Job Hunt with Social Media

Read this free lesson to learn more about finding a job with social media.

Introduction

intro

Over the past several years, social media websites like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Meetup have become an increasingly important part of an effective job search.

In this module, you'll learn how to use social media sites to expand your network and build new connections. We'll also talk about different strategies for using Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites in your job search.

This lesson will focus on general strategies for using different social media websites in your job search. We'll talk more about using LinkedIn, the most popular career networking site, in our LinkedIn Basics module.

Why use social media?

social media icons

Approximately 15 percent of U.S. job seekers in 2011 found their current position through social networking sites, and that number is only expected to rise. Social media websites have made it easier than ever to share information and build new connections, which are essential components of any successful job search.

As more and more job seekers are turning to these sites to network and find new opportunities, so too are employers. Approximately 40 percent of employers currently use social media sites to recruit or screen potential employees, so maintaining an active online presence will be especially important when searching for a job.

If you don't have much experience with social networking sites, check out our Introduction to Social Media. You might also visit our Facebook 101 and Twitter 101 tutorials.

As social media networks continue to expand, there's almost no limit to how you can incorporate them into your job search. Review the techniques below to learn general strategies for using social media in your job search:

Build connections

In the past, keeping up with many different connections could be a challenging task, but social networking sites have greatly simplified the process. And while it's easier than ever to organize your contacts, you should also use these resources to reach out and forge new connections.

Whenever you make a new connection, it's important to follow up and stay in touch. Even if you only have the opportunity to meet someone briefly in person, connecting with this person on a social media site allows you to continue the conversation and develop a relationship. Try sending a quick message to some of your contacts every few weeks to establish a regular pattern of communication.

Be visible

It's important to remember that you're not the only person looking to make new connections online. As more and more employers turn to social media for recruiting, you'll need to make sure you have a visible online presence. It should be easy for employers to find and connect with you across a variety of social networks.

Don't be content simply following the conversation. Work hard to become a known voice in different communities. Start meaningful discussions on your social media networks, participate in online forums, or share your knowledge on a question-and-answer site like Quora or StackExchange.

Maintain your online reputation

Whenever you apply for a job, there's a good chance your employer will try to learn more about you through social media. Remember to practice discretion when sharing online. Someone might be less likely to hire you if he or she finds embarrassing photos or negative comments about your current employer.

Most social networks also allow you to control who sees your posts and updates, so be careful to share personal or sensitive information with your close friends rather than make all of your posts public. Taking the time to modify your privacy settings will also prevent you from sharing photos and personal information with potential employers.

We'll talk more about building a better online presence in our module, Personal Branding 101.

Facebook

With more than 1 billion members, Facebook is the largest social network worldwide. As more employers begin to use social media to screen and recruit applicants, developing a professional Facebook profile has become an essential part of any job search. Facebook also offers several ways to reach out to your network and connect with different employers.

Review the techniques below to learn how to use Facebook effectively when searching for a job:

If you are currently employed, be careful not to advertise your job search too openly on Facebook. Try sending private messages to friends or sending an update to a Facebook group rather than post a public status update.

Twitter

While most people may think of Twitter as a place to share personal status updates or find the latest news and trends, the site has also become a powerful resource for connecting employers and job seekers. The rapid pace of Twitter ensures that you'll find the latest information about job postings and employers.

Review the techniques below to learn more about using Twitter in your job search:

Additional Twitter strategies

Other social media sites

Social media is much more than just Twitter and Facebook. Learn more below about how you might use other social media platforms to connect with employers. If you find that you like using several different platforms, you may want to use an app like TweetDeck or HootSuite to manage your time. These apps allow you to schedule posts across multiple social networks, which can save you time and effort.

Meetup

Meetup is an increasingly popular social networking website that connects people with similar interests and helps them organize local meetings offline. While Meetup was originally created for personal networking, more people are beginning to use to the site for professional networking.

Try joining a group in your area to meet other professionals working in your field. You can also visit Meetup's Job Seekers page, which finds Meetup groups that focus exclusively on connecting employers and job seekers.

Screenshot of MeetupThe Meetup Job Seekers page

YouTube and video sharing

Video sharing sites like YouTube and Vimeo allow you to connect with potential employers like never before. You can upload a video resume, which is a short, personal introduction that gives you an opportunity to showcase your skills, talents, and personality for an employer. You might even consider creating your own YouTube Channel to share your portfolio.

Visit Mashable's Top 5 Tips for Creating Impressive Video Resumes, or check our YouTube tutorial to get started.

screenshot of youtubeA video resume on YouTube

Blogs

Another great way to connect with potential employers is to create your own blog. You'll be able to share your opinions, start discussions with other people in your field, demonstrate your knowledge, and establish yourself as an expert. Visit a blog service like Blogger or WordPress, and check out our Blog Basics tutorial to get started.

screenshot of wordpressA blog created with WordPress

Pinterest

While Pinterest might not have a reputation for professional networking, more people are using the site to connect with potential employers and share their personal portfolio with Pinterest's growing audience. Some have also used Pinterest to develop a brand identity by pinning items that are related to their businesses. For example, a hobby store might create a pinboard of interesting craft projects.

Try following pins from some of your favorite companies or creating a pinboard of your own projects. You might also check out Can Pinterest Help Your Job Search? from Mashable to learn more about using Pinterest for job hunting.

Screenshot of PinterestCreating a brand identity on Pinterest

Google+

Although Google+ remains less popular than other social networks, it does have one distinct advantage for job seekers: Google+ makes it easy to choose who you share with, whether you're posting an update or uploading a photo. By grouping your contacts into different circles—such as friends, family, acquaintances, or professional connections—you'll be able to keep your personal and professional networks separate.

Screenshot of Google PlusSharing with specific circles on Google+