Up until a decade ago, job hunting was a pretty arduous process, conducted largely via the ancient medium of snail mail. Employers tended to stipulate that hard-copy CVs and covering letters should be submitted in tandem with emailed applications: requirements that may have deterred people from putting the work in, with all the inherent connotations of bureaucracy.
Now, the job market is almost completely transformed, powered – some may even say supercharged – by the plethora of tools that are on hand in the social web. No longer a creaking climate festooned with paperwork and envelopes, the job market is like a hive – a mobile, fluid and accessible world in which the month-long wait for employers’ responses, whether positive or negative, has been replaced by the far more instantaneous influence of social-media resources.
But that immediacy and flow does NOT make it advisable to use social media outlets as vehicles for pouncing at employers’ contact pages at 90 miles per hour, with the impression that speed alone is your greatest ally for landing that dream role. While the old-school way was time consuming on an ongoing basis, the current scene demands that you put the time in upfront. The point here is that if you devise a strategy and a presentational format for each social tool, you will be able to make the right impression when you send out your details – and avoid any digital faux pas.
Why is this so important? Well…
92% of hiring managers used social media outlets as recruitment tools in 2010
86% of employers have said that candidates should make their social-media profiles more employment friendly
One out of three employers have rejected candidates because of details about them that appeared on social media sites
(Figures from mashable.com)
With that in mind, let’s have a look at the most productive approaches for the three most popular social-media outlets.
(used by 50% of recruiters for hiring in 2010)
‘@PotentialEmployer Your company looks great, I’d love to work there – give us a job!’ would not be the ideal way to start off your job search on Twitter. Every tweet that you make from your account will be visible on a publicly available timeline, so in-your-face approaches like that will only get you into trouble with your current employer. Of course, if you are a recent graduate, it will be a different matter – but only to the extent that you should probably use the hidden, direct messaging service instead: it is more polite and discreet.
Twitter is not really set up for people to ‘apply’ for jobs at all. In fact, it is more geared towards helping you to build relationships, often slowly and painstakingly, and gather up circles of people who could help you. Such as recruiters – whether they are in-house HR officers, or execs for specialist recruitment firms. On the one hand, you will be able to follow them, which means that their updates will show up in your timeline and you will be aware of any avenues they are interested in, or any jobs they are posting. On the other, they will be able to follow you, which means that you will be on their radar screens as a prospective candidate.
A positive outlook, knowledge of your industry and an upbeat, can-do attitude will carry the day on Twitter – a resource that naturally repels the world’s cynics. Make yourself look interesting (but not outrageous!) and enthusiastic – and always have something fresh to say.
(used by 60% of recruiters for hiring in 2010)
If you are looking to post a CV with a sense of interactivity, then Facebook is well suited to the task. You could do this in one of two ways: either you could create a CV in the Notes section of your profile and make it viewable to everyone – thereby giving recruiters an at-a-glance view of your experience and capabilities – or, if your employment history is more involved, you could create a separate Like page which would enable you to put the details across more expressively.
You could then use Twitter to send out links to these pages, making your details more accessible to your circle of recruiters.
While it goes without saying, it would be remiss of AAT Jobs not to say the following: thanks to the site’s new Timeline feature, your entire Facebook history – every update or photograph you’ve ever posted – will be available to anyone that you lower your privacy restrictions to. Any CV or other employment details that you upload will make recruiters more curious about your actual profile. So a bit of judicious tidying up and policing of your own content would be advisable before you go live with your material.
(used by 86% of recruiters for hiring in 2010)
Geared towards more experienced professionals rather than people who are starting out, LinkedIn is 100% about employment and recruitment – unlike Facebook and Twitter, which are full-spectrum social entities playing upon every aspect of life. As such, LinkedIn demands a far more focused engagement with the issues that surround work, management – even specialist industries.
Arguably, you will have the most successful experience on LinkedIn by doing your homework. If you are well into your second job – or even ploughing through your third or fourth – you may well have the urge to advertise the expertise you have amassed to other professionals as a means of getting yourself noticed. LinkedIn makes a great forum for this, via its discussion facility, which enables you to engage with like-minded – or even different-minded! – individuals on a host of matters connected with the professional world.
This will establish you as someone who doesn’t just do a job, but has opinions about work, industries and how things should be managed. In other words, a lot of things that crop up in job interviews. If you participate productively and positively, this will go some way to helping you get your foot in the door.