How to use social media in your job hunt
From cat videos to TV show memes, social media is usually seen as a fun way to spend some downtime. But it’s also one of the best ways to increase your visibility and make connections, which in turn makes it a brilliant tool for candidates.
A 2021 survey found that 84% of organisations were recruiting via social media, with another 9% who weren’t, planning to do so. So it’s really worth creating a profile, building up your connections, and putting yourself out there.
Read our advice on how to make the most of the top three social media platforms when you’re looking for a job.
This is probably the most useful social media channel for job-hunters.; more than 95% of recruiters use LinkedIn to search for talent, so it should be your first priority. Here are some tips for how to create an attention-grabbing profile:
- Photo: Use a recent, professional-looking headshot; one where you’re smiling will help you seem approachable. You can also add the #opentowork swoosh to your photo to highlight your availability to employers.
- Headline: This doesn’t just have to be your current job title; it’s the chance to sell yourself in a couple of lines. So if you can, find a snappy way to sum up a bit about you, your experiences and goals.
- Summary: This is where you get to bring your skills and experience to life. So use this section to tell the story of how the skills and experience you have picked up across your career will benefit potential employers. And don’t be afraid to make it a bit personal – talking about your interests will help the reader get a sense of who you are and what you’re about.
- Recommendations: Go out to former bosses or colleagues and ask them to write you a recommendation (you’ll get to approve what they write before they post it) or endorse you for key skills.
- Visibility: Set your profile’s public visibility to ON, so that prospective employers can find you.
Of course, your profile is just the start. To really have an impact on LinkedIn, you need to be an active member. So:
- Make connections: Send invites asking people to connect, either one by one or by synching your profile with your email address book. Even if you haven’t been in touch with someone for a while or only know them slightly, it’s perfectly acceptable to ask to connect on this platform.
- Follow and join: There’s a wide range of groups that you can join and follow; some sector specific, others more skill or interest based. Doing so will not only flag up the kind of thing you’re interested in, but also put you into contact with others in your field.
- Like, share and comment: Aside from your summary, this is your main opportunity to show people what you’re about. It adds value for your contacts, because you’re bringing interesting content to their attention. And it demonstrates your views and interests too.
- Search for jobs: The platform will actively share jobs within relevant fields with you; you can also use the search tool and set up job alerts.
This may all sound time consuming, but it’s time well spent; we’d recommend actively building some LinkedIn time into your job-hunting plan.
Twitter can also be useful for job seekers. It’s less about being found by potential employers; it’s more a way of searching for roles, particularly if you have specific targets in sight.
Many companies tend to tweet when they’re hiring, so following them could help you get early notice of a potential opportunity. Similarly, recruiters and jobs boards are likely to tweet about the roles they have on offer; we live stream our vacancies via our Timewise Jobs Twitter account.
You can also use job-related hashtags to help narrow your search. For example, if you’re looking for a marketing job, type #marketingjob into the search tool to see any tweets that include that hashtag.
Facebook might seem like a less obvious choice, as it tends to be used much more for personal reasons. However, most companies are active on Facebook, and may post job opportunities, so it’s worth following brands you like.
On a more informal level, it can be a great way to pick up opportunities ion the grapevine before they’re openly advertised. For example, if a friend mentions that a colleague is leaving, or that their company is recruiting, you could get an application in before it’s shared more widely.
If you feel it’s appropriate, you could ask your friend to pass your application on for you, as this will give it more weight than a more formal approach.
Finally, whatever platforms you use, it’s worth remembering that potential employers increasingly use social media to vet potential candidates. So make sure that anything you post or share is a true reflection of yourself – and of how you would like to be seen.