Want to get the most out of social media for your job search? Here's how.
It's safe to say many of us feel inundated with the amount of social media types that exist. With the explosion in popularity across many platforms over the last decade, it's certainly hard to keep up with which one is the most popular, how to use each properly, etc. So, for readers' pleasure, a breakdown of how to professionally navigate and network in the social media world follows:
Since its inception, LinkedIn has been touted as a networking tool for all professionals. It does so much more! LinkedIn allows users to maintain contact with professionals they may not otherwise feel comfortable having an online relationship with. Users can share ideas with like-minded individuals by following the sites of their respective former employers and schools. LinkedIn serves as a great accompaniment to a resume. Users can provide detailed information in LinkedIn without having to adhere to resume etiquette, e.g. trying to fit everything into two pages and the like. LinkedIn is also a great starting point for publishing aspirations, as any member can publish an article pertinent to her/his career field. Finally, it can be used to search for jobs. Users can receive regular email reminders that list available positions, search for positions and post open jobs for their own companies. This website is only becoming more popular, so USE IT!
Using this professionally may not feel intuitive. Pinterest is less mainstream than some other mediums, but is popular amongst individuals looking to store visual representations of their project ideas, cooking inspirations, etc. It's interesting to use in that one can follow a group or person, but the favour does not have to be returned, so users can connect without reciprocity. Most Pinterest users create “boards” on their pages dedicated to décor, food/beverage, style, cleaning and other items. Having said that, this site can also be used to procure invaluable professional information. A beginner-level user may opt to use Pinterest for professional and personal purposes; however, if a user wants to use it solely for gathering professional ideas, it's great for collecting field-related articles, advice and infographics. Businesses can also start Pinterest pages to help promote the goods and services they offer.
It's safe to say that many people use this 150-words-or-less status updater as a way to connect with friends/groups and stay abreast of current events. Similar to Pinterest, users can follow a person or business, but the favour doesn't have to be returned and this does limit the ways in which a user can contact an entity s/he follows. It's mainly individuals that fall within the younger end of the millennial generation spectrum that use this site, but it's becoming a popular way to connect professionally as well. Twitter may be used to establish initial contacts, post links to field-specific articles and share or “re-Tweet” valuable ideas from those one admires. This site may not score users an instant job contact, but it's a place to start.
This is the first site many social media consumers have ever established and it's the one used the most broadly in terms of age groups, with it being the least popular amongst teens and college students. It's standard for it to be used to share the more personal aspects of one's life; think photos, event invites, leisure reading, political debates etc. This is great for wishing a friend a Happy Birthday or relishing in the fact that a favourite TV show has been renewed. But it can also be used to show support for admired professionals. It allows users to “like” companies, groups and individuals without having to develop a more personal “friend” relationship. It's important to note that hiring managers often reference a candidate's page in making a hiring decision. So, being cognizant of the site's privacy settings and using them to one's advantage is essential. So exercise sound judgment and do not feel obligated to “friend” prospective/current colleagues.
This site is something of a photo-centric Facebook. This medium is most popular amongst younger millennial individuals, but may still be valuable to folks of all backgrounds. For business owners it's a way to share what a company is accomplishing in a visual way. Like with Facebook, though, it's essential to remain aware of privacy standards if the account is being used for personal and professional purposes.
If you're interested. Reddit, described by one site as an “online bulletin board,” is often intimidating to navigate for first-time social media users. The “sub-reddits” focused on specific topics may allow more tech-savvy folks to forge professional connections. Given the breadth of information contained within Reddit as a whole, it may be best to focus on using more streamlined social media account types if simplicity is the goal.
So, in thinking about way to connect with professionals and companies, think beyond LinkedIn and use as many mediums as possible! And if the idea of maintaining all of these accounts is overwhelming, a service such as Hootsuite allows users to manage all accounts in one place. Cheers and best of luck!