Top Ten Things Job Hunters Should Do on Social Media
I just spent the last two weekends teaching Social Media for Job Hunters at Bellevue College. It is always a great learning experience for me, and I hope, a valuable experience for the students as well.
Here are some of the major takeaways. Please feel free to add your thoughts or argue with mine in the comments section.
1. Make job hunting your job
Even if you have a job, when you are job hunting, think of it as a job. Spend a fixed amount of time. Outsource things you aren’t good at like proof reading or photography. At minimum get other people to provide feedback on your profiles and headlines, even the phrase you use to describe yourself on Twitter. Those providing feedback are your team. Make finding a job a project with metrics and deliverables. That will keep you in the game, and give you game.
2. Define your brand
You may not like being a brand in order to find work, but if you decide not to be, you will find yourself at a significant disadvantage over those who do. Just saying what you’ve done doesn’t define who you are. The best companies hire the whole person, not just meatware with some specific features and functions. You need to differentiate yourself from the competition by sharing what is unique about you in an interesting and accessible way. You are not a “welder” your are “a certified welder, great team member and creative problem solver, who delivers quality welds in all positions of grooves and fillets so that structures I help build will last the test of time.”
3. Find your keywords
While you are defining your brand, find the keywords that both make you findable, and in combination, make you different.
Nouns and verbs describe you. Some advisors suggest the world is all about nouns, but it isn’t. You are as much your adjectives as you are your nouns. All of them can be keywords that create a unique statistical finger print of you in cyberspace. Find all the words that uniquely describe you and see how you can form them into cohesive sentences that paint a picture of you. Remember that once you get through the search engine a real person will read what you write and you want to connect with him or her. Too plain the writing and you will look as automated as the tools that indexed your profile. Express yourself. Do use your keywords, but do so in a way that expresses your unique experience and your unique point-of-view.
4. Reengineer your resume
First of all, don’t post a generic resume all over the Internet. That diminishes your brand. Get your LinkedIn profile in order, and aligned with your Facebook and Twitter accounts. Post some thoughtful comments about your industry insights and some jobs will come and find you. Wether you search or job find you, before you submit your resume reorganize it for each submission. Put the most relevant information first. Eliminate information that doesn’t support your case for the job you are applying for, and make sure your summary doesn’t conflict with what you have posted publicly. Don’t go keyword crazy on your resume, but make sure the keywords are there. Remember, once somebody finds you, you move from search optimization to relationship building. You have to stop writing like you are trying to attract a search engine and start communicating like you are the best person for the job.
5. Make LinkedIn Rock
LinkedIn is your portal to the job world and the job world’s portal to you. Spend your time honing and refining your headline, your job summary and your experience. Don’t forget to turn off update notifications if you are doing a lot of editing, or minor editing. I heavily recommend editing in a word processor then cutting and pasting into LinkedIn. If you use that method, turn on notifications so people will see you have updated info. Remember, LinkedIn is about being found.
Key LinkedIn Tips:
- Write a hot headline. Don’t use your current job title as your headline. Think of this rather as your work life title, something that tells people about what you know and how you go about work, all in just a few words. Write so recruiters will want to read more.
- Intrigue with your Summary. First, if you don’t have a summary, write one. If you have one or not, make sure it is a good story about you. This is not the place to just list skills or provide history. You are in an elevator, alone with the hiring manager. He or she asks, “Why should I hire you.” Write that answer in your summary. Write like you are selling you to the next person who will hire you.
- Upload a great picture. Get a picture of you smiling in a business setting. Phone cameras are fine, just don’t use a selfie. Get with a friend, get some good light and stand in front of a nice backdrop with some depth (a hall, an atrium or a big conference room). Focus on your face, but get enough of the background that you can tell you aren’t standing in front of a wall. If you work in a field with visual outputs, even a project plan on a wall, stand in front of that. It will make for an interesting item for you to point at during an interview (as in, “If you look behind my LinkedIn picture, you will see the 500 item Pert network I created for the event.”) or the prompt for a question from the recruiter or hiring manager. Friend with a professional camera? Get them to take the picture.
