By Simon Lewis, Only Marketing Jobs.
“Between current economic conditions and the technological evolution of the Internet, the traditional approach most jobseekers have taken in the past is no longer viable,” opines Dan Schawbel, author of Me 2.0: Build a Powerful Brand to Achieve Career Success
Social networks are starting to become part of the criteria that recruiters are using to filter jobseeker applications. Apparently one-in-five managers conduct background checks using social networks (primarily Facebook), with this number certain to rise given the unstoppable online networking juggernauts that manifest themselves as LinkedIn, Bebo and Ecademy, et al.
So as social media begins to trickle into our conscious how can it used to benefit the jobseeker? Social media is a veritable cornucopia of alternative channels through which we can engage both socially and professionally with potentially millions of like-minded folk keen to poke and follow us; write on our walls; connect, link-up and seek and disburse information: some useful, some dubious.
Here are five key tips on using social media to develop your career:
1. Attraction-based marketing
The new approach to job seeking is about building a powerful personal brand and attracting job opportunities directly into your doorstep. Obviously you will still apply for jobs of interest but you can only apply to jobs you see. What about those you can’t? They are out there but they find you.
By treating yourself as a brand and by building a profile to which people will come and explore, you create an online space dedicated to you and your work. This means, for example, that your Facebook page should compliment your LinkedIn profile, providing a fusion of social you and professional you.
When blogging first emerged it was dismissed by many as an intangible passing fad. Who had time to write about the day they’d just had and, in any event, who would want to share this? But much like Twitter blogging has evolved into a robust instrument in any marketer’s toolkit. Instead of being online consumers we are now content producers, playing a long-game of altruistic benevolence for reciprocal information that may assist our development.
You need to be passionate and committed to this project because it requires a lot of writing, creativity and consistency in order for it to actually help you. A blog is a non-intrusive, harmless and generous way of getting recruiters interested in your brand, without you even asking for a job! You should be looking to make recruiters fall in love with you and only send you opportunities that are related to your blog content, so ultimately you end up happy.
You can start a blog today using Wordpress.com or Google’s Blogger service.
3. Making the most of LinkedIn
Recruiters are starting to use LinkedIn as the main place for sourcing candidates because, for the moment at least, it is free and the top professionals are on there. In addition this is a fantastic place for you to find people and them to find you, for job seeking purposes or otherwise.
What a lot of people fail to realise, however, is that it takes more than just a copy and paste of your CV to build a worthwhile profile. Remember, right now if a recruiter receives your CV the first place they will look is LinkedIn, then Facebook; or both simultaneously using two browsers! If you can’t be found on Facebook that might actually be a good thing (!) but you will be conspicuous by your absence if you cannot be found on LinkedIn.
With the above in mind you should ensure you not only ready your profile to 100% completeness (according to the LinkedIn barometer), which should include a recent photo of yourself*, but that the aesthetic wrapping that envelopes your offering, is robust, sustainable and authentic.
* This is a personal opinion but just how can you engage with someone when you don’t know what they look like?
4. Produce a video profile
Speculation persists over the validity and overall purpose of video profiles but note the word ‘profile’ and not ‘CV’. Video CV’s are an altogether clumsier cousin of what social media attempts to achieve. For in essence social media is about quick, slick interaction, where verbosity plays no part.
A video profile, therefore, serves to accentuate your proposition rather than replace it, allowing your audience to assess with speed and, hopefully, enjoyment, whether you are the type of person they wish to get to know or, indeed, employee.
Video profiles provide opportunities for clever guerilla strategies and whilst you should avoid obtuse viral campaigns, there is nothing wrong with a bit of creativity to boost your media brand.
With your cinematic showstopper in place you can upload it to wherever you choose, ensuring of course that it compliments your brand image. Your preferred channels may be LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube and your own personal blog. Provided you are hoping people find your video you want to position it alongside your other media activities and hope it reaches your anticipated viewers.
5. Twitter your twaddle
Twitter has been described as ‘acceptable eavesdropping’ and is one of the fastest ways to make inroads with other people in your industry.
It also gives you some insight into who companies and bloggers are as people; their likes, their dislikes, their personalities. This can be invaluable when it comes to putting together pitches and building relationships both inside and outside of your industry.
“Listen to anyone talk about building links, launching a viral campaign or getting bloggers to cover your products and you'll hear them mention the importance of relationships, “ says Jennifer Laycock.
“PR firms are struggling to learn how to pitch people who aren't trained journalists. The truth is it's quite simple. Respect them as a person and offer something of value. Make a connection. You don't have to be their best friend, but you do need to make an effort to build a relationship.”
A major part of your social media personality is your avatar and your profile bio. The first rule for avatars and bios is to stay consistent across social platforms.
If you’re sharing information from your personal account but in relation to any company, decide whether you want your avatar to be your company logo or the face of the contributor, you. In most cased it will be the latter. Each sends a completely different message and requires a different messaging and branding approach.
Leaving a legacy
Your social media personality becomes part of your brand’s legacy. Don’t brand your personality for the day, the month or the year. This is serious stuff. What you post stays around for a pretty long time and the information (good and bad) isn’t too hard to find. Your social media posts offer vast archives of information about you.
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