12 ways to use social media to get a job
Are you only using social media to share pictures of your lunch, keep tabs on exes and update everyone on Love Island? If so, you're doing it wrong. Here's how to use social media to get a job.
There's so much more to social media than a mindless scroll. If you play your cards right, you could be a few tweets away from landing your dream job.
With such a competitive job market, graduates are having to get more creative with job applications in order to get noticed.
Jazzing up your online presence and getting smart with what you post on social media will help you find your dream job.
How to use social media to find a job
These are the best and most effective ways of using social media to get a job:
Share an online portfolio or CV on social media
To use your social media effectively during your job search, the first step should be to create a tailored blog, portfolio website or social media page to showcase your work.
If you want to be a journalist, for example, you could create a simple website or blog showcasing your articles. This is the ideal way to market yourself online, and you can easily build a basic website in less than 20 minutes.
Or, you could go a step further by offering something fancy like a YouTube video or an online infographic about your experience and interests.
By creating an online portfolio, you'll be able to quickly direct potential employers to your best work and impress them with your skills. You can then share the site on your social media pages, perhaps even pinning it to the top of your Twitter, to get your work noticed.
It takes no time at all to set up a WordPress website, but it goes a long way to help you stand out from the crowd – especially if you're applying for a job in an online industry.
If someone is looking to join the STS team and they've got a well-laid-out website, it can give you an insight into their previous work, as well as what makes them tick. It's almost an extra step beyond just a simple CV.
Jake Butler, Save the Student's COO
Actively search for jobs on LinkedIn and Twitter
If you're not already, we recommend getting into the habit of regularly searching for vacancies on LinkedIn and Twitter, as well as job sites.
LinkedIn's job section is filled with great opportunities and handy features. For example, some jobs on there have an 'Easy Apply' function, which means all you need to do to apply is send in your CV.
On Twitter, you can try searching for specific hashtags like #nowhiring and #graduatejobs to see posts that link directly to job ads. You could also search for ones tailored to your chosen industry, like #engineeringjobs and #mediacareers. And if that's not enough, we've got plenty more tips on finding a job using Twitter in our guide.
Edit the privacy settings on your social media
As a general rule, you should assume that employers will look at your social media before inviting you in for an interview.
And let's be honest – there's nothing worse than getting to a job interview, only to find out they've seen that picture of you necking a bottle of vodka.
If there are any posts or photos on your social accounts that you wouldn't want a potential employer to see, tweak your privacy settings.
This doesn't necessarily mean that you should hide everything. As social media's such a massive part of our lives, some employers may even view it as a negative if they can't find out anything at all about you online – particularly if they're a digital company.
If you're unsure what a recruiter might find out about you online, Google yourself in an incognito window (search results in a normal window will be affected by your browsing history). Put your name and university/current employer into Google and see what comes up.
You can also track yourself down on Facebook by entering your email address into the search bar. Just make sure you're not logged in already, as the exercise is otherwise a bit pointless.
No matter how strict your privacy settings are, people will always be able to see your profile pictures on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and WhatsApp (if they have your number), so make sure these are respectable.
Engage in social media debates and discussions
Following and liking posts by companies, job search experts and people in general that you want to impress is something you should be doing as a given. But very rarely will this result in them approaching you with an opportunity (although it does happen occasionally).
There are always plenty of interesting discussions going on across social media concerning every industry. Even if you're looking to get into a pretty niche area like, say, the preservation of lawnmowers manufactured in the 1920s, there's probably something for you.
Keep an eye on debates by setting Google alerts for key topics, searching hashtags on Twitter and looking for industry-relevant groups on Facebook and LinkedIn.
Engaging in these debates, and doing your research to make sure you know your stuff, is a surefire way to impress. Make sure your comments are articulate, well thought out, considerate of others (rudeness won't get you anywhere) and written in perfect English.
Posting relevant articles you find interesting, and keeping up with the sorts of developments and challenges your industry is facing, is also excellent preparation for any upcoming job interviews.
