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Back to Basics: Social Media and Job Hunting

Posted by Kirsten Agnello-Dean on Jul 10, 2018 12:00:00 PM
Kirsten Agnello-Dean

Starting a job search after some time away from the hunt? Re-entering the search for the first time since social media dawned? 

Here are some things you need to know. Let's go back to the basics — consider this social media + job hunting 101. 

Who's Our Expert?

new kirsten


Our Social Media Manager and resident Copywriter Kirsten Agnello-Dean, of course. She's been working in social since the start of "Facebook for Business" and has helped brands of all sizes hone their social approach and content.

Basics for the Social Media Job Hunt

Hiring Project Based Creative Talent

Social media has a lot of power to make or break your job search. Studies have shown that 92 percent of companies are using social media for hiring — and that three out of four hiring managers check out candidates' social profiles before offering an interview, The Muse reports. So let's optimize our profiles for the best chance of success! 

Here are the basics you need to know. 

Basic #1: Think About Your Personal Brand

Social media has made sure everyone has a brand whether they like it or not. What's your brand? It's the new first impression. Thanks to the internet, when you meet someone new, they've likely done their homework on you and already created a first impression before they've even met you. 

Author and agile career methodologist, Marti Konstant gives us a little backstory on the start of the personal brand:

Tom Peters, who specializes in business management topics like those covered in his book, In Search of Excellence, launched the personal branding trend over 20 years ago in 1997. The name of his book was The Brand Called You, where he famously wrote, “We are CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc.” 

To view yourself through a stranger stalker lens, head to google.com and type your name in the search bar — check out the links, articles, and photos that come up and see what they say about you. This is what the person seeing your resume for the first time is probably going to do, so make sure you like what you see.

Basic #2: Decide on Your Name, Get Your URL

You're probably thinking you already know your name, but it's important to decide if you are Larry or Lawrence, Jen or Jennifer in your professional life. You'll want to make sure your names match on things like social profiles, business cards, and email signatures.

Once you've decided, grab your URL and social handles. "If your name is long or difficult to spell, this option might not be the best idea—especially if you’re looking for international freelancing work," says Charli Days, a British Writer and Social Media Manager.

If you’re serious about your brand, it’s a good idea to purchase your name as a URL, if it's still available, even if you don’t plan on using it. If you’re an established professional, it’s not too late to review your name and decide if it’s working out for you either, says Days. 

I went for option three and created www.charlisays.com, which is linked to www.charliday.com.

This was the easiest way for me to manage my freelance business. I’m also linking my name with my brand and making it easier to check out my credentials on sites like LinkedIn.

Best way to ensure you're found? Make sure your social profile handles are consistent and all the same, if possible. This becomes important as new networks rise up as well, even if you don't think you want to be on Snapchat, it's not the worst idea to secure your username just in case.

Basic #3: Fill Out Your LinkedIn Profile

I know, LinkedIn isn't the sexiest social network, but it's hands down the most important one when it comes to job hunting. With job opportunities, Recruiters to connect with, and virtual networking to be had, LinkedIn is a must for anyone who is currently, or may soon be, job hunting.

But you need to do more than sign up for an account. The goal of LinkedIn is to get that coveted "All-Star" profile rating.

Kirsten Agnello-Dean LinkedIn

Start by making sure all your profile sections are filled out — including those that may seem obscure like "volunteer causes" and "certifications." Then, optimize your profile for searching by using keywords that will draw prospective employers to you. Keyword placement can be distributed throughout your profile, but make certain that keywords are in your title and summary. That way the most essential portions of your profile will show up in searches. 

Need help writing that summary? This LinkedIn blog will help.

Basic #4: Get a Professional Headshot

What photo pops up most often when you google yourself? Are your profile photos consistent across all of your professional social sites? Make sure people know that the you they found on LinkedIn is the same you they found on Twitter by using the same, or similar, profile photos — this is especially important if you have a common name. 

