I like to say that the best thing about job searching today is that it is so easy to send a resume, and the worst thing about job searching today is that it is, yes, so easy to send a resume. With the advent of email, candidates no longer need to print and snail-mail resumes to each company.
Easier applications have led to a massive increase in the resumes received for every job opening. This is especially true for college students looking for entry-level jobs. Think about how many students graduate every year and are competing for the very same jobs!
Job seekers need to find a way to make themselves stand out from the rest of the crowd, and social media can play a large role in that process. Here are the top five career-related social media activities that will help you land that job.
1) Define Your Personal Brand: Resumes are no longer enough. Employers expect each candidate to have a well-defined “brand” that represents who they are, what they know and what they can do professionally. Proven skills and accomplishments usually define the brand for more established professionals. College students, however, frequently need to create their brand from scratch. It takes time, thought and effort to get to the root of who you are. Fortunately you can get started today: PwC has an excellent brand-creation tool available here.
2) Brand Consistency: Once your brand is defined, it is important that you stay consistent across all of your social media streams. That doesn’t mean you can’t post personal or family pictures on Instagram and Facebook or discuss your pithy thoughts on Twitter. The primary question you need to ask yourself prior to any post is, “Is this on or off my brand?” If it is off brand, don’t post it. Remember that your brand is in its early development stage, and it doesn’t take much to create a skewed impression. That may seem difficult, but I like to say: “If you need to try too hard to stay on brand, it probably isn’t your brand!”
3) Create a Winning LinkedIn Profile: Of all the social media websites, LinkedIn is the most important for your professional career. You need to create a powerful, winning LinkedIn profile that promotes your brand, professionality, and expertise. Companies do Google their candidates and check their profiles, so you want to make sure that your LinkedIn profile best represents the professional side of your brand.
4) Design An Effective Social Media Strategy: Let us dispel a common misconception: there is no social media magic. Being on Social Media does not mean that you will suddenly find a job or that opportunities will knock on your door; the effective use of Social Media takes time and effort. Find out where the decision-makers in your field spend their time online, and create your own social media strategy to reach them. For example, participating in Twitter chats, online conferences and LinkedIn group discussions can be a powerful way for unknown entry-level candidates to demonstrate their expertise and get noticed.
5) Utilize a Multi-Modal Approach to Social Media: The best social media strategies utilize the specific strength of each social media platform in conjunction with one another. I recommend “Identify on LinkedIn, engage on Twitter, and seal over coffee” as a winning strategy (see infographic) because it combines the power of LinkedIn to identify potential leads and contacts and Twitter’s ability to engage them. Your strategy may differ depending on social media use in your particular profession, but make sure you use all your social media options to your best advantage.