary audience is located on the web. What circles do you wish to search in order to find your dream job? HR reps of your favorite employers? Past clients? Professional organizations? Once you find your primary pool of potential employers you can target your efforts by creating custom social profiles that appeal to these entities specifically and contact them directly within the social media space.

Don’t use all social media channels for the same purpose. Choose the most suitable venue (perhaps the one with the most pre-existing professional contacts), reach out to those contacts and then decide whether further effort is required to expand into other outlets. Each social media channel has its own lists of advantages and disadvantages. Get familiar with each channel and craft individual strategies to take advantage of the strengths of each outlet while avoiding the pitfalls.

It takes time and hard work to build your professional presence online. Launching your profile is only the beginning of a process of cultivating your social media image and each outlet must be maintained regularly. Constructing your initial profile should consist of several initial steps. Include a professional headshot that demonstrates a clean and groomed businessperson image. Like for a resume, include brief but impactful summaries of your skills and qualifications and the value you can add to a company’s culture and bottom line. Include contact information such as phone number, other social media handles, and a professional email address. Finally, and possibly most important, interact with your contacts through posts and online applications; the sooner you begin the better.

Once you’ve taken the plunge into the social media space, taken the time to develop a professional presence, and starting making contact with connected employers, perhaps the most crucial next step is to remain committed. Watch your profile, update it, participate in the communities in which you are now embedded, and allow your personal creativity to shine through in your approach.

While leveraging social media to your advantage during the process of a job search can be an invaluable method for garnering better results and finding more opportunities, it is also important to continuously gauge the effectiveness of your online presence. Get feedback from select contacts on the impact of your profile. Set personal goals for each channel that you use and follow your progress with the multitude of measurable stats at your finger tips. Keep track of the number of new contacts being formed, how many interviews are being secured, and how satisfied with the results of your social media job search.

If you find your social media work is not bearing fruit, you may opt to redirect your efforts to more traditional means of finding employment. But, by and large, social media grants numerous benefits to those committed to using it to its fullest extent.

By Joshua Bjerke