Using social media in your job search

Nik Nyman

I’ll tweet you my job spec if you snap me your CV…a guest post by Nik Nyman @ Neil’s Recruitment

Really? Not really, but in theory it could work. A ten second snap is more or less the same amount of time a recruiter has with your CV anyway. Back to that later.

In a meeting about mobile marketing at one of the major media agencies in London last week the concept of “dead time” came up, and we realised that these days our perception of dead time has changed. If we have spare time we still end up interacting and being social. Online. Wherever. Whenever.

So now it’s (almost) impossible to imagine our social lives without Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr and the others. We’re all on them, and we can’t live without them. Actually we spend nearly four hours a day on social media. That’s half a working day. That’s crazy. And pretty cool too if you think about the opportunities we have right there in our hands. So I was thinking… why aren’t we better at using social media to our advantage in our job search?

I work in graduate recruitment in digital media, with guys and girls who literally grew up next to a smartphone. They are incredibly online savvy and want to make digital marketing their career but what surprises me is that most of these grads still see their job hunt as a “send-my-cv-and-covering-letter-kinda-business”. Why they don’t consider throwing social media into the mix I’m not sure. Is it because they see social media as a personal thing and can’t see why it would be relevant to getting a professional career? Or is it because there’s a generational gap between today’s online savvy grads and those who advise them on their job search? I don’t know, but what I do know is that we need to get social media into the personal marketing mix.

Why?

If you’re serious about your job hunt, that’s not the question to ask. What you should be asking is “How can I do that?”, I’ll come to that in a bit. The reason why we should be using social media is firstly because companies increasingly use social media as the first stop in finding top talent. I don’t want to bore you with too many stats but 77% of all job postings are posted on LinkedIn and almost half of those don’t get posted anywhere else. 94% of all recruiters use LinkedIn to search for candidates (66% for Facebook and 54% for Twitter) – at all levels. So by not having an online presence and by not using it when looking for jobs you will miss quite a few opportunities.

Another reason I see (maybe because I work in digital media) is that recruiters and hiring managers want to get a better feel for you in general, as a candidate and a potential future employee.

If digital marketing is your gig then the use of social media, websites, blogs etc. shows that you are you’re immersed in the online marketing world, that you understand the concepts and that you take calculated steps to learn as much as you can. It shows desire and aptitude, and with a blog or website you can showcase your portfolio, writing skills, or technical abilities. Don’t forget it’s a perfect playground where you can pick up some hands-on skills too.

How can I do that?

First things first. I think it’s worth mentioning that we need to take more of a 360-degree approach to our job search and not exclude any form of communication that could lead us towards our dream job. It’s not about CV vs. Social Media or Job application vs. Networking, it all has to come together – nowadays you need to market yourself, not just apply for a job.

You can only get across so much on a CV but with the use of social media you can pretty much throw yourself at someone. I would make sure to use the same profile picture and biog across all social media sites and try to use the same name and handle (mine’s NikNyman across the board). Make them as unified as you can, make sure you’re using them with purpose and make sure they are all linked up to each other but also to your CV, blog, website etc. where relevant.

But, and there’s always a but. Just make sure you’re cautious with what you share online. I’ve come across candidates who didn’t get through to interviews or didn’t get offers based on what was shared online. So be careful. Take a look at this article by Neil’s Recruitment if you want to know how to work out your profiles and what to avoid.

Now over to LinkedIn (again). I keep nagging about it because it is probably the most important recruitment platform out there so you should definitely have a presence. It’s fairly straight forward 1) position yourself 2) write your profile in a way that shows your direction, your desire, and your skills but don’t forget to show a bit of personality 3) add your jobs and education, courses etc. 4) follow companies and important people (not only does it give you job notifications, industry news and updates but it also shows what you’re interested in) 5) join groups (gives you good insights but also provides you with a forum to interact and show yourself) 6) connect and network. Easy peasy. If you want to know more check this article I wrote for Neil’s Recruitment.

Snap? Tweet? What? Why on earth

What was that ‘ten seconds on a CV’ I mentioned in the beginning all about? And what’s that got to do with social media in the job hunt anyway? Well, it’s a reality check. The competition is really high, we typically see that you are up against 100-300 other applicants per advertised job. On top of that a recruiter (agency or in-house) works on many jobs simultaneously which means you also have to compete for their attention. So you’ve got perhaps ten seconds to wow them (that’s no more than the maximum length of a Snapchat snap – now there’s the link to the intro), which means you need to do your bit to stand out – social media might just help you with that.

Get in touch if you want to know more, or follow me on twitter at @NikNyman. Neil’s Recruitment is a great place if you want to start out in digital marketing http://www.neilsrecruitment.co.uk.

Over and out.

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