You're resumé is ready, and you've signup for job hunting sites. Now it's time to boost and appropriate your social media presences. These days, hiring managers and HR people not only search sites for candidates, they use social media to find out more about you.
Early in the job hunt, make sure to Google yourself to see what’s already out there about you, then invest a little time in the following areas.
Your Profile Image
If you don't have a good, clear headshot that doesn’t involve other people, pets, or beverages, it might be good to invest in a professional photo with a background that emphasizes your style and the culture you want to work in.
For consistency, use the same photo across your job-related social media accounts to start associating that image with your personal brand.
LinkedIn has become the default first stop for recruiters, hiring managers, and people looking for project help. For career changers and new job searchers, LinkedIn gives you many opportunities to shape your profile so your knowledge and skills – rather than your job experience — come to the forefront. These include a well-crafted headline and summary, links to work samples and projects, and opportunities to publish posts and join groups.
All of these elements can be arranged in whatever order best highlights your personal brand. Begin to solicit endorsements and recommendations in your new field and it is possible to move or delete old endorsements or recommendations that aren’t relevant.
As you build your LinkedIn network, begin to tag your contacts to organize them into categories for an easier search and outreach.
If your Facebook page is where you talk more about personal things and issues, post photos of your dog, or journal your latest concert, it would be better to set up a business page which encourages visitors to like, rather than friend, the page. If you plan to freelance, a Facebook business page is essential; while job-hunting, it burnishes your image as a professional.
In the last few years, Facebook has motivated people to set up business pages by attaching its ad program, Facebook Insights and other features to those pages. Where personal profiles max out at 5,000 friends, business/professional pages can attract millions. Migrating followers from personal to business pages can be a little tricky, so it’s worth thinking about before you have 4,996 friends.
As part of the page, you can add a free call to action at the top of your page, including “learn more,” contact options, or downloading an app. You can also sell tickets or merchandise from your website, or links to partner apps that handle appointment booking. And while most of these promotional features come with a cost, they can be targeted and budgeted so tightly that you may find it makes business sense to boost a post or run a small ad campaign to see how it performs.
Your Twitter profile should match your other professional profiles – same image, same keywords. Creating and sharing content via Twitter is another way to grow your network and raise your profile, but when you’re just starting out, Twitter works brilliantly as a listening post.
Following people and companies you admire in the industry you hope to enter is a no-brainer. Twitter also works well as a news feed to keep you up-to-date on what’s going on with companies you’re targeting. Knowing the hot issues helps you write a great cover letter and rock your interview by showing how well-informed and interested you are. And looking smart is a great addition to anybody’s personal brand.