How Social Media Can Help Or Hurt Your Career Growth
GUEST POST BY DAVID TORRES
Imagine heading into a job interview, and you look like you just got out of bed. You’re still wearing the clothing you’ve slept in, and you’re drinking coffee from your morning mug. This happens more often than you think.
At least, a version of this happens enough that extreme comparisons are necessary. About 70 percent of employers are using social media to filter through prospects. Fifty-four percent of them have decided to reject candidates because of what they find online.
Most of us are already using social media in our personal lives. You might not be able to go an entire day, or even a couple of hours, without checking in on your news feeds. We’ve come to rely on it as a primary method of communication for keeping in touch with a wider network of friends, family, and acquaintances.
Luckily, social media can be more than a tool that's used against you. With a little digital tidying up and some proactive networking, you can have your online presence help you connect with leaders in your industry or land your dream job.
To get you started, here are four tips you can use to have social media help launch your career in the direction it deserves to go.
1 | Prepare Your Digital Presence
First, Google yourself. That doesn't sound like something you should be doing in any professional manner, but it’s a pretty important step.
You need to research your digital fingerprint. Clean up all of those questionable photos and as many inappropriate status updates as you can. Also, make sure that you have your profile privacy set to “Friends Only” so hiring managers can’t view what you don’t want them to access.
Next, add details that make you stand out. About 45 percent of job recruiters judge your profile picture before meeting you. Be sure to prepare what they can see for success.
In addition to a professional-looking picture, pay attention to those parts of your profile that are visible to the public like your activity in public groups and reviews that you leave for businesses.
A prospective employer is going to pay attention to every bit of information that they can access. A LinkedIn profile is one of the best ways to represent yourself in a professional manner.
If you don’t have an account or need tips on improving your LinkedIn profile, check out Everything You Need To Know About LinkedIn…
2 | Do A Little Investigating of Your Own
Familiarize yourself with the companies in your industry that are major players on social media. Do this even when you have your sights set on a smaller business. They are also connected with the big players in their industry, so doing this serves as a starting point for networking.
It’s important to recognize which social platforms would be the best for your prospecting industry leader and companies. For example, if you’re searching for a career in graphic design, consider taking advantage of more visual platforms such as Instagram or Pinterest.
Once you’ve discovered where the businesses in your industry are and have started following them, the next step is to get involved with their content and offer value to their audience.
3 | Engage and Get Noticed
Even though plenty of companies advertise available positions on social media, there’s often a recruiter in the background looking for the best candidate out of the crowd. To stand out as a great choice to the recruiter, you should be proactive in your digital networking.
It can certainly be scary to approach and interact with companies through their social media, especially if you’re looking to change from the industry you’re now in or if you don't have any experience in that particular profession.
The truth is that the audience online is so large that cleaning up your digital presence isn’t enough to get noticed, especially if you are on the hunt for a new job and not looking to network with people in your industry. This means you must amp up your engagement and your creativity.
Twitter’s advanced search can be a great tool to use. There are countless stories of people who found their job through Twitter, and it can be a simple process.
You can search for hashtags like #jobs or #hiring, and you can align those tweets with specifics around your industry and location. There are also countless job experts, recruiters, and job search handles to follow that can help you network and achieve your career goals.
Facebook groups can also be a great way to connect with people in your career field. The key to groups in any social platform is to comment regularly and add value to the conversations that are going on. Start with industry-related groups; but if you have dreams of working for a specific company, don’t be afraid to reach out directly online.
When you’re consistently active online by responding with useful advice, you’re going to get the attention of recruiters.
4 | Be Aware of Online Etiquette
When reaching out online to companies and leaders in your industry, it can be easy to forget to keep a professional appearance. Even though people on Facebook, Twitter, and other social platforms are not using them mainly for career purposes as they would on LinkedIn, it's still important to come across as professional when reaching out on them.
It’s easy to forget some rules of online business etiquette, especially the unwritten ones. For example, networking to connect with potential employers or clients is great, but to continuously ask for a job is not okay.
Treat the online interaction as though it's taking place in person. Introduce yourself and express interest in opportunities that they may now have. Once you’ve made your introduction continue to engage and add value to their customer base without seeming pushy or going over the top.
In the end, the goal is to set yourself up for success through social media platforms that you are already using. By cleaning up old and irrelevant content you’ve posted and starting conversations with like-minded professionals, you can easily set yourself apart from the rest of the crowd.