Will Social Media Get You a Job?
Social media has undoubtedly helped countless students and professionals build and advance their online presence, and in some cases, helped them secure new career opportunities.
The keyword here is helped. Social media did not get them their jobs; it only helped them get their jobs. Unfortunately, many job seekers, having heard or read about job search success stories from LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and other social network users, dedicate all of their time and energy to social media and not enough time to all the true job search essentials. They then end up being less effective and successful in their job search, but don't know why they aren't seeing any results.
For the most part, social media will: Help you increase the reach and visibility of your personal brand; help you make new connections; and help you identify new job opportunities. It won't, however, replace or diminish the importance of the following five job search assets:
Before you do anything online to build your personal brand, you first have to create one and be able to communicate and support it through your offline actions. Write down your differentiating strengths (those that make you stand out from the rest) and ask your friends, family, colleagues and managers to do the same for you. Identify the top three to five overlapping strengths that both represent you and support the career direction you want to pursue. Once you have these, create/find a word or phrase that can become your personal brand and that represents these strengths. Then, develop a short, supporting pitch that can follow your brand, describing your strengths in more detail.
Before you can add your resume to your social and professional networks, you need to have one that could get you the job offline. Think about the direction you want to pursue and the experience and transferrable skills you have. Search online for industry relevant sample resumes and consider consulting a professional resume writer to help you optimize your resume with the right keywords and information for both human eyes and online resume search engines.
How you present yourself in your social media profile photos means nothing if you can't be just as well-dressed, well-groomed and confident in person. People do judge a book by its cover, so practice making good first impressions in all of your in-person networking.
Social media may link you to someone who can help get you an interview for a position, but again, how you present yourself and how you sell yourself in the interview will determine whether you make it to the next round. I recommend both getting practice through informational interviewing, as well as through introducing yourself to new people at networking events and at other gatherings. It may be tough or uncomfortable at first, but once you do it a few times, presenting yourself and your personal brand will seem like nothing when it's time to do it in your job search.
Following up with your interviewers, informational interviewers and any networking contacts, whether it be via phone, mail or email, is important not only because it looks professional, but also because it keeps you top of mind. Why else do you think career experts recommend sending thank you letters after your interviews? For your informational interviewers and networking contacts (those not already tied to a specific position for which you have interviewed), make sure you ping them from time to time to keep up to date on opportunities you have applied for, possible internal opportunities they may know about, as well as opportunities for you to help them based on your conversations and any challenges they may have been facing.
All of these will take practice and some time to perfect, however, if you already have or can begin working on these assets, social media will become a much more effective tool in your personal branding, networking and job search efforts.