The Best Tips for Using Social Media to Land a Job Interview

Whether you’re just starting out, a new college graduate or a veteran of the hunt, social media can absolutely help

 you to land a job interviewIn conjunction with a solid resume and network, there are several great tips, tools and techniques you can use to break through the resume stack and get your foot in the door. While landing the job from there is still an uphill fight, you know having you voice heard can be the hardest part of the interview process.

But before jumping into the specific social media tools and tactics, we need to understand the current work environment from a recruiter’s point of view.

Here in the US, as of March 2013, the latest data from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics pegs the unemployment rate at 7.6%, representing over 11 million people in dire need of new working opportunities around the country. When you also account for the underemployed and the people looking to change their jobs, there’s a lot of pressure on the demand side. This can lead to 20, 30, 50 or even 100 applicants per job regardless of industry, seniority and location.

In light on these market condition, for success you HAVE TO STAND OUT. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to create a resume work of art like Philippe Dubost, but you do need to be in the top 10% of applicants in the mind of the hiring manager.

So how do you use social media to get there?

LinkedIn is where you should start and it very well may be where your job hunt ends. Beginning yesterday, you want to make sure your LinkedIn profile is 100% filled out, up-to-date and that you’re connected with everyone you’ve ever worked with professionally or personally. For your work history, every previous role of yours should have one to three recommendation from your bosses, those you managed, coworkers and clients- It’s a simple way to show up-front that people will vouch for you. As an added incentive, asking former (or current) colleagues for written recommendations can be a great way to find out who has your back when it comes time for reference checks.

SEO for the job hunt

Reference may be great, but it can be hard just getting to that point. Here’s where the SEO comes in.

When a job goes live, all of the applications are usually forwarded to a recruiter who makes the first call. You want to be absolute sure that your resume hits on your experience with the relevant tools, programs and keywords. If you know how to use WordPress, Drupal and Hubspot, it behooves you to talk about it. Many times, recruiters will use computer programs to sift through resumes and the keywords are what matters most. The worst thing you can do as a job hunter is to undersell yourself and have your resume passed over because the computer program didn’t know about something like your HTML experience. 

Careful though- If you’re tempted to bolster your resume with lies, you’re likely to be blacklisted by the company and ruin any future opportunities of employment there. Honesty will never be overrated.

Here’s a better idea

Think about how many resumes you’ve sent out.Have you been discerning in your selection of jobs, or have you been applying everywhere with an opening? If it’s the latter, it’s time to start keeping track of all the roles with an Excel sheet showing the title, company, location, date and notes about the hiring manager and contacts. This will help you to focus on quality and ensure timely follow-ups.

Most jobs postings will provide you with a contact email and LinkedIn will even tell you who posted it, so be sure to reach out to the person behind the job post. You can even use Linkedin’s search feature to find recruiters and people within the company to speak to. It doesn’t hurt to try emailing or even tweeting at them. While it could be seen as overbearing or stalker-ish, that direct connection can get you in the door. You can even search LinkedIn for other people talking about openings based on keywords and locations. Either they will end up being the person in charge of the role, or they’ll know who is.

Resume pray and spray is hurting you.

Too often, job seekers are focused on sending out as many resumes as possible, instead of focusing on landing one job. It’s very important to realize that it only takes one hiring manager to set up one phone screen, the interviews and then offer the job. Forget about the hundreds of resumes casts into oblivion- If you can interest that one person, it opens the door to the opportunity.

What about Twitter?

On Twitter, you can follow the companies you’re interested in and even start a conversation there. See what they are talking about and educate yourself further on the topics. Think about the problems the business is trying to solve and how you can help. Once you have something to add- chime in. It’s what Twitter is all aboutDigitally build rapport with the department managers and try moving the conversation offline. When you take the time to develop these smaller steps, the larger ones will fall into place.

While you’re working to attract the right people (think Inbound Marketing for the job hunt), you can also seek out jobs and promote yourself. The best way to seek jobs on Twitter is via the search bar and #Hashtags that are relevant to your industry. #Marketingjobs and #socialmediajobs are two that work for me, but find what topics and locations are relevant for you.

Check out this resource for more on Twitter searching. 

Once you find the good keywords and hashtags, you can tweet out your LinkedIn URL with the hashtags and build awareness for your personal brand. In doing so, you may find people reaching out to you for jobs you didn’t even know existed by doing so.

What about Facebook?

Facebook is useful for letting your friends know about your job hunt. Since most jobs will be filled through networking (not job boards), your network is your #1 asset. This is true partly because most companies prefer to hire internally or via recommendations from the inside. The reality is that jobs that will never hit a job board are opening every day, and it’s up to you to have people in your corner looking out for you.

There’s also a useful partnership between Facebook and Monster called BeKnown, which ties your Facebook network to your job hunt. It’s like a LinkedIn for Facebook (if that makes sense?), and while it’s not very powerful just yet, it can’t hurt to put yourself out there.

All in all, just make sure to balance your approach using Facebook as its place for communication, not spam. All it takes is one “unlike” to be cast into oblivion from the feeds of your friends. The same goes for every social network and conversation you have.

The best for last

Assume a hiring manager is interested and they want to learn more about you before picking up the phone. What do they do? If you said Google, you’re absolutely right.

“Your Google results are your new resume.” - Richard Bolles (career expert)

Try it for yourself and see what the hiring manager would see. Will they find a frequent partier who’s always complaining about work and life, or will they find someone who’s more conscientious and productive. If the picture on Google hurts your professional image, use resources like this one for ideas on online reputation management.

To keep it simple, don’t say anything online that you wouldn’t want your grandmother to hear. The same goes for pictures and videos. You don’t have to build a website with your namesake, but it certainly doesn’t hurt.

So are you ready?

While landing a job can be a grueling journey, you do have the power to influence the outcome. By researching what works and controlling what you can, social media and your digital footprint can help you to succeed. Always ask yourself, What can I do today via social media to help land a job interview?

After thinking about it, share your ideas in the comments section below.

Images onetwothree and four via Flickr

Originally posted at Mr Ryan Connors Blog

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