- Use your Job history to tell your story. Have a current job, even if you are volunteering. If looking for work is your work, you can still volunteer. If you are employed, and for all other jobs, write about specific accomplishments, obstacles you’ve overcome or other work you are proud of. Write about it in detail, with bullets that tell the story of the accomplishment. Be very detailed with your current job. For jobs more than ten years in the past, just include the company, title and dates. If you mention something in your summary for an older job, don’t feel obligated to reiterate it in the position statement.
- Make Connections. Connect with everyone you know, and everyone you meet. Immediately. Yes, right away. While they still remember you. Don’t worry if your profile isn’t perfect, LinkedIn isn’t worth anything without a network.
- Complete your Profile. Don’t neglect anything. If you have a skill, are in a work related video on YouTube, or have won an award, include it. Make sure to take the following actions:
- Add an industry.
- Add postal code (don’t put in your entire address, but do include your zip code. Most jobs are location based. If you don’t have a location, recruiters won’t find you when looking for people in your area).
- Multimedia related to the current or any other job. Upload videos or work examples.
- Add skills and then get some people to endorse your skills.
- Set your “vanity” URL in public profile settings so you have a profile that employs your name and not some random letters and numbers.
- Include your education.
- Share where you spend your volunteer time.
- Ask for a recommendation. Don’t be afraid. If you did a good job in a previous role, ask a colleague or even a customer to tell other people about it.
- Write an update or post. If you don’t have a blog, a post on LinkedIn is the ideal place to share insights, state opinions or evaluate a product or concept that intrigued you. Get started by commenting on posts from other people. Be concise and business oriented. LinkedIn is not the place for family photos or sharing popular culture or funny animal stories or photos. What you write should be considered a reinforcement of your personal brand.
6. Don’t neglect Twitter
You can use Twitter to hunt for openings often before they get posted on job boards by searching on #Job #YOUR_CITY (example #Job #Seattle). Also search for recruiters in your area and create a list so you can follow their postings and their advice. Remember, lists are for creating views through the Twitterverse, by following local recruiters you eliminate distracting tweets unrelated to your job search.
7. Build a network
Yes, I just said that on LinkedIn. Not everybody is on LinkedIn, and not everybody is going to connect with you on LinkedIn. If you have a person’s email and they don’t connect on LinkedIn, try to follow them on Twitter, see if they have a blog you can follow or even an Instagram account. If you don’t know really them, I suggest you don’t connect via Facebook. If you really want to connect with someone you don’t know and are wiling to make an investment, get a one month trial to LinkedIn Pro and send them an InMail and see what happens. You can also @mention someone and see how that goes on Twitter.
As you build your network use tags (or circles in Google+) to create categories for people. Consider categories like mentor, lead generator, hiring manager, recruiter, etc. This will help you focus your messages on the right people.
8. Work your network
A network that you don’t communicate with is just wasted bits on a server. Share your thoughts with posts. Vote on people’s skills. Initiate recommendations for great bosses or colleagues. Get involved. If you notice people, eventually they will notice you.
9. Follow the companies where you want to work
LinkedIn and Twitter both allow you to follow companies you want to work for. Facebook often has company pages. When you get the opportunity to work for the ideal company, make sure you are as well informed about them as you can be. Following them on social media will provide financial, product and marketing information. Don’t let social media be your only source, though. Check places like Hoovers and other business sites for additional information and insight.
10. Be audacious
If you pay for LinkedIn occasionally, you can send InMails to connect with people you don’t know, but who you want to. Twitter is an open network so you can freely @mention anyone anytime. They might not get back to you, but then again, they might. Pay a complement, ask a question, ask for a meeting — If you don’t engage you will never know what might have come of that one time you mentioned ___________ in a tweet. The best way to be audacious is to create original value-added content that shares your unique experience. Don’t just like, or retweet, or post links to other people’s ideas. You have ideas of your own. Share them!