From sharing baby photos to vacation spots and popular recipes, social media has become a regular part of our social lives. Since their inception in the early 2000s, these platforms have moved beyond mere tools to share and connect. They now represent spaces where professionals can mingle, network, share ideas, create and launch products, and start businesses.
Social media is here to stay, and as a result, it’s helpful to know how to use it to its fullest advantage. The ability to navigate social media platforms well is a distinct advantage in the professional world and can even help you land the career you’ve always wanted. Let’s dive into how to leverage social media to land your dream job.
Update and optimize your profiles
While all social media platforms can influence your job search, there are a few that it’s especially important to update before you share your resume or reach out to recruiters. These include:
- X (formerly known as Twitter)
Companies will look at your social media profiles before hiring you. Even if it’s just a cursory glance, you want to make sure your profiles are an accurate representation of who you are and the value you add to a workplace.
The best place to start is by combing your accounts for any comments, posts, photos, or information that may be out of date and deleting them. What you react to, like, comment on, and share is often linked to what shows up on your personal profile page. You want to make sure those items reflect you accurately.
It’s OK to polish up your profile to be more professional. It may be a good idea to unfollow any accounts that you are no longer personally connected to or interested in. Many platforms allow users to view your followers and followed accounts, and if an employer sees that you are following a brand or influencer that is in direct opposition to the message, they may move on from considering you.
After you’ve spent some time deleting outdated information, it’s time to update your profile. Update your location so that employers know where you are and how far you may need to travel for interviews. Make sure your profile image has been taken within the last five years. Optimize your settings on platforms like LinkedIn for recruiters and employers by following these tips:
- Update your privacy: Checking your settings on all profiles to make them public or private. Just remember that public profiles should be the most professional!
- Update your location: Add your current workplace or location if you haven’t already
- Review your employer’s social media policy: Most companies have one. Google it to see what they expect of their employees and adjust your account accordingly.
- Check your tags: This one can be trickier because you don’t always have control over who tags you in photos, but if you do see that you’re tagged in something you don’t want to share with a potential employer it’s a good idea to get in touch with whoever tagged you and ask them to remove it.
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Profile updates and optimization tips
- Make sure your profile photo is high quality and professional
- List your former and current roles succinctly
- Include non-work interests like hobbies or community service
- Engage regularly on the platform with other users and content
- Include accomplishments, certifications, and any other professional licenses
- Curate recommendations and endorsements
Many of these tips are specific to LinkedIn, as it’s one of the first networks employers look at and heavily used by recruiters. But many of these updates can also be applied to other platforms. Don’t forget that employers are on platforms like TikTok and Instagram, even if those don’t seem traditionally corporate. They will be looking for discrepancies in your profiles and may ask about them in the interview.
If you’re not sure exactly which profiles you still have that are active, start by Googling yourself. From there you can figure out which platforms bring up your name and decide if you’d like to keep them.
Let your social network know you’re looking for a job
This is when social media is at its best, helping you make connections with people you wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to meet. What used to take hours of phone calling can be done in a few short minutes.
Start by engaging your own network with direct and private messages to others in your field who are working for different companies. Be sure to have some quick bullets on what you’re looking for, your resume, cover letter, and any relevant references ready to go.
Social media sites elevate the profiles of their most engaged users. By consistently using social platforms in the months leading up to and during your job search, you will also ensure that your profile gets shown to more potential employers.
Engage regularly on social media platforms to elevate your brand
So how do you engage well with a social media platform? Like any media space, there are different ways to boost your online presence and create engaging content that elevates your personal brand including:
- Liking, commenting, or reacting to posts
- Posting your own content regularly including photos and images
- Balancing quick and engaging content via temporary “story” posts with more evergreen content via feed posts
- Sharing content from others
- Following brands, influencers, managers, CEOs, and storytellers from the companies you want to work for
While each platform is going to be a little different, these social media marketing tips are a good place to start. Job-seeking on social media is another form of marketing. Think of yourself as the product and your potential employer or employers as the target audience.
From there, it becomes about creating the right messaging to get noticed and engage with your target audience. If employers are fans of your personal brand on social media, they will be more likely to like you in person.
The most important thing to remember is consistent, measured engagement. This means posting regularly, but not too frequently. Commenting on some posts, but not every post. Sharing a video of yourself explaining a difficult concept particular to your field, but not a video of you ranting about a competitor.
In a world where your digital footprint is very visible, it’s important to keep the conversation positive and authentic. Talk about your goals and interests and share content that both relates to those items and promotes a positive feed. Show employers that you’re the perfect candidate by posting in a way that represents your best self.
Your content should reflect your interests, but shouldn’t just be you sharing your opinions. Try to stick to creative posts and share information that’s beneficial to the community you’re trying to reach.
Start your job hunt with social media
Taking the time to create authentic social media profiles and engage regularly on the platforms will help you stand out to employers. After you’ve updated and optimized your social media presence, you can begin your job search with confidence. Remember that the job search process takes time even with the help of social media. It’s best to continue engaging on social media platforms even if you aren’t seeing immediate results.
As you continue to optimize your profiles and engage on the platforms, it’s also a good idea to take another look at your resume and start curating professional references. Interested in learning more? Check out how to avoid five common resume mistakes and 10 ways to grow your career as an adult. Or connect with a counselor and learn more about how continuing your education with PLNU can help you in your career.