Social Media in the Job Search

The job search process is changing. At one time, you could pick up the local newspaper and browse the help wanted section to find a job and there really was not much else. Today, the options for finding a job have exploded, but this has increased the amount of time someone must spend searching for a job. Instead of picking up a newspaper, finding a job requires searching through giant job boards like Indeed.com, looking at company websites to see if any postings have come up, sending a never ending stream of e-mails to potential employers to see if there are any openings, and constantly networking. Finding your dream job becomes an all-consuming task as you scour endless webpages trying to locate that one job that fits for you. It is complicated, frustrating, and can leave you discouraged and confused.

Luckily, there is one way to streamline the job search and prevent those job-searching headaches. Using this resource for your job search can make it easier to focus on an area, a company, and even find jobs you may not have been looking for. The resource that I am talking about is social media. Social media can have a very positive impact on your job search and help you achieve your goals. However, not everyone is familiar with social media and how to use it. The next few paragraphs will contain some information on how to best utilize social media in your job search as well as give specific information about using Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Social Media in General: When using social media as a job searching tool the most important thing is to be thoughtful about the image you are crafting for the world to see. You need to be conscious of what your total social media image is. Do a search on Google for yourself and see what comes up. Is it flattering? Is it terrifying? Either way, make sure that you are being intentional with what you put up. Employers are looking up potential employees on the internet more than ever and you want the first image that pops up to be one that reflects a positive version of you.

Also, the most important part of social media for job searching is the network that you build. The contacts and friends that you have on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and more are a vital resource to finding jobs. Your network can alert you to job openings that you may have overlooked or may even let you know about jobs that haven’t posted and even give you a heads up to jobs that will be opening soon. Building your network is vital in social media and job searching. Not to mention that most employers want employees who can use social media, so using it to land a job can show them that you already excel in that skill!

Facebook: When searching for a job, some of the most important things to remember about Facebook are what to avoid doing that can hurt your job prospects. First, you need to set your profile to private and change your profile picture to something that you would not be embarrassed about a potential employer seeing. Second, you might want to consider creating a second Facebook profile. It would not be wise to add professional contacts to your personal Facebook page that contains all your personal information. Finally, give some thought to what ends up on your timeline and what you like on your Facebook page. It can be easy to give the wrong message to potential employers if you like thirty kinds of alcohol and nothing else.

Twitter: Twitter can be a great way to let people know that you are looking for a job. A simple post that references your desire to find employment can go a long way towards finding a job. You want to be as specific as possible about the type of employment you are seeking. Also, Twitter is a great place to really focus on your interests and field of work. Thoughtful tweets about the industry that you want to work in can show others that you are informed, passionate, and interested. Also remember that tweets are not easily removed from the internet, so make sure to have a cool down time before posting anything to Twitter.

LinkedIn:  LinkedIn is the most important social media tool that exists. It continues to grow as a professional networking tool and job search aide. Think of LinkedIn as an online rolodex that saves all of your work and professional contacts in one place and provides a space to interact with them. Before you graduate, start asking professionals that you meet if you can add them on LinkedIn. This tip can be used to great effect at the various job fairs that happen both on and off campus. Asking someone for their LinkedIn makes you stand out and it will help you build your professional network. You can also use LinkedIn as a way to find out information about the leaders in the industry that you are interested in working. In addition, you can use LinkedIn to find out important information on various companies and potential hiring managers that can give you an edge when you are going to interview. Finally, LinkedIn has lots of job postings through company pages.

Hopefully, these tips can give you a small taste of the role that social media can play in your job search. This list is nowhere near exhaustive. Using social media to job search is complicated, but can be made easier by doing additional research and staying up to date on the latest trends. Just remember that getting a job requires a lot of work and if you are intentional and work hard that you can reach your dreams!

– Joshua Fosss, CDC Graduate Assistant

Josh Foss

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