Many people are wary of their social media usage as they search for a job, after hearing plenty of horror stories about how a slip-up can send a red flag to a potential employer. However, some individuals don’t fully realize how properly using social media can actually help you stand out when you’re looking for a new employment opportunity. Here are some ways in which you can use your favorite social networks to make a favorable impression among employers:
Show off your personality
You want a hiring manager to see you as three-dimensional, and it’s not always easy to do this when all you have is a résumé and a cover letter. You can use social media to add an extra layer to your personality. Tweet out links to articles you’re reading, your observations on industry trends, and other relevant pieces of information that would make a potential employer stop and take notice. However, be mindful as you do this, as too much personality is where some people get into trouble. Your tweets should never border on racy or offensive, and don’t use profanity, regardless of how relaxed your industry is.
Illustrate what interests you
If you’re looking to make a career change, use social media to help you navigate the switch. If you’re really hoping to make the leap into advertising, for example, following major ad agencies and other industry influencers, then contribute to their conversations in a thoughtful way. Retweet useful links from businesses and individuals in the field you’re hoping to get into, and use these platforms to start networking. When you show that you can speak intelligently about the issues pertaining to your new industry, you’ll impress the people doing the hiring in that field.
Use it to brag a little
If you’ve recently published an article, tweet out a link to it and toot your own horn a little bit. This is a key part of branding yourself online.
Use it to find out about job openings
Many companies use social media as a way to publicize job openings. If you’ve got your heart set on working for a specific business, keep tabs on their Twitter and LinkedIn pages in order to find out about these opportunities as soon as they become available.
Learn about what’s trending
When you get into a job interview, you’ll need to be able to speak to the major trends impacting the industry. Paying attention on social media helps to keep you aware of these trends so that you’re not caught without an answer when this subject comes up in an interview. If, for example, there’s a major piece of legislation that would shape how companies in your field do business, reading up on it on Twitter and getting a sense of how businesses feel can set you apart from other candidates in an interview.
As you enjoy using social media, make sure that you’re fully aware of the privacy settings that you have in place. It’s great to go out and enjoy time off with your friends, but you don’t want pictures that you thought were private to wind up being seen by prospective employers, thus hurting your chances of getting a job. If you’re ever unsure of who can see what, choose to be cautious and only post content that wouldn’t impact someone’s professional opinion of you.