Improving Your (Social) Networking Skills

If you’re on the job hunt and not having much luck connecting with employers or getting opportunities to interview, it may be time to switch up your approach. A tool that you can use, but might have overlooked, is social media. While networking, in the traditional sense, has been thought of as face-to-face interactions, social networking can be done on-the-go and between individuals thousands of miles apart. According to Anthony Gaenzle, “in today’s job market, it’s critical that your social media presence paints you as a model citizen and someone a hiring manager would want to bring on board.”

Social media seems to be everywhere these days, so it is no surprise that it is being used as a factor in the job search. With more and more employers recruiting potential candidates on social media, creating and maintaining a strong presence can make or break your search. It is not enough to simply have a presence, however. When looking for a job, you need to take matters into your own hands to seek out and engage with employers.

In order to make the most of your social media presence and improve your chances of finding the right job for you, consider the following tips:

Connect on LinkedIn

If you are searching for a job (or already have one for that matter) and you don’t have a LinkedIn, it is time to get up to speed. A LinkedIn profile on this “professional Facebook” is considered a “living” copy of your resume. It can show details that your paper resume cannot, such as different examples of your work, certifications, projects, etc. You must stay on top of your profile and update it regularly to catch the eye of employers. Being active on the platform shows that you are career-oriented and driven.

The driving force behind LinkedIn is the ability to make connections with other professionals. You can connect with people whose career is of interest to you, you have worked with before, or are interested in working with in the future.

There are a few different schools of thought when it comes to LinkedIn connections. Often times people will shy away from connecting with individuals they do not personally know. However, the only way to get to know them is by connecting and setting up a phone call or informational interview. Some people connect with any and everybody in hopes of opening doors to future opportunities, while others prefer to limit their connections to people they have worked with in the past. LinkedIn differs from other social networks in that it is perfectly acceptable to connect with a stranger and start a conversation about their life and career, whereas on Facebook, for example, it might not be appropriate.

Be Active on Twitter

While LinkedIn is the ideal network for professional interactions, Twitter is a way to take it a step further. If used correctly, this platform can take your career to the next level and open the doors to a lot of potential opportunities. According to Gaenzle, many companies are starting to have Twitter handles dedicated to recruiting, so you can follow these accounts to monitor a company’s hiring status.

Additionally, you can follow different executives at a company or employees and engage with their Tweets. It is recommended to start of slow and throw them a couple likes or retweets here and there instead of bombarding them. Once you’ve done that, you can reach out and start a conversation. While it is true that you will never know the answer to something unless you ask, you probably shouldn’t come out directly and ask for a job at their company. Instead, build the connection organically so when it comes time to apply to an open opportunity, your name will come to mind and they can recommend you.

Utilize Your Connections

We’ve all heard about the “six degrees of separation” phenomenon, but when it comes to social media it is especially true. On LinkedIn for instance, you can see individuals who are your “first,” “second” and “third” degree connections and how you are connected to them. When applying to jobs at companies that one of your connections works at, you are asked if you’d like to ask that individual for a recommendation.

Reach out to your network and ask them how they got to their role, what they like about working for their current employer, etc. If you don’t utilize your connections, then what sense does it make to have them?

Wrap Up

In today’s constantly connected society, if you don’t have social media you are likely in the minority. There seems to be a community or app for just about everything these days and the job search is no different. Finding a job is a difficult, competitive process, so finding a way to stand out to employers is key.

Simply having a social media presence is not enough. You must maintain and continue to grow your accounts if you’re going to utilize them for your job search. Make sure your profiles align with your current job goals and begin networking, socially of course.

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