The future is now! Social media is the best! Or at least it’s fast, which can sometimes feel like the same thing. And social media really is great—we’re more connected to each other, and opportunities, than ever before. But if you want to take social media and harness its power for your job search, there are definitely smart, targeted ways to go about it.
Build your network.
A network has always been a key to a successful career—and what is social media, if not built-in networks? Adding people to your circles on LinkedIn or following them on Twitter/Facebook/Instagram/whatever comes next is great, but you have to do something with that connection. Use the social networks to engage people you admire, and post thoughtful comments on their posts. If you want to rekindle a relationship with an old boss or colleague who could provide an introduction or recommendation, send periodic “Hey, was thinking of you, just wanted to see how you’re doing with that project these days” notes.
Before you use social media to hunt for connections or job openings, make sure your profiles are professional. That means creating accounts in your name (rather than your high school handle), and cleansing your profiles of shady photos or public rants about your pet political issue. Or you can keep all of those things, but make them private and create new accounts that reflect Professional You.
Think about your content strategy.
If you’re using your social media presence to position yourself as a widget-analysis guru, make sure the content you post reflects that. Take time each week to post links to interesting articles, or ask your followers to weigh in on a particular topic. Some sites, like LinkedIn, let you post your own essays and articles, and share them out. That’s one way to get on the radar of people who might not otherwise see you in their feeds.
Keep it current.
Once you’ve set up your social media presence, don’t stop updating. If you’re linking to your social media accounts in your resume or if you’re leaving them public for people to find when they search for you, then you want to keep things up to date.
See it as a living resume.
Once you submit a resume, it’s pretty locked-in. If you keep a robust, updated social media presence, that can let you add details in real time. For example, let’s say you sent Company Z your resume a month ago, but their hiring moves pretty slowly. And in the interim, you’ve finished taking a class on HTML. Make sure you’ve updated your LinkedIn profile or your portfolio on your personal website. That way, when Company Z finally starts checking into your deal, they can see that you’re actively building and improving. It’s also a handy tool for your own reference. When you go to send an updated resume, having information stored somewhere central can help remind you of the points you want to include.
Social media isn’t the only job search tool you have at your disposal, but it can be a powerful one if you use it in a targeted, mindful way. Good luck!