Your profile picture is one of the most important parts of your social media presence. This little photo pops up everywhere. And when it comes to LinkedIn, it's even more important. Whether you're a Recruiter looking for talent or a potential employee searching for a new job, that little profile photo is your first impression, and it needs to be a good one. "It’s your first chance to communicate that you are friendly, likeable, and trustworthy," says LinkedIn publisher Lydia Abbot.

Some tips for a good, professional headshot:

  • Use a Professional Photographer: Yes, it costs money, but consider it an investment in your career. Many headshot photographers offer social media packages at reasonable rates, and many conferences bring in photographers for mini-portrait sessions.
  • Make Sure It Looks Like You: Make sure people who stalk you online before they meet you know what you look like. Do you wear glasses every day? Wear them in your photo. Lost 100 pounds? Congrats! Now it's time for a new photo.
  • Dress Like You're at the Office: Dress like the profession you're in or hope to be in. Pick a flattering color and go easy on the accessories, you want your sparkling personality to be the focus of the photo.
  • Look Confident and Pleasant: Think like Entrepreneur.com and ask yourself — if you were looking for a new employee or recruiting a leader for a company, would you hire the person in the photo?
  • Fill Up the Frame: A good rule of thumb is to fill up 60% of the photo with yourself. While it's great that you climbed that mountain or went to the beach, we don't need to see a wide shot with a tiny person in it. Skip complicated backgrounds and fill the frame with yourself from the shoulders up.

For more photo tips and a slew of things not to do, check out this post: Does Your LinkedIn Photo Suck?

Basic #5: Optimize Your Headline

Speaking of searches: change your headline! Use that blurb of text directly under your name to get a Hiring Manager’s attention. Forbes notes that most people just have their title and company listed there, but that’s a boring default setting. 

Instead, write a compelling description, complete with SEO-friendly keywords describing what you can do. If you’re a Web Designer, it might go something like, “Web Designer who turns boring websites into gorgeous money-making machines.” This tells them what you do and why they urgently need to contact you. It's okay to have a little fun here, too!

Here are some we like:

 

Kirsten Agnello-Dean LI Headline

Robin Walters Linked In Headline

LI TItle

Basic #6: Log In Often

No matter which social network you're working on, you should be logging in at least once a week. Social favors the bold and consistent. Only opt in to the platforms you truly enjoy, so if you hate taking photos, it's okay to not use Instagram. Make sure if you are going to have a presence on a social platform that you use it frequently — engage, like, comment, share posts, and post your own as well. 

Basic #7: Post the Right Things

Are any post topics you should avoid? Yes! Here are four you should steer clear of if you're using social for job hunting: 

  1. Drunken Selfies
    There's no need to let a prospective employer see evidence of how hard you can party. Keep it classy and you won’t have to worry about getting passed for a job or a long-awaited promotion because someone out there happened upon your profile filled with binge-drinking selfies.

  2. Political Rants
    Come election time, political passion gets stirred up even more, so be mindful that not everyone shares your views.
    Even if you go out of your way avoiding insulting people of differing views, it sometimes happens anyway. Being a loose cannon in this way can cost your career, so steer clear.

  3. Bad-Mouthing Your Job
    Not everyone is in love with their work life, but keep it cool. Even if you have a beef with an employer, keep it off social media. Employers need to know that workplace conflicts won’t become a matter of public record and if you’re constantly bad-mouthing people you’ve worked for, you could be seen as a liability.

  4. Clickbait
    Clickbait may work for some online marketers, but it won’t help kick-start your career. If you post a link called “Getting a Project Done on Time,” it better provide helpful tips on the other side and not take your followers to a page that says, “Hire me and I’ll get your project done on time." This is annoying and will irritate your audience before they consider employing you.

You know what not to post. Now what should you post to attract the right kind of attention? The first thing to understand is the social media rule of thirds. 

When you're thinking of content to share on your various social platforms, follow this adapted formula from Hootsuite for maximum success:

  • ⅓ of your social content should promote yourself, your work, your business, etc.
  • ⅓ shares ideas and stories from thought leaders in your industry or like-minded businesses
  • ⅓ is personal interactions — liking, commenting, and interacting with your connections

Here are the types of posts that can help you do that:

  • Posts That Show You Know Your Field
    Skip extensive season finale recaps and be proactive with the majority of your tweets, Facebook posts, and most definitely all of your LinkedIn updates. If you’re looking for work as a Designer, share information that lets people know you’re up to speed with current web design trends. Tweet breaking industry news and projects you've been working on, too.
  • Posts That Humble Brag
    It's okay to brag about yourself! Be your own #1 cheerleader. Don't be overly boastful, but humbly talk yourself up and play to your strengths by showing your knowledge about various facets of your industry. Did you write a great blog for a new client? Share and retweet it.
  • Posts That Are (Nicely) Opinionated 
    Your knowledge on industry issues is only part of your appeal to Recruiters. Respectfully asserting your opinion on issues relevant to your area of expertise can display that you have working knowledge of your industry. Just make sure to do so respectfully. 

Basic #8: Connect with the Right People

Network, network, network...you're looking for a job after all! LinkedIn is especially helpful when it comes to growing your network. Before you start connecting, think about the type of network you want to build. Do you want to connect with everyone? Only people you know? Only people in your industry? Decide now. 

Once you've picked your connection poison, start connecting by uploading your contacts from Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook, or another email platform, and LinkedIn will help you connect. Be a pro though and don't send a generic message to each contact inviting them to connect. Instead, customize your approach by reaching out individually to these contacts.

A word of warning from The Muse though, don't connect with that Hiring Manager, at least not until a decision has been made.

Former Muser, Elliott Bell explains:

“[The Hiring Manager] is interviewing not only you, but many others, trying to determine who will be the best person for the job and the company. Connecting over LinkedIn before a decision has been made can come off as both pushy and over-confident—like you’re certain that you’ll be the one who’s working closely with the interviewer over all those other candidates.”

What if you don’t get the job? Then connect away, The Muse says. Don't forget to send a nice, professional note with your connection request. 

Basic #9: Let Recruiters Know You're Looking

Make sure the world knows you're looking for a new position. Back in 2016, LinkedIn created a feature called Open Candidates — which gives job seekers an easy way to quietly signal that they’re open to new opportunities. 

LinkedIn Job opportunity Toggle

Head to the career interests section and flip that toggle! Get the step-by-step directions in this post by LinkedIn.

Basic #10: Like the Companies You Love

Have a dream job? Always wanted to be in "Puperations" at Barkbox? Follow them! Like them on Facebook and follow them on LinkedIn. This way you'll see what they're up to and know when they're hiring. Plus, says The Muse, "There’s a chance that smaller companies will check to see if you’re a fan on Facebook, just to gauge how excited you really are about the job." Being a fangirl can have its perks.

Mastered the Basics?

Social Media for Job Hunting

Do you feel you've mastered the basics of social media? Ready for the next step? Read on!

Advanced #1: Schedule Posts Ahead of Time

Worried you'll forget to update regularly? Start scheduling! There are plenty of tools out there to help you schedule and share directly from your browser or phone app. These two beauties make social posting easy and have free and paid versions available:

  • Buffer: Helps you control Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn through scheduled sharing in an all-in-one dashboard. One of its best features? The ability to schedule native retweets directly from Twitter.
  • Hootsuite: Helps you schedule and plan social posts including link shortening, Instagram, and features multiple image uploading for Twitter. You can also track hashtags and mentions through its dashboard.

Advanced #2: Start Self-Publishing on LinkedIn

Part of the LinkedIn platform allows you to put your own thoughts out there in a traditional blogging style. This gives you a unique opportunity to reach a large audience and get your voice out there. Bonus: The posts come complete with metrics on your readership broken out by industry, job title, and more, which is helpful when trying to determine if you’re targeting the right audience.

Why would you publish?

To get your voice out there. The truth is that everyone wants to hire a thought leader these daysAnna Julow Roolf, Senior Active Executive at BLASTmedia, says, "LinkedIn stands out as a self-publishing platform because of its capability to help users showcase expertise to relevant and interested audiences." 

Learn more about this great platform here: 6 Tips for Self-Publishing on LinkedIn.

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