There is a lot of hype around social media and, more specifically, social recruiting. Social recruiting is a reality and can be very valuable as part of a job search strategy.
Studies show that 79% of global employers are using social media as part of their hiring strategy (IAEWS), and that more than 80% of jobs are found through networks. In another recent survey of more than 260 employers, 68% of hiring managers consider the use of social and professional media to be the next most essential hiring trend, while most companies still use job boards as your main source of recruitment (LinkedIn