Social media is becoming ubiquitous. Websites like Facebook and YouTube are among the most popular websites racking up millions visits - ok, and they're also among my most visited websites too. But beyond the entertainment factor, I'm realizing more and more that social media is an indispensable part of any serious job search. As a recruiter seeking a position right now, this is especially the case for me.
Why should social media be an integral part of your job search?
Because it gives you the power to offer more than just your resume to a prospective employer. Companies will Google you as soon as you show interest in them. If nothing comes up for your name, that's bad. At the very least, there should be signs that you exist. You must have been mentioned once or twice in the last, oh, fifteen years that the internet has been widely in use. Having a solid and savvy online presence also means you know how to use social media in a way that will behoove the company and its professional goals.
How do you get hip to social media? This is something I'm still picking up - I'm very much a student at this point. For those just starting out, Google yourself and look at the results on the first SERP (search engine results page). What do you see? If you didn't know yourself, what would you think of you? Now, of the first ten results, which ones come from websites where you control the content (ie, Facebook, LinkedIn)? If you don't already have accounts with Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, and even MySpace, you're missing a golden opportunity to control your online image. Open accounts with these sites and others like them, all of which are free.
Now that you know where to post content about yourself, what should you post? Start with your resume on LinkedIn and VisualCV.com, but a mixture of professional and personal content will help round out your online footprint. Nobody wants or expects an employee who is all business all the time. Hiring managers are people too and they want to know more about you than just your resume. So get going! The more content you post, the more love Google will give you in the SERPs. You might not see results right away, but at least you'll rest assured that you have taken back the control of your online image. Eventually, you will be glad you did!