Social media came into existence, well, for social reasons. However, social media, now more than ever, is an extremely powerful tool to find your next career opportunity. And, NO, it is not a tool just for Hipsters! Traditional methods of applying for advertised jobs on job boards, using your CV, are completely dated. Using social media can differentiate you from the competition. Here is how.
Facebook created a function some time ago for companies to advertise job opportunities. Although still in its inception in South Africa, countries abroad are starting to use this platform more regularly to find talent.
What is super attractive about jobs on Facebook is that if you are seeing an ad, it is likely because you have met various requirements, such as being in the right location. However on the client’s end, they can create funnels that pay attention to a particular audience, what they have liked, their interests, education, and more.
That means that YOU get to play a highly active part in being head-hunted. Pay attention to your online behaviour. Of course, Facebook is meant for connecting with friends and family, but stick to the rule of thumb: If you would not want a newspaper to publish it with your name attached to the headline, do not publish, or share it on Facebook.
Try and stay neutral when it comes to anything political or racial, and be careful of using crude language on your posts. You also may want to ensure your privacy settings ensure that only your friends can see all your personal details.
Ensure that your critical information (name, location, qualifications, place of work, etc.) is identically reflected on your CV. Make sure you like and follow companies and Thought Leaders who you align to.
If you meet someone at a business networking function, or are introduced to them on email, make sure you follow them on Twitter. The same goes with professionals you look up to, who carry weight in your industry, or even Thought Leaders, journalists, authors, or bloggers whose content you enjoy consuming. As the old saying goes, ‘you are the company you keep’. Those who you keep close by is a strong reflection of you as a person. The same goes for the people you follow and the tweets you like – it says loads about who you are as a person.
To get noticed by a key-decision maker, comment on their tweets, or retweet them.
It is not unheard of to create two Instagram accounts – one for close family and friends (with airtight privacy), and the other for public use. If you choose to use one account, keep it PG!
Instagram is a fantastic platform to use for running campaigns to get noticed – similar to the ones we unpacked last week in our article Your Guaranteed Strategy to Get the Job you Want!
To really get noticed, get CREATIVE and BE MEMORABLE.
You may be social-media phobic – and that is okay! Plenty of people choose to stay off social media. One social media platform every Professional needs to be on, however, is LinkedIn.
As soon as you open a LinkedIn account, you automatically have a Social Image. Done right, you will be able to become noticed by people you want to be noticed by, provide social proof to back up your expertise, and can watch your social index flourish. You will be able to double (even triple) the search results you appear in weekly, and maintain a steady flow of connection requests by people you want to be connected to. To achieve just this, you will need to:
PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR HEADLINE. You have 120 characters or 5 seconds to make an impression. This is the perfect carrot to dangle, informing your prospective employer what you can offer, what results their business can expect from you, how long it would take you, and what pain points you can alleviate.
It may sound difficult, but the easy rule of thumb is this: your Social Image is not about you. Sounds paradoxical, doesn’t it? Simply put: keep it less ego-centric, and more client-centric, to stand out from the crowd.
YOUR CONTACT DETAILS ARE YOUR MAIN ATTRACTION. You are invited to share your email address and contact number here – but you are also given the opportunity to add up to three websites! As we discussed last week, having a website is no longer for celebrities, but any credible, serious professional.
Do not have a website? If you have a video or audio recording of you in action (whether it be a media interview, a pod-cast you’ve created, or a Video CV), upload it onto YouTube and share the link here.
YOUR BANNER IS YOUR BILLBOARD. Just like that massive billboard grabs your attention on the highway, your LinkedIn Banner is a sure way to captivate your audience. Design it in such a way that it encapsulates who you are – just by simply using imagery, colours, and fonts. For an easy to make banner, check out Canva.
Did you know that your profile is 11 times more likely to get noticed if you have an attractive banner? For those stats, it is worth investing some time into creating a captivating banner. But remember! Less is more.
THE ABOUT SUMMARY IS YOUR UNIQUE SELLING POINT. Although your About sections can contain achievements and accomplishments, remember to be less ego-centric and more client-centric. How do your achievements and accomplishments set you apart, to offer a totally unique set of skills and expertise to your prospective employer’s business?
Ensure you position yourself as a trusted and credible source who can cite solutions to problems, alleviating that painful itch that your audience is experiencing, demonstrated through what you have managed to accomplish in the past.
Use short paragraphs, italics, and bold words, bullet points and numbering to make your content interesting and fun to read. Be remarkable!
FEATURED CONTENT IS YOUR DISPLAY WINDOW. Similarly to when you stop dead in your tracks at the Mall when you spot something that really catches your eye, and invites you to enter the store, your Featured Content has the same potential. By showcasing your expertise, you invite the reader to read on. Your expertise can be demonstrated in numerous ways; perhaps it is a remarkable reference you received from a previous employer, or even incredible value (a free e-book you’ve self-published). Your Featured section is Social-proof of your credibility, your expertise, and the evidence of your competencies!
YOUR EXPERIENCES SOLIDIFY YOUR CREDIBILITY. We can have all the skills and qualifications in the world, but your experience is a demonstration of such. This does not have to be boring! Many professionals simply copy and paste the bullet points from their CV into this section, but you have the opportunity to add links from the portfolio part of your website, to links to where you feature in specific URL’s on your company’s site, through to downloadable PDF documents or images of you winning an Award. The purpose here is to establish trust and credibility – not to aimlessly show off!
EDUCATION HAPPENS TO BE YOUR ATS KEYWORDS. ATS, or Automatic Tracking Software, picks up keywords that matches a business’s critical requirements to YOU! Obviously, you can have all the nice-to-have requirements, but if a barometer is set on what the client wants in terms of education, your profile will be tossed aside if you do not demonstrate this critical evidence.
Make sure you list all your qualifications (even short courses you have completed) and ensure they are keyword rich. Gently weave the keywords you want to be found organically into the description window.
YOUR RECOMMENDATIONS ARE YOUR PROOF. Don’t you find that you trust word-of-mouth above advertising? Similarly, your recommendation section allows others to mirror what you have said you can do.
The same can be said for endorsements. Ask your past and current colleagues to endorse skills they know you are competent to demonstrate.
How? The law of reciprocity works well here. Usually by giving, one is then happy to return the favour by giving back. Hence, write recommendations and endorse those you are a fan of, as they will, in turn, become your fans too.
Social media is a powerful tool to search for a new career opportunity – if used correctly. The same is in reverse; your digital profile could be the very reason your application is rejected. Make sure you have an outstanding social-image, and go from hunting, to being head-hunted.
For more on our Personal Branding options, click here.
Written by, Marzenna Almendro (Registered Psychometrist, Certified Coach, Linked-In Expert, CV Writer, Author, Entrepreneur and Thought Leader).
Our contributors collectively boast a wealth of experience in assessments, HR, organisational development, change management and more!