Let’s face it. Job-hunting today is tougher than it’s ever been before. Not to mention just getting an interview can be a chore once you’ve found a job of semi-interest. So how do you find a job? How do you get an interview once a potential job is found? Believe it or not you can get any job you want by using Facebook, Twitter and by blogging. I should also mention there is a lot more work involved than just setting up an account. If you really want to use social media to get a job, there is some serious commitment and work involved.
Getting control of your name
Most HR managers today typically are more likely to search your name to see what pops up first, and then go over the paper resume. Even if it’s vise versa, they will perform a search on your name. If you don’t agree then I say it’s better to prepare as if they are looking. So the question now becomes, what will show up? What is the first impression a potential employer will get of you before even meeting you? Go ahead and search for your name to see what pops up. If you have some social media accounts most likely those will appear first, and if you have a website that may also appear. But if not, I would check it out. Things like winning a pie contest at the local county fair could show up or in some cases, something a little less flattering like a mention in an article about ‘Your name here’ being a drunk driver in a hit and run.
Author is on the far right (note bottles of IBC Rootbeer)
Let’s start with the profiles you’ve already got up and running. What photo do you have in the profile? One of you and some buddies chilling at Mardi Gras or something your mother would be proud of? I’ll be the first to say, if it’s the right job keep the photo of Mardi Gras up. This is where knowing what field your going into comes into play. You want to present yourself as an individual ready to work in the desired arena. So if it means you want to be a social worker, get a photo up of you playing with kids, if you want to be a rodeo clown, think Ronald McDonald. The point is to portray the role you want to have.
A last point on this section is that if someone else with the same name as you is showing up in the results it can be pretty tough to jump ahead of them. But a way to do this is to either buy your domain, www.firstnamelastname.com, or if you need a cheap way start a blog at either wordpress or blogger. Then link to your social media profiles from there so whoever finds it knows which profiles to pay attention to.
Keeping privacy private & publicity public
I’ll start off this section with plugging a post from a pretty smart guy I stumbled across on twitter. Mike Halvorson wrote a great post about social media tips for his unemployed friends. Pay close attention to the section about setting Facebook privacy settings. When an account is set up you need to determine what information is made public to those you aren’t friends with. Any inappropriate photos, or other information you don’t want potential employers to see just yet should be blocked. This demonstrates two things: 1. You are aware of what is being presented to the public about you. 2. You are telling the potential employer what areas to pay attention to. Twitter and blogs can be a little more difficult to control as to who looks at what information. I mean come on, the reason employers are searching your name online is so they can get to know you without alerting you they are looking. If nothing inappropriate is being tweeted, leave the account un-protected, if you don’t think information on the blog will hurt your chances, let the pages get crawled by the search engines.
To keep it simple, only post online what you want to be seen.
Optimizing current social media profiles
This is surprisingly easy, or it should be anyway. If you’ve sent out the resume already then take a quick pick at the copy you should have to see what name you placed on it. Sounds funny, but my resume has my name as Joshua Titsworth, and my profiles have either Josh or JT those profiles might not appear where I want them to in the searches. It’s all about keeping it consistent. Don’t just stop there; if possible change any screen-names you can to ‘firstnamelastname’ as it appears on the resume. Only change the profiles you want found and don’t edit what needs to be kept private to the potential employer.
As with normal SEO, changes in the search results will take some time. So be patient. In the mean time I’ve got some homework for those who don’t have a blog just yet.
Setting up a blog
GET A BLOG UP AND GOING. All caps excessive? Perhaps, but I hope you got the message. But what better way for an employer to get a great first impression of a candidate than by reading his/her thoughts and opinions. When writing a blog to get a job there is a right and wrong way to go about it.
A wrong way to blog is by writing about only personal thoughts, ranting on and on about how much you want a job in a certain industry. Also avoid writing about anything inappropriate or extremely controversial. Lisa Barone recently updated a few blogging rules one of which used to be, “You must blog every day”. For the type of blog you are setting up I’d say 1-2 times a week is plenty. But keep it consistent.
A right way to begin blogging for a job is to mix up your posts with industry opinions and personal thoughts. Show the readers (potential employers) you are actively researching and learning more about the industry in question by writing about it. I’d also add a page devoted to your resume, while browsing the posts he/she may decide to read over the resume again and what do you know? There it is at their convenience to read.
Don’t stop at just posting on your blog, find other blogs/publications in the industry you are seeking employment in and participate. Check out the guidelines about contributing and contribute if you can. If you do post elsewhere on the net keep an archive listed on your blog for others to check out.
Lastly and most importantly let your passion shine through in the blog posts. And if you get called in for an interview, bring that same passion and personality to the interview. They don’t want to get mixed signals from reading about a bright confident person and before them is someone shy and intimidated. The blog and all other social media networks you are using are to compliment your efforts in getting a job, you still need to bring it.
In closing, I’d like to mention don’t stop at just regular social media accounts. Search for online communities within the desired industry to start networking online. Resources like that can be invaluable when looking for a job. Again, using social media to get a job is only part of the equation. Have a good resume to hand in so they go look for you online, if you are exhibiting confidence and intelligence online show it at the interview.
I hope you found this informative, if you have anything to add to it I’d love to hear it. Thanks for reading, good luck and happy hunting!
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Joshua Titsworth is a SEO Analyst passionate about all things Internet related. When he isn’t online tweeting, working for his Vizion Interactive, or ignoring G+, he can be found tracking down shanked golf balls across public courses.