September 5, 2017

Why use social media for a job search?

Around the time I was born, my mother was an expert at Super Mario. My brother was old enough to play the game but young enough to struggle with some tough parts, so our superhero mom swooped in to protect her son from falling into a pit of lava or becoming a snack for a carnivorous plant while I napped in the other room.

She and my dad were early adopters of personal computers, video games and other tech that came out in the '80s and '90s. They frequently took the controller or mouse from my brother or I when we needed help. Now, they hand us their smartphones. My dad recently asked me how "The Twitter" works. My mom does have a LinkedIn, but there's no information on it… at all.

To their credit, they pick up on the mechanics quickly when they take a minute to ask. But often – and particularly when it comes to social media – they struggle with one question:


Why does it exist? Why take the time? Why should they care?

Social media doesn't need to play a role in everyone's lives. But if you're one of the millions of Americans actively looking for a new job, it's a game changer. Here's why:

  • Ninety two percent of recruiters use social media to find candidates. Most use LinkedIn, though many also check Facebook and Twitter. Social profiles make you available to recruiters – who search for keywords to find the right people – as well as validate what you put on your resume.
  • Companies don't just post jobs online and wait for candidates anymore. They're starting to play a much more active role in hunting for talent through targeted ads that appear on YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, and other websites based on your online activity. 

    An example outside of the talent industry: I decided to buy a pair of glasses online, so I went to the website for a popular glasses company called Warby Parker. I opened Instagram a few minutes later and immediately saw ads for three different online glasses companies. These companies design their advertising to target people like me, whose one interaction with Warby Parker proved I'm a potential customer, rather than spending money to reach a wide audience. This happens to me at least once a week after I look something up on Google. 

    Companies are starting to use the same strategies with their job posts. When you're on the market, you can use this to your advantage. 

If you aren't familiar with social media or you don't want to dedicate a lot of time, that's fine. But I guarantee you have an hour. If you spend that hour well, it'll have a huge impact on your job search.

  1. Build a polished, up-to-date LinkedIn. Make sure your title is correct so the right recruiters can find you. Add a professional headshot. Double-check your spelling.
  2. Download the LinkedIn Jobs app. You can apply for jobs straight from the app, though some redirect to company websites to apply there. Either way, it's a simple way to survey the landscape. It also gives LinkedIn information about your interests.
  3. Connect with colleagues and follow industry leaders. Search for people you work with and know personally, and ask them to connect. Then, follow the companies you daydream about. Follow their CEOs. Look at their posts – whose content do they share or like? Follow or connect with those people. What hashtags are they using? Are there job boards for your industry? You could do this for hours. Start with a few minutes a day. 
  4. Scroll. Go to your home page and scroll through the things these companies and thought leaders post. Like and share the posts you find interesting. Comment if you have a unique perspective. Most importantly, keep your eyes peeled for any mentions of job posts – either in your news feed or in ads on the sides of the page.
  5. Talk to real humans. Once you find recruiters in your industry, send them a message about your interest and experience. If a recruiter reaches out, send them a message back no matter what. Even if they aren't useful to you at the moment, they might be connected to other recruiters who could find you the perfect job.

Don't miss the opportunity to show recruiters why you're a great candidate. A lot of your job search is about hunting for the best job. With social media, the best job might hunt you first. 


Tags: #powerofsocial, resumes

Nikki Lanka

Nikki worked for three years in a communications office after graduating from the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University with a bachelor's in journalism. She takes painting and drawing classes in her spare time. Nikki lives in Seattle, Washington and desperately wants to get a dog.

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