The first thing to remember about using Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter in your job search is that they are merely tools - and tools alone will not get you a job. Only you can get yourself a job. Only you will be able to highlight the value you can offer a potential employer. And only you can fashion a skill set that targets a career or job you want.
Although social media tools will change and evolve, here are some useful principles to consider when using social media to support your job search.
- Be Present - This may seem obvious, but if you don't have a complete profile or even an account with Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter, you simply won't get found online. As Woody Allen opined, 90% of life is showing up, or in this case, showing up online. As an example, you may want to use your LinkedIn account as your online resume. Make sure you have a professional picture posted and your work experience is current. Consider using Facebook to show your personal side and share your interests with your friends. Use Twitter to follow experts in your field.
- Join The Conversation - Whether you're a member of a LinkedIn discussion group or Re-Tweeting great content on Twitter - be engaged. You certainly have something to offer in your field or topic of interest. Be sure not to join a conversation simply to mine it for a job - people will see through your facade very quickly.
- Show Your Expertise - It doesn't matter if your interest lies in econometrics, epidemiology, or enzyme analysis. Share your passion for your field by sharing a link on Facebook or Twitter or commenting on a relevant blog post. You want to be viewed as a knowledgeable resource in your area.
- Wear A White Hat - Although it sometimes seems easier to criticize or discount an idea, it's crucial that you frame your comments, blog posts, and the content that you share in a positive context. Ask yourself if your input is moving a discussion forward and if the content you offer will serve others well.
- Get Face Time - All your efforts should be focused on meeting people face to face and expanding your network. Harvard Business School notes that up to 85% of jobs are found through networking. Are you spending your time trying to meet potential employers or submitting resumes online?
Also, consider applying some of the techniques we have recommended around social media monitoring, grassroots inbound marketing, and lead nurturing to your personal brand and your job search campaign. Finally, here are some more detailed tips on effectively using social media in your job search.
Remember, regardless of the tools that connect you, you will need to show how your experience and skill set can help a potential employer.
How have you used social media in your job search? What techniques worked well? What techniques did not?