7 Tips for Using Social Media to Land a Job

by Vincent King · 8 comments

Businessman using laptop

Social media is more than a way to share images on Facebook for your family and friends.

It’s a hiring network.

The swell of Twitter, Google+ Communities, LinkedIn, and more means that you have more possibilities than ever to connect with people you’re interested in working with.

You can do it in 140 characters on Twitter — leaving lots of room for error or miscommunication. Or you can do it on LinkedIn through their job postings or groups.

Meeting people like you, with similar values, means an ever-increasing likelihood of connecting on powerful levels. Whether you both love “Dancing with the Stars” or the newest growth in human business, these interests bond you on levels once held captive behind walls of cold calls and icy newspaper ads.

These bonds are now what get people hired.

Yet, use your social networks wrong, and your chances of getting hired are slim to none.

Friending everyone in your family and sharing family fights on Facebook is WRONG. Don’t do it. Not if you’re hoping to get hired with a public profile.

If you’re broadcasting how much you had to drink the night before, as well as sharing drunken images of yourself, don’t expect your inbox to get flooded with interview requests.

Lastly, if your profile says, “Amazing dude, you should totally check me out because I’ve climbed Kilimanjaro,” you’ll likely see no checkbook-changing results.

If you want to use this new type of networking to open up opportunities for professional growth, then be smart when you use social media.

The Right Way to Land A Better Job with Social Media

We’re going to use Robert, an aspiring designer, as our example. Apply what he learns to your profession, whether you’re a baker looking for a new kitchen or a bank teller looking for a new vault.

1. Target your profile for your industry.

No yawn-inducing profiles allowed! Ever.

WRONG: Robert Smith: Starbucks lover. Plays guitar. My tweets are my own.

RIGHT: Robert Smith: Designing vision with YOU.

2. Keep your shares professional.

I know, I know; you like sharing with your friends and family and swearing online. That’s fine for some people, but not fine for professionals looking for a job.

WRONG: Awesome party last night!! WOOOHOO! I puked on a guy’s head three stories below!

RIGHT: Just finished a mock design for Jamie and she is STOKED. Love rocking sites like this!

3. Don’t blindly reshare without some commentary.

It’s lazy and doesn’t do the person you’re sharing any favors.

WRONG: RT @DesignsRUs The latest in design technology. Link.

RIGHT: RT @DesignsRUs The latest in design technology. Link. >>Brand new! Result-oriented content here!

4. Connect correctly. Enough said.

WRONG: Hey @DesignsRUs! I can help you create designs your people love! (UM, they’re probably already doing that.)

RIGHT: Hi @DesignsRUs! LOVED your piece on Content Above the Fold. Thanks for sharing. If I can help you with anything, please let me know!

5. Join communities and groups that serve your purpose.

WRONG: Groups for designers. Ok, you need one or two of these, but not many. It’s not likely you’ll pull work from another designer. You need to hang out with people who might need you.

RIGHT: Small business groups, pages, and other groups where you’re a needed member of a team that delivers results.

6. Be brief.

You don’t have time to waste on social media, and neither does the person you want to connect with. Keep your messages brief.

WRONG:Hey man! It was great to see you at the meetup the other day. Maybe we can get together and collaborate sometime. You know, I’m an ace at CSS and can style buttons off Brian Gardner. Blah, blah, blah. I’d love to show you some time.

RIGHT: Hi! It was great connecting at the meetup. If you ever need a designer to collaborate on a project requiring powerful graphics, let me know. Would love to help.

7. Reach out.

When you’ve been followed, check to see if they fit your criteria for useful information and connections. Don’t follow everyone who follows you, but make sure to follow people with whom you can genuinely connect.

WRONG: Don’t sweat following internet marketers that are using an automatic-follow program and have thousands and thousands of followers.

RIGHT: Try to follow design firms, small businesses, and other outlets who hire designers. Definitely follow them if they follow you first.

What tips do you have for landing a job on social media? 

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{ read the comments below or add one }

  • Fehmeen says:

    There is such a subtle difference between whats right and wrong on social media, yet its ever so important to get it right. People often join a bunch of communities on LinkedIn and end up simply observing the conversations or having them pile up without reading them at all. I think it’s great advice to join groups where you actually create value and are noticed.

  • @pfinMario says:

    I could almost write a book filled with the converse — ways I’ve seen friends and acquaintances make themselves completely unemployable through social media

    • Kate says:

      We had a perfectly unemployable woman come in on a temporary basis to our law firm, who confided to some of us that she was looking for a permanent job. She then sat down at a carrel in front of my boss’ office and began to make personal calls on her iPhone, that included raised voices and running streams of profanity. My boss came out of her office and instructed the person to cease and desist at once. Needless to say, she not only did not get a permanent job, but she got sent home that day with no invitation to return.

  • Kat Jobs says:

    In all honesty, I never considered using social media to get a job. I know more and more employers are checking FB, Twitter, etc. to sleuth-out their potential hires so it stands to reason that serious job hunters would set up a “job hunting” profile on those platforms.

    On a related note, this morning I read an article of a gentleman (I believe he is located in France) who created an Amazon page to “sell” his business services. Clever.

    • Kate says:

      I agree with you, Kat Jobs. I would not believe anything I read on line, so I would not expect a prospective employer to either. My suggestions to people who consider soliciting work on line: make sure all the words are correctly spelled; eliminate all profanity and blasphemy; take down the photos of streaking butt-nekkid through a downtown restaurant or setting police cars on fire; and remember that whatever you post on line WILL NEVER GO AWAY. Oh, and when you appear in person to apply for a job, take a good look at everyone else before you enter the room. If they are wearing skirts and blouses and shoes and hose, and you are wearing dirty, ripped shorts and flip flops and a ragged t-shirt with an upraised middle finger on it, consider going home to change before you enter that room.

  • Christian L. says:

    I know coworkers and friends who have two Facebook profiles to separate their personal and professional life. I’m a big proponent of using appropriate social media outlets like LinkedIn to search for jobs. Facebook and Twitter are my private accounts, although I have nothing to hide. I just like to keep my personal and professional live separated.

    -Christian L. @ Smart Military Money

  • Damain says:

    It is a vastly different job market hunting ground out there these days than when I got started even a dozen years ago. This reminds me of the upcoming movie–something about landing a job at Google–where they had to interview online and were shocked at how things had changed, at least, that’s what the trailer made it sound like.

  • Alex C says:

    I enjoy using social media as a way to connect with successful people and oftent times if they are in my region, I will ask for a coffee meet up.

    This does two things: It allows me to pick the brain of somebody successful so I can figure out how they got to be where they are and secondly, it allows me to network and have a someone who can recommend me if a job opportunity opens up that he/she knows about.

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