As your followers and reputation begin to grow online, who wouldn't want to hire you?
Show your personality online
Developing yourself as an online brand doesn't mean you should become so self-aware that you become devoid of all sense of humour and personality.
Stay professional, but also try to show you're an interesting person who people would want to spend time with in the office. Recruiters will be looking for someone who is not only capable but also likeable and well-rounded.
When presenting your professional self online, focus on doing so on LinkedIn, and then you can show a bit more about your life outside of work (while still keeping it clean) on other channels like Twitter and Instagram.
Be understated about your job search on social media
Using social networks to find a job is the aim of the game, but you don't want to appear desperate for any job going. A constant stream of "please hire me" tweets will reflect negatively on you and drown out any intelligent discussions you may have previously had.
The key is to put yourself out there as a proactive and knowledgeable person, keeping an eye on opportunities and engaging directly with relevant people along the way.
If you're trying to get your foot in the door, be creative when posting online. Pitching an idea, story or project that would be of interest to the company is a great tactic and demonstrates that you're a self-starter.
Meet online contacts for coffee
If you do manage to build up a good discussion with someone online, try to take it offline so you make a more lasting impression.
Social media updates at such a fast pace that it's easy to forget someone who has impressed you fairly quickly. Proposing you meet up for a quick coffee to discuss some ideas is always a good way in.
When you email them to invite them for coffee, avoid using vague clichéd sentences like "I'd love to pick your brain about XYZ" and lead with "I have an idea for XYZ that I'd love to hear your take on." This will make you sound professional, and it will show you have something to offer them in exchange for their time.
Keep up with industry news online
Remember that, just as recruiters can find out info about you on social networks, you can keep an eye on what they're up to as well.
Find out which areas the company specifically works in, what projects they've been doing lately, or any other insights you can glean from their channels.
The online research will work wonders in interviews. "Oh, you're interested in these topics I happened to bring up? What are the chances?"
Make sure you don't go too overboard with the social media research, though, and ask the interviewer about a different company they used to work for or whether they liked the paella they had for lunch last week. Otherwise, you might come across as a bit stalker-ish.
Join groups related to your work and industry
There's no point in keeping all your great ideas to yourself. On LinkedIn and Facebook, you can join groups or pages that are related to your career interests. Some of these groups even post job opportunities or shoutouts looking for new candidates.
Try to also use hashtags on Twitter to find relevant discussions and to increase engagement on your social media posts. This way, your posts will be more searchable to recruiters and can also gain you some influential followers.
Avoid using clichéd buzzwords in posts
If your LinkedIn summary or any of your social posts currently say that you're a passionate, results-driven team player who puts 110% into everything you do, it might be time for an update.
Clichés won't do you any favours when you're using social media to get a job. Instead, add a little creativity, originality and flair. Talk about what makes you unique to convince employers to hire you, rather than the innumerable job searchers you're up against.
A classic lesson on this comes from the 2011 series of The Apprentice, where the charming Jim Eastwood was asked to describe himself without using a cliché.
He replied, "I'm exactly what it says on the tin".
Keep your social media profiles updated
To get the most out of social media while job searching, it's vital to keep each of your profiles up to date.
Check that your contact info and descriptions are accurate, and make sure all public posts (including ones going back a few years) reflect your current, professional self.
If you have multiple social channels that are full of tumbleweeds, like a blog with one post and a foodie Instagram with three photos (and so on), that can actually give a negative impression. It might look like you're not great at committing to a goal, or that you get bored easily.
Make creative online profiles
While we wouldn't suggest signing up for every single social network just for the sake of it, there is a world outside Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.
Picking out a few different tools and using them well can really make you stand out. Perhaps you could make a portfolio of your work on Instagram or Pinterest? If you're a visual thinker, you could show this by taking the time to curate your pages artistically.
Top tip: To make your Instagram and Pinterest profiles really stand out, you could try making animated posts on sites like Canva.
Unsure what to put in the skills section of your LinkedIn profile? Check out the list of skills that employers look for.