There is a lot of advice available to help job seekers use social media platforms to enhance their job hunt, but many are unsure of how to get started..
Career coach Steve Nicholls, one of our regular gust contributors, often helps job seekers to get started on LinkedIn and Twitter and build confidence before they move on to more serious social job hunting. Here he offers some simple advice for those who aren’t sure where to begin…
“I like to focus on is how you can practically leverage the various platforms to your own benefit. With many job decisions being close run affairs these days, it’s often that extra 2 or 3% which can tip the balance in your favour. It’s these subtleties that I focus in on. I’d be interested to hear if any resonate with you.
LinkedIn still dominates as a source for both recruiters and candidates, although there are other options appearing on the web. From a candidate’s perspective then, I seem to come across the same issues or shortcomings on a LinkedIn profile: Photograph…. Dear oh dear! Some are either taken with a mobile phone (fine , but think of what it actually looks like to a stranger), or with an expression that can literally be scary! I suggest a neutral “smile” dressed in appropriate clothing. It’s great that you love your spouse by the way, but a photo with half their head in it? Well, you get my point I’m sure!
Staying with Linked In’ does your Title text state exactly what you’re seeking or offering? Mnay do manage to get this right, but I’m thinking about those who have got perhaps a past role, or a hobby job, or a voluntary role as their headline. The headline is your big chance to “get in there” and state your case. I know that this isn’t always easy, as some of you won’t want to broadcast your intentions to the world (due to current employer possibly looking at your profile) but for the rest it is aunique opportunity to frame in 120 characters what you are and what you can do.
Moving onto Twitter, my experience with this has been that it’s an underestimated tool for business networking, and can be seen as a bit “lite” for the job hunt. Not so, I’ve known of many folks who have built a modest following and have reaped the rewards from this. There are employers and recruiters on Twitter…that much is definite. Its how you engage with a person that dictates the outcomes; I suggest following those people and organizations that interest you, try to keep your following/followers ratio fairly balanced. Retweeting people’s tweets is the best method of creating relationships – but my philosophy is that it must be based from a win-win perspective (Stephen Covey’s book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People covers this better than I can!), which should be at the core of the way you “think” around Twitter. Give first; it’s as simple as that! No simply wading in asking for things from people please… simple human engagement will show that you’re a good person to follow, and make your tweets interesting – not just all about you. I’m still learning, but these are fundamentals that can take months to “get”, so I hope this will help you.
Continuing with Twitter, Hashtags (#hr for example) are a means of appearing in the timelines of people who use the same hashtags and therefore have similar interests. Don’t just invent them randomly; you can search for them in Twitter and see which ones give you the best potential audience for your tweets. Use a Twitter monitoring application such as Hootsuite or Tweetdeck to manage, schedule and monitor your interactions.
There are other social media tools out there, but if you begin with the above two, you’ll be on your way!”
Steve Nicholls has many years of varied career coaching and guidance experience and offers career evaluations as well telephone and skype Career Coaching across the UK. You can also follow him on twitter.