Social media is great for sharing thoughts, messages, pictures, video, and more with your friends and family, as well as keeping tabs on celebrities, sports teams, news, and other interesting stuff. While these are all great uses of tools like Twitter and Facebook, you can also use your social media to get a job or advance your career. However, it is not as easy as just sending out a load of messages to prospective employers asking for work – as it requires a little bit more savvy to make the right impression in the right places.
If you have several social media accounts (Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc) then it is worth making them slightly different from one-another. You might want to keep your Facebook profile for chatting to family and friends, while LinkedIn is generally seen as a more professional platform that you can use for work. This doesn’t mean that you can fill your more personal social media accounts with whatever you want, as you should be aware that a potential employer may well still check them out. It is safest to make sure that all of your social media profiles are ‘work ready,’ although that doesn’t mean you can’t show some of your personality. It is just best to keep those parts of your social media life away from your business accounts, while watching that you don’t put out something that could be embarrassing or cost you your chance at a job!
It is all about creating a certain image with your social media profiles. While you shouldn’t lie on social media you can always tweak your personality so as to show off the best bits. Think of yourself as working as your own P.R. company and try to work out how best to market yourself through social media – including the profiles themselves. It can be tricky to know what skills to list on your LinkedIn profile, for example, but if you keep building it up it will soon take shape. Don’t forget to include ‘soft skills’ as well as any training or qualifications you have.
Since social media is free and so easy to use it can be tempting to just start firing off messages to employers to look for work. Sending out reams of duplicate letters may be fine with real physical post (where other people can’t check what you are sending), but should be avoided when using social media. Since anyone can check your timeline, employers will be able to see that you are playing the numbers game to find work. It is much better to take more time and try to add a personal touch, which means engaging with your target first.
Rather than going straight in and asking for a job, why not try to build up a little conversation with your prospective employer. Comment on what they are doing, tell them what you like about their work, and try to spark a little conversation. The idea is to show that you are interested in a certain business or employer, rather than just looking for any old job. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should expect to be made the managing director straight away, as you will still have to prove yourself and work your way up in your career.
Once you have made contact and broken the ice you can start to show your skills and knowledge and then maybe try to organise a face-to-face meeting. Say that you would love to work for them and explain what you think you can offer, and see if you can organise an informal meet-up to talk more. It is very unlikely that you will be offered a job straight over social media, so your goal should be to impress enough to organise a face-to-face meeting. While this probably won’t be a formal job interview, it is worth doing some preparation and working out answers to a few common interview questions, just in case.
One final thing, don’t forget about your family and friends. These are the people who know and like you best. You should always start your job search with them – they may have some inside information about an upcoming vacancy, or might even be able to make an introduction for you. Why start with strangers when you can start with your own existing network?