In my recent blog posts, I talked about ways you can use Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to help in your job search. While these posts offer a number of tips for using social media to help build your professional profile, build your network and search for a job, there are some general social media do’s and don’ts you should consider. In my years as recruitment professional, I have seen candidates successfully gain attention online, while others have made some interesting mistakes.
- Be Selective
Choose the social network that will benefit you the most and get to know it well. Just because several networks exist, doesn’t mean you have to use them all. Companies use the different networks for different reasons – LinkedIn will offer incredible networking opportunities and Twitter will offer you a news stream from the company. So, for example, if LinkedIn is your thing, use it to your advantage. Get to know its features. Join groups that you feel will benefit you, and that you can benefit from. Become a subject matter expert in your LinkedIn groups.
- Be Goal Oriented
Stephen Covey said that we should always start with the end in mind. What do you really want to accomplish? Start by understanding your intent. Do you desire networking? If so, decide that you will meet five new people every day. Have you joined any new groups? Are you looking for a job? Connect with recruiters and have personal conversations where you share your interests. Develop a social media plan and let the plan work for you. Use those sites that will move you towards your goal.
- Prioritize and Maximize Your Time
Make first things first. Make a list of your social media goals and prioritize them against a schedule or deadlines to help push you to accomplish them. Traditional organizers and Microsoft Outlook are great tools to help you stay organized. One of the things that keep highly effective people from achieving maximum goals is the fact that they get off track while trying to multitask. Write it down and get it done. Another barrier to success is wasted time. Use your social media time wisely and try not to lose too much time looking at friends’ photos and status updates on Facebook. Instead, engage in dialogue with those who can help you achieve your goal of finding the perfect job.
Don’t Do These!
- Don’t Get Stale
Don’t let your information on social media sites get stale. Think of your profiles as your professional advertisements aimed at attracting companies and jobs to you. Keep your information fresh and up to date. As you gain experience, internships or part-time jobs, update your social media profiles. Remember, recruiters want to connect with you just as much as you want to be connected. Making small changes, even as simple as changing your profile photo, can get people looking at your profile. Use changes to your advantage.
- Don’t Make Empty Connections
Don’t just connect with people, make an effort to follow up and engage with them. Recruiters and people who manage social media groups are not just looking for people to connect with; they want to engage with their connections. They are looking for mutually beneficial relationships. Remember, you chose people to follow on Twitter or connect with on LinkedIn because they offer some benefit to you. Your contacts are seeking the same from you. Follow-up is key.
- Don’t Use Your Contacts
Don’t go for the short sale, go for the long-term relationship. Social media is meant to help you build two-way relationships. While connecting with people online may offer an immediate satisfaction with hopes for a job lead, building a two-way relationship where you contribute and give back to others sets you apart from the crowd. And, true relationships will continue long after you get that great job. Who knows what paths your future will follow? Your contacts may become a professional resource in your job or a lead for a future promotion. Don’t use your contacts. Build relationships.
Social media offers a number of exciting ways to connect and network with people, recruiters and companies. And, some companies even make it easy to find them – check out Sodexo’s Network With Us page for an example. Now that you know where to look, get out there and make your mark in social media. Make the most of your time and your future will become a reality. Enjoy and good luck!
Derren is the Manager, Diversity Recruiting for Sodexo which is a leader in integrated food service and facilities management. He is responsible for managing the Sodexo Future Leaders Internship Program as well as executing diversity sourcing initiatives for both campus and targeted experienced hires. With over 14+ years of experience with Sodexo, Derren has had great success as a General Manager in the company’s Health Care Services division as well as in several positions within their Talent Acquisition Group. He’s an active corporate partner with the National Society of Minorities in Hospitality (NSMH). Derren is an AIRS Certified Diversity Recruiter (CDR) and Certified Internet Recruiter (CIR). Follow him on Twitter, friend him on Facebook, or just Network with Us.