Like many hungry job seekers, Kevin has spent a good portion of his job hunt on social media. He’s scoured companies’ social media pages for job posts, liked and commented on everything they’ve shared, and has even participated in a few Twitter chats relevant to his industry -- all to no avail. Kevin is still without a job and seemingly wasting hours on social media.
So, what’s Kevin doing wrong?
It’s simple: Kevin used social media to put his name out there, but there’s nothing to back that name. Instead of spending hours liking, sharing, and commenting on posts, Kevin should have first focused on developing his personal brand on social media.
This is especially important when you consider the fact that 60 percent of employers use social networking sites to research job candidates -- up from 52 percent in 2015. Of those employers, six in 10 are specifically looking for information that supports their qualifications for the job.
Looking to revamp your social media strategy to help you land a job? Here are four ways to boost your personal brand on social media:
1. Focus on quality over quantity.
You can like, share, and comment on as many social posts as you want, but if you haven’t used social media to push your personal brand forward, it will all be for naught.
One way to focus on quality when it comes to your job search is through creating a Pinterest portfolio. Pinterest gives job seekers a creative, engaging way to show off what they can do. Even if the job isn’t artistic in nature, you can use Pinterest to create inspiration or idea boards for the position you’re applying for.
Overall, focus on the quality, not the quantity of your social media efforts. Do they align with your personal brand? How do you want potential employers to see you? How can you show them your worth in a photo or 140 characters? That’s what matters most to the job search.
2. Choose the right platforms.
Not every social platform is right for every job seeker or job search tactic. To make the most of your job-seeking efforts on social media, identify the social platforms that make the most sense both for your industry and your job search.
By now, we all know how to take advantage of Twitter and Facebook when searching for a job, but what about Snapchat or Instagram?
Instagram, in particular, serves as a great platform for your personal brand. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words. If you’re looking for a job in publishing, for instance, use your Instagram account to post photos of what you’re reading, the latest book signing you attended, or a short book review. When possible, tag specific companies you’d like to work at on posts that are relevant to them.
Regardless of which social platform will be most beneficial to your job search and developing your personal brand, be sure to also maintain a presence on LinkedIn. The overwhelming majority (87 percent) of recruiters find LinkedIn most effective when vetting candidates during the hiring process, according to Jobvite’s 2016 Recruiter Nation Survey.
3. Aim to really stand out.
If you want to stand out within the sea of job candidates all boasting the same skills and qualifications, you need to be unique. Don’t limit yourself to just sharing trending articles, agreeing with everything everyone else says, or (worse) not being active on social media at all. Dare to be different, as they say.
Express your informed opinion, demonstrating your knowledge and expertise. When you disagree with someone’s post, do so respectfully. Maintain your professionalism. Particularly on LinkedIn, present your perspective tactfully without being nasty or rude.
No one knows different quite like Elski Felson, who, back in 2015, used Snapchat to create a video resume or Graham Allgood who designed his own Snapchat geofilter to run an ad campaign to promote himself as the best man for the job. Like Felson and Allgood, go beyond traditional social media job search strategies and try using Snapchat or YouTube to create a ‘hire me’ campaign that’s bound to stand out.
Your social profiles present an opportunity to share your passions, goals, values, and opinions. And these should be unique to you. Show employers that you’re more than just another cog in the machine by using your social media profiles to share everything from thought leadership content to your opinions on the latest within your industry to photos of you attending a professional networking event.
Once you’ve established a solid online presence, reach out directly to employers and hiring managers at the companies on your job search wish list. Hashtags and company tags require no personal introductions and are quick and easy.
The key is to keep it professional and relevant. If you recently attended a workshop or networking event hosted by a company you’re interested in, snap a photo and tag them on Instagram. Some companies also host Q&As via Snapchat, so get involved by sending in a well-thought-out question. Interested employers will likely turn to your social channels to learn more about you and your qualifications for the job, and the personal brand you built will speak for itself.
While liking, sharing, and commenting on posts are great ways to engage with potential employers, it’s important to first establish a personal brand across all your social platforms. This way, employers can learn more about the person behind the job seeker.