By now, we all know recruiters and hiring managers check out the social media profiles of their applicants. While some may stick to LinkedIn, others go all-out, checking Twitter, Instagram and even Google Plus.
A lot of job-hunting advice focuses on what you shouldn’t do: don’t post offensive things, don’t talk about how much you hate your current job… you know the drill.
While it’s helpful to keep red flags in mind while using social media during your job search, focusing on the negative takes away the fun of social media and turns people’s feeds into streams of links to articles they probably haven’t even read.
So what are some positive ways you can use your network to help you get that next job? We asked three Colorado tech recruiters to share some tips on how to use social media to land your next gig.
Have a presence
Above all, you should have some sort of presence on social media. While it’s totally natural to want to keep your life private, the reality is hiring managers rely on social media to vet candidates and to verify you are who you say you are.
“I just want to know you’re a reasonable, rational human being,” said Reed Kremer, Recruiter and People Operations Generalist for GutCheck. “Are you a normal type of person I’d enjoy working with?”
For developers, LinkedIn can quickly become a wasteland of spam messages and connection requests. But Tim Warson, Corporate Recruiter for Apto, said not to completely discount the platform. It validates your professional experience, and not to mention, you never know when the recruiter from your dream company might send you a message.
“People will find you name and skillset on LinkedIn,” he said. “There’s really no other place for it.”
If you’re a developer who really, truly just can’t stand to be on LinkedIn, you should at least have a GitHub profile with your real name and photo so recruiters can find some information about you. Warson said recruiters are even tougher on GitHub, so candidates should make sure they have the products they’re most proud of clearly, prominently visible on the platform.
Know the nuances of each platform
Having a solid understanding of the value and purpose of each platform will aid you greatly in your job search.
“Certain platforms have limitations and you have to tailor what you put out there to that platform,” said Nick Larche, Human Resources Manager and Corporate Counsel for ShopAtHome.com.
You’ll know which information to post where, and you’ll avoid potentially embarrassing situations, like posting a random meme to LinkedIn or an un-threaded string of Tweets full of abbreviations and spelling errors. But using Twitter’s “quote tweet” feature, threading messages and sharing relevant articles on LinkedIn (with some insightful commentary indicating you did, in fact, read the post), will help you stand out to hiring managers who might be looking at your profile.
Use the network to your advantage
Back in the day, social media was called “social networking” for a reason. Platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter directly connect you to other people in your industry and your field, along with your dream company itself.
Larche said he likes to see candidates engaging with the company on social media, whether following and responding to posts or actively sharing news and advocating for the company.
“It might help them find you faster,” he said.
And, just like in real life, having a connection to someone at the company always helps your chances when applying. For Kremer, even sharing a LinkedIn connection with him gives a candidate an edge, because he can then reach out and ask for a reference.
Keep it clean
When it comes to optimizing your profiles — especially LinkedIn — it’s important to keep everything clean and organized. You want to make it easier for recruiters to scan your profile and know exactly what makes you exceptional.
“Keep it focused on the jobs you want to do,” said Warson. “Only include responsibilities of the job you want.”
The most basic step might be just to have a profile, but keeping everything up-to-date shows recruiters you’re on top of everything. If your Twitter bio still has you located wherever you were before you landed in Colorado, or if your LinkedIn is missing three jobs you’ve included on your resume, you’ll raise a few eyebrows.
“The goal is to be findable and look like a real person,” said Warson. “Make sure it’s somewhat updated so it’s not just your skills from college, if you’ve been in the workforce for 10 years.”
Think outside the box
Depending on your talents and interests, going beyond the usual social media platforms can work out to your advantage. For example, someone going out for a digital marketing position might use Facebook or Twitter ads to target a company’s hiring manager, driving them to their portfolio. Find a way to showcase your skills that helps you stand out.
According to Larche, considering more niche social media platforms like Meetup or Reddit can also play a role in landing that job.
“Meetup is underleveraged,” he said. “If you run a Meetup, or attend a lot, that shows you have an active interest and want to get involved in your field and your community.”
Be a real person
At the end of the day, using social media in your job search is all about showing recruiters who you really are. While having a strong personal brand online is important, some people take their personal branding so far it comes across as more of a cult of personality than an actual person engaging on different platforms.
You want to have some element of professionalism — sharing thought leadership, your own work and engaging with other people in your field is important — but being hyper-professional and turning yourself into a brand comes across as laughable to most recruiters. (Hint: if you refer to yourself in the third person in your bio, you’re doing it wrong.)
Larche recommends a 70/30 balance of personal and professional content, especially on Twitter. 70 percent of your posts should have something to do with your career, while 30 percent can be personal insights showcasing your interests, how you spend your free time and your sense of humor.
“Build a focused presence around professional things, but don’t be afraid to have a little bit of a personality too,” said Warson. “Posting a picture of your dog’s Halloween costume makes me laugh and shows me you have a life outside of work.”
Photo via Shutterstock.
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