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How to Use Social Media to Land a Job

Miriam Salpeter

Are you discounting social media as a way to land a job? Or are you relying 100 percent on LinkedIn to help you create your digital footprint? If so, you're making a mistake. Research shows employers benefit from using social media to attract candidates. The Society for Human Resource Management's 2013 survey, Social Networking Websites and Recruiting/Selection, found 77 percent of organizations use social networking sites to recruit potential job candidates. They also found 69 percent of organizations use social networking tools to target and recruit candidates with specific skill sets, 67 percent use social networking to increase employer brand and recognition and 57 percent use it to allow potential candidates to easily contact their organization about employment.

The study further indicated that while a majority (92 percent) of employer respondents used LinkedIn, 58 percent also tapped Facebook, 31 percent use Twitter and 25 percent use Google+. Less than 10 percent of employers used sites such as YouTube, Pinterest, Myspace and Foursquare.

Candidates can take advantage of employers' interest in reaching out to them via social media to find their next jobs. Stéphane Le Viet, founder and CEO of Work4, has worked with companies of all sizes, industries and locations to implement hiring strategies on social media. He offers the following tips to job seekers on best practices to leverage social media tools during job search.

Use every network that makes sense for you. Don't limit yourself to "professional" social networks. As SHRM research notes, employers are not only looking at LinkedIn. "At a minimum, most companies today use Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to reach job seekers," Le Viet notes. "At the very least, job seekers can follow companies and brands through these channels to stay updated on new employment opportunities directly within the social networks where they already spend a lot of time."

Does this mean every job seeker should actively post on all of these networks? Not necessarily. While you can use the various networks to follow information and insights from different companies, if you're not capable of sending out short messages, you probably shouldn't tweet.

Find the networks that take advantage of your best skills and become active there. If you like to create short updates, use Twitter. If you are a talented writer, blog on LinkedIn's platform or start your own blog. Are you in a visual field? Did you know you can create photo collages on Twitter to post via tweets when you use the mobile application? Or upload your photos on Facebook and be sure to make those posts public and searchable. If you're capable of posting great content on all of the major social media networks, by all means, do so. However, only participate where you're showing off your best professional content.

Identify your target audience, "like" and engage with them. "Social networks are no longer just about connecting with friends," Le Viet says. "Both Facebook and Twitter have evolved into an ecosystem of individuals, brands and employers. Companies are investing in their social media presence, giving job seekers plenty of options for interesting content to like and follow."

Don't underestimate how interested hiring managers are in finding you online. Many of them believe they can connect with the best candidates using social media. If you want to be considered in that group, you need to be sure to spend your time in networks where you'll be able to connect with them.

Even if you don't spend a lot of time posting content to various networks, be sure you visit, "like" or "follow" the companies that interest you -- especially if you're not in a confidential job search. "Hiring managers are always looking for good cultural fit, so the fact that a candidate is already a fan is a good start. You can take it a step further and show a prospective employer you're really engaged and interested in working for them, simply by commenting on and sharing company posts," Le Viet says.

Be searchable. Make sure to optimize your online profiles by identifying keywords that employers will use to search for someone like you. Don't forget to add professional skills to your Facebook profile and make those sections public. "With the introduction of Graph Search, recruiters are turning to Facebook to search for individuals whose profile details match open jobs," Le Viet says. "Additionally, companies are using Facebook ads to target people by location, interests and other criteria." You can keep friends, photos and other aspects of your timeline private while making other profile details like job history, skills and location visible to the public and to your next potential employer.

Miriam Salpeter is a job search and social media consultant, career coach, author, speaker, resume writer, and owner of Keppie Careers. She is author of Social Networking for Career Success and 100 Conversations for Career Success. Miriam teaches job seekers and entrepreneurs how to incorporate social media tools along with traditional strategies to reach their goals.

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