If you’re on a job hunt as an experienced professional, social media could give the edge you need to impress recruiters. Let’s talk about how your social media and job search can work together to get better results for your career.
First, let’s consider why experienced professionals should use social media in their job search strategy.
How Social Media Helps in Your Job Search as an Older Professional
Older and experienced professionals are all too aware of the realities of ageism that occur when they look for a job.
And social media is a key way to battle that ageism.
One argument people use to excuse ageism is that older professionals can’t keep up with technology. Showing you’re active on social media demonstrates your tech savvy and shows your tech smarts.
Some Important Stats on Social Media and Job Search
If that’s not enough, here are some other reasons to make social media crucial to your job search.
A recent study showed that 84% of organizations are using social media to find and recruit job candidates. And an additional 9% plan to use social media that way.
By Ignoring social media, you’ll miss a large chunk of recruitment opportunities,
And recruiters aren’t the only ones on social media. Other job candidates are, too. A recent survey from Glassdoor revealed that 79% of job seekers are using social media as part of their job search strategy.
With so many competitors using social media to find a job, you can’t afford not to be there. You need to learn how to — and how not to — use social media.
Your Social Media and Job Search Strategy, Broken Down
What exactly does social media accomplish? Well, it is a great way to showcase your…
- Job history
- Industry knowledge
But what social media networks are best for your job search? Let’s look at several networks, their value in your strategy, and how you might use them.
- LinkedIn — If you use only one social media network in your job search strategy, use LinkedIn. Its platform makes it easy to showcase your expertise, connect with others in your industry, and highlight your experience in an online resume format — all in one place.
- Twitter — This is a great network to share content demonstrating your knowledge and expertise and connect meaningfully with others in your industry.
- Facebook — While this network is traditionally used to connect with friends and family, it has value in your job search. It’s useful to research companies and keep abreast of their job postings. Moreover, Facebook has groups geared to experienced professionals, a way to become part of a community of like minded people. I recently started a Facebook group called Career Success After 50. Check it out here.
- Instagram — In most cases, Instagram won’t be as valuable as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook in your job search. But there are still ways to use it. You can follow companies on Instagram who set up specific accounts where they post about their hiring. If these companies are on your list, I recommend using a professional Instagram profile to stay plugged into their latest announcements.
Other networks worth a gander are Clubhouse and Twitter Spaces. But if you’re just starting out, I’d recommend starting with only a few.
How you proceed in your social media and job search strategy will largely depend on which networks you choose. But let’s explore some general guidelines to keep in mind for social media and careers regardless of the platform.
Your Social Media and Job Search: How to Succeed
1. Check Yourself Out Online
You can be sure that recruiters will Google you and review your social media profiles before they invite you for an interview. It’s a standard procedure nowadays. Ensure you’re putting your best foot forward by doing a Google search in incognito mode. This will ensure that your past browsing history does not affect your results.
What comes up? Do you see past posts that you would rather recruiters didn’t see? Now’s the time to review your accounts, delete unwanted posts, and maybe even change your privacy settings so people see only what you want them to see.
But you definitely don’t want to delete everything. Some information, such as your employment history and material that will speak to your character, such as volunteer work, should remain public.
And, remember, no matter what your privacy settings are, people will still be able to view your profile picture. If your picture doesn’t present you in the best light, replace it with one that does, that’s clear and professional. And ensure your profile picture is the same across all of your social media profiles, which helps people recognize you. And is a first step in branding you.
2. Choose Only a Few Social Media Platforms
When it comes to social media, you have many options. But the last thing to do is to sign up for every possible social media account. You won’t be able to stay up to date. Nor will all social networks will fit your goals.
The general rule of thumb is to stick to one or two networks, especially starting out.
As I mentioned, in terms of your job search, LinkedIn is probably the best choice. It offers the most features for experienced professionals, including a dedicated space for your resume and skills and a publishing platform to write and post industry-related articles. You’ll also want to change your settings to show that you are open to new job opportunities. But don’t have the Open to Work Banner under your photo. That detracts from your brand and is a turnoff to recruiters. You want to appear the experienced person you are, not someone hanging a seeking work sign.
If you have social networks that you haven’t used in the past few years, consider deleting them. After all, it could be a red flag to recruiters that you don’t regularly use technology. It’s better to direct their attention to networks where you are the most engaged.
3. Work Towards Thought Leadership
Another way to boost your value proposition is to present yourself as a thought leader, or an expert within your industry.
How can social media help you do this?
Use your social networks to share valuable content, either that you’ve written yourself or that you curate from other sources. But if you curate the content you share, add your own opinion to the post to demonstrate your knowledge and insight.
Connect with and follow other experts within your industry. This will keep your finger on the pulse of what’s happening and the latest trends popping up. Network with others in your industry and share that you’re seeking new opportunities as you develop a relationship. Remember that a relationship is two ways and to give as well as receive.
LinkedIn’s publishing platform is an ideal place to craft an article that expresses your views and opinions. Articles can demonstrate your expertise and give recruiters a favorable impression.
4. Stay Active, in a Professional Way
I’ve already mentioned this, but it bears repeating: A dead account does you no good. If a recruiter finds an account with little to no activity, they’re going to ignore it. And if none of your accounts have activity, it might even count against you.
So, especially during your job search, stay active on your accounts. Share relevant industry information and include your own take on that information. Follow and engage with others within your industry.
But a quick note on what not to do…
Don’t get too personal. Irreverent memes, political opinions, and what you did over the weekend are all fine things to post on your personal social media. But when you’re using a social media account in your job search, keep it strictly professional. If you do have a personal account, ensure your privacy settings are turned on so that recruiters and potential employers won’t stumble upon it.
5. Use It to Research Potential Employers
Most likely, the company where you’re applying has a business page on at least one social network. So do your own reconnaissance and learn as much about them as possible.
Why is this a good idea?
First, it allows you to check out their company culture. See if this is really a company you want to work for. You can also discover who the leaders are and what they’re like.
Second, if you get called for an interview, you’ll have company information to use during the interview. Sharing personal details you enjoyed from the company’s page will show your interest and that you know your way around social media.
Concluding Thoughts About Social Media and Careers
Social media is valuable in so many areas of your professional life, not the least of which is your job search. If you haven’t already, I recommend that you create a plan to leverage social media to its fullest. Think of it as little seeds that you’re planting now, which will grow and produce valuable future opportunities.
Combine your social media and job search efforts to boost your value and name recognition. This will make you stand out among other job candidates and make your age a distant afterthought.
How are you using social media to advance your career? Please share in the comments.