How to Find a Job Using Social Media

Written by Janna Kefalas

There was a time, not terribly long ago, when a recruiter’s main strategy for finding candidates would entail posting a job on an online job board and waiting to see what came in. A recruiter might receive over a hundred applications for a single position — a good percentage of which would get screened out by the applicant tracking system.  That’s why as a job seeker, it often feels like your resume’s getting lost in the proverbial black hole.

Now with social media infiltrating so many parts of our lives, it’s no surprise that recruiters are using it to proactively find qualified candidates for open positions. In fact, according to Jobvite’s 2015 Recruiter Nation Survey, 92% of recruiters use social media in the recruiting process — the top three sites being LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter (in that order). Therefore as a job seeker, your presence and engagement on these platforms is paramount.

Let’s look at how you can use these three platforms to maximize your job search and get noticed by employers.

LinkedIn

As you can imagine, LinkedIn is the granddaddy of social media when it comes to finding a job. Not only can you use it to research companies and network with other professionals, but also there are ways to optimize your profile so that you’re found by recruiters for the right opportunities. 

First, here are some tips on how to get more eyeballs on your profile:

  • • A photo is a must-have.  Make sure you’re wearing business attire, smiling, and looking right at the camera. Photos that stand out are well-lit, have a simple background, and are taken from  the shoulders up. (No cropping yourself out of a group shot with a stray arm around your shoulder!)

  • • Make your profile publicly visible and complete all the main sections: headline, location, contact info, summary, work history, education and skills. Ensure that each section repeats relevant keywords that you’re most likely to be searched for based on the jobs you're targeting. If you’re not clear on which keywords to include, check out 5-10 relevant job descriptions and see which keywords get repeated throughout the duties and requirements sections.

  • • Ask former supervisors and colleagues to write you a recommendation on LinkedIn and offer to do the same for them. You can do this directly through the LinkedIn platform by clicking on "Ask To Be Recommended" on the Recommendations section of your profile. 

  • • Build your connections by reaching out to friends, family, current and former colleagues and by joining relevant LinkedIn groups in your industry and geographic area. Having a large number of first-degree connections (and therefore an even greater number of second and third-degree connections) will allow you to rank higher in recruiter searches.

In terms of researching on and networking with companies and professionals, here are some helpful strategies:

• Use the advanced search filter to search companies by industry, location and other keywords. Create a list of your top 15-20 companies and follow them on LinkedIn. Like and comment on their updates and check out their "Careers" tab (if they have one) to learn about job opportunities and company culture.

• Year after year, recruiters say that referrals are their number one source of quality hires. And the larger number of LinkedIn connections you have, the more likely you are to be a first or second-degree connection with people at your target companies. You can use the “Ask for an Introduction” function to ask your first-degree connections to introduce you to second-degree connections. Reach out to LinkedIn group members at your target companies as well.

• When contacting someone who works at one of your target companies, don’t blankly ask them to pass along your resume. It’s best to first build rapport by having a quick phone chat where you can learn about the work they’re doing and tell them a little about your background and career goals. That way, if the right opportunity becomes available, they can refer you before the job ever gets posted.

Facebook

When most people think of Facebook, they think of posting family photos, vacation updates and silly selfies. And while this is true, Facebook can also be a useful job search tool.

Here are some tactics:

• Fill out the work section of your profile, including company name, title, location, and a description. You can also add a chain of professional skills. Make both sections public. This allows recruiters to find you through keyword searches.

• Similarly to LinkedIn, search for your target companies and follow them, like, and comment on their posts. (Thoughtful comments, especially those that position you as an industry expert, hold more weight than likes.)

• Check company Facebook pages regularly for job announcements. Often times they’re posted here before they show up on their company website or on job boards.

• Use Facebook for networking like you do LinkedIn. When you put a company name in the search bar, it brings up your friends and “friends of friends” who work there. Reach out to your friends or see if you can get introduced to their friends in order to start building those relationships. This works especially well with friends who aren’t active on LinkedIn.

• While your work and skills sections should be made public, all other personal updates and photos should be set to “friends only.” And just to be on the safe side, whenever you post something, ask yourself, “How would a potential employer view this?”

Twitter

Ahhh, the favorite social media platform of ranting politicians, self-adoring celebutantes, and, well…some of my favorite comedians. With the 140-character limit, it doesn’t seem like an obvious job search tool. But recruiters are using Twitter more and more to reach out to their network about job opportunities.

Here are the most effective ways to use Twitter:

• While your Twitter profile doesn’t have a work section like Facebook, it’s crucial to take advantage of the bio section. You have 160 characters to brand yourself. Make sure to include your title as well as keywords that recruiters would likely search you by. (You can always change your bio back to something more fun after your job search is over.)

• Like Facebook, you should follow your target companies on Twitter, retweet and favorite their tweets.

• Do the same for industry leaders, industry-related publications and anyone else your potential employers may be following.

• Balance out your personal tweets with industry-related ones. Tweeting a relevant article with a short commentary is a great way to showcase your professional knowledge.

• Because your tweets are public, stay away from negative, profane or controversial language.

• Recruiters are using Twitter to announce job openings, so take advantage of the search bar on top. You can type #hiring or #jobs and a title, location or other keywords into the search bar to find relevant opportunities.

• Aside from the company page, recruiters and hiring managers may have their own Twitter pages, so do a little research and follow them as well.

So while your main job search strategy might have been to apply through online job boards, you’d be remiss not to take full advantage of social media. Using these top three platforms to brand yourself and connect with your target companies can rev up your job search and get you hired faster. Tweet that!

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