It’s a simple fact at this point: Social media is a part of our daily lives. From showing our vacation adventures to sharing videos of our pets, social media has become an outlet for each of us to document our life and illustrate who we are as a person. Amid the perfect GIFs and clever captions, social media has also become an easy-access point for future employees to vet potential candidates and for individuals to discover and secure a new job.
In fact, 70 percent of employers use social media to screen candidates, and 57% have decided not to hire a candidate based on their social media profiles. With potential job opportunities at stake, it’s important now more than ever for job seekers to use social media to their advantage and show employers who they are, what they can do and where they’re going in life.
Shama Hyder, CEO of Zen Media, explained it best, “The question is no longer IF you have a personal brand, but if you choose to cultivate your brand or let it be defined on your behalf.”
Taking control of your personal brand through social media is the key to securing the attention and appreciation of your future employer. Here are five social media tips to make your profile stand out above the crowd and help you snag that dream job.
Quality is Always Better than Quantity
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and the list of social platforms goes on and on. But the key to social media is to have quality accounts that you enjoy updating and show the depth of what you can do. Depending on your area of specialty, some social media sites may be more appropriate than others. For aspiring journalists, Twitter may be the platform of choice, while graphic artists might flock to Tumblr.
Keep in mind that it’s better to have two up-to-date accounts that demonstrate what you’re all about than five accounts that haven’t been updated in years. Your social accounts are not a dumping ground for things of the past; they are a window into what makes your soul tick.
Form Real Connections
We tend to think of social media as a substitute for real-life interactions. But if you want to outshine other job candidates, consider using your social media accounts to connect with industry experts and mentors in real life.
Send a personalized message to that LinkedIn connection you just made and see if he or she wants to chat and have coffee. Talk to that old college friend who’s rocking it in the industry you want to be a part of. At a special conference for your field? Use the conference Twitter hashtag to network and connect with folks later in the day. Going the extra mile to connect with folks will make you stick out in their minds when any future opportunities do arise!
Show Your Expertise, Become a Thought Leader
According to Mashable’s Brandon Smith, “When you start to situate yourself as an expert in a specific subject, you’ll notice that people will begin to follow you for advice… As you start building your ‘brand,’ think about why people are following or talking to you. Are you an expert in a particular industry? Are you opinionated? Funny?”
Once you establish your voice and expertise, share trends you’re noticing in the field and back up your thoughts with articles and current projects. Be careful not to simply brag about your accomplishments though, be approachable and share other leaders’ successes and viewpoints. Your followers (and future employer) will appreciate your dedication to the topics that matter to you and your willingness to share the knowledge you’ve gained with others.
Be Your Authentic Self
Employers not only use social media to learn more about potential candidates, they also use social profiles to see if the candidate fits the company’s culture and would work well with current employees. Don’t be afraid show off your personality, and remember, it’s perfectly fine to be quirky and fun! By letting the real you shine through, employers will be able to imagine how you would fit within their company and hopefully you can find the exact work environment you are looking for.
Never Stop Learning
Just because you’re getting older doesn’t mean you have to stop learning. Follow industry groups on LinkedIn, create lists on topics you want to learn more about on Twitter, attend conferences or events and go live so others can see what you’re up to. Employers will be impressed by your determination to learn all you can. Plus, if you don’t seem to have everything on paper that they’re looking for, employers will be able to see how you‘re constantly educating yourself and adapting to the changing landscape. Who wouldn’t want to hire someone like that?
Now take these five tips to heart, and you’ll be well on your way to securing that special role. Happy job hunting!