So, another academic year draws to a close. Students around the world have mostly finished their exams and coursework for the year, results are beginning to trickle in, and all they have to do now is relax, enjoy the summer, and look forward to starting it all over again in September.
Well, not quite. Whilst the vast majority of students will indeed be anxiously anticipating a long utopian break from their student lives, there is one student demographic that can forget about it:
Those who have finished.
Yes indeed, the world had better be ready, as tens of thousands of freshly qualified seekers of employment are about to hit the job market like a ton of bricks. They will certainly all be hunting for the job they’ve been fantasising about since they began their academic adventures, but they will also be looking to snap up any employment they can to tide them over in the meantime.
Whether you are a student yourself, or have been in employment for years, it never hurts to be thinking how you can achieve the next step up in your career. It also never pays to stagnate in one role for a prolonged period of time. Even if you are happy where you are presently, you can always be thinking about whether the post is a dead end and, if there is no scope for promotion in your current employment, could you find a similar job elsewhere with better prospects.
Obviously, you will be looking in the newspapers, or online to find advertised jobs. You will also no doubt be fine tuning your CV, to add your new qualifications and experiences. However, there is one facet of self-promotion that you may not have considered when it comes to your job hunt. It’s that thing you keep switching to in between each line you manage to write on your CV:
Social media can be a fantastic tool with which to bolster (or hinder) your chance of getting your hands on that perfect position, but it is not a fool proof one. It takes some knowledge, finesse, skill, and just a smidgen of common sense. Be you student or not, markITwrite is at your service once again, with our handy guide on how to use social media to land your ideal job.
#1 Speak to the People in Charge
The great thing about forward-thinking companies that post their job advertisements on social networks, rather than (or maybe as well as) the more traditional channels, is that you can often see the name of the person who posted the listing.
This means that, instead of sending emails or applications to the usual, ‘Whomever it may concern,” you may be able to communicate directly with the person responsible for the final decision on who gets employed. This means that it is possible to get into a real dialogue about the position, before you have even sent the application off.
I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that, if your CV puts you neck and neck with another candidate, but you have been speaking to them on Facebook for weeks, and the other has not, you will have significantly increased your chances of being the chosen party.
#2 Tighten up your Profiles
It is pretty much common knowledge these days that employers are very likely to carry out a Google search on any prospective candidates, and you absolutely want to be able to control what they are able to find. To make matters even more precarious, if you follow our first tip, then you will have led the prospective employer directly to at least one of your social network profiles.
The first thing to do whilst job hunting is to get your privacy settings locked down. This way you can prevent yourself being tagged in any photos that portray you as anything other than a fine and upstanding member of society. You can also control how much of your profile is visible to anyone you are not friends with, or make it so your pages are unsearchable altogether.
Many people even go as far as to change their names on their social network accounts. This method is particularly favoured amongst people in professions such as teaching, as (aside from prospective employers) they don’t want the parents of their wards checking up on them.
You may want to even set up a completely separate page or pages, which you only use for professional purposes. Please note however, that you will still need to hide your personal pages, as it will be abundantly clear to anyone coming across it that is what you have done.
#3 Get Referred to Get Heard
Catchy, right? Just came up with that myself.
Anyway, if you have ever had any involvement on the other side of the recruitment process, you will know what an absolute royal pain in the posterior it is.
Recruiters hate recruiting.
It means taking out huge chunks of their working hours to pour through applications, cast eyes over hundreds, maybe thousands of factually dubious CVs, arrange and carry out interviews, etc. So, it should come as no surprise that anything that can be done to reduce the day-to-day upheaval of the recruitment process, will be welcomed with open arms.
This means that, if you can find someone reputable to act as an advocate for you, you will be at a distinct advantage over those that have not. If you had the choice between sifting through a pile of CVs, and going with the recommendation of someone whose opinion you trust and respect, would your decision be?
Assuming you are not fortunate enough to already have such an advocate in your back pocket already, you are going to need to hunt one down. Start expanding your networks, and let the world know that you are looking for a job. Even try fields you may not be immediately interested in as you never know where you will find that conversation that ends up as a valuable referral.
At the same time actively search out the recruiters for the companies that you would ideally like to work for. Even if they are not employing at that present time, adding them to your network and striking up a conversation about the industry means that you are likely to be at the forefront of their minds when they are. Everybody likes to be thought of as an expert, so massage their ego by asking for advice and information about the field.
#4 Doing your Research
Social media can be a great way of finding out as much about the company as you can ahead of the all-important interview. Find out a bit about its history, what its values are, as well as its mission statement etc. Through social networks you can keep right up to date on what movements the company is presently making.
Remember that an interview is like any presentation. You don’t want to sound like you are just regurgitating memorised facts, but rather that you are an informed and motivated individual who can hold a genuine conversation about the business.
You may even be able to identify any problems the company is presently having, and suggest possible solutions. Careful with this one though, you don’t want to come across as overly critical of the business. Choose something small.
Aside from the company as a whole, you may be able to find out more information about the actual hiring manager. This will enable you to prepare better and make the interview a far more connected and human experience. You want to feel like you are having a real conversation with these people, instead of just monotonously fielding questions.
#5 Network, Network, Network
This one kind of ties into all four of the previous points, but I don’t think it can be overstated.
Reach out over as many different networks as you can. Sure there are a ton of obvious ones such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, but there are also a ton of niche networks out there that may be hiding the networking opportunity of a lifetime. Find out which social networks are preferred by the industry you want to work in and sign up.
Some employers may not post job opportunities on the larger social networks as they can result in a deluge of applicants, many of whom are not suitable for the role. By posting their advertisements on networks that are more focused around the field that their business operated in they will get fewer applicants, but the applicants they do get are likely to be far more suitable for the role in question.
Once you have all of the big movers and shakers in your networks, be sure to stay engaged by posting regular content in order to make sure you are regularly popping up in their feeds. Don’t overdo it mind, you don’t want to be so prolific that they end up reaching for the hide button.
Try and avoid being too opinionated, and avoid politically charged topics on your professional or public networks. Keep work and politics completely separate, as such topics can be incredibly divisive and emotionally charged. The last thing you want is to come across the perfect job opportunity, only to have your chances scuppered by some ultimately meaningless previous public debate.
Remember – the internet never forgets.
So, there you have our five best tips on how to use social media to land your ideal job. Please let us know in the comments whether social media has ever been instrumental in gaining you that big position, and if you have any suggestions you’d like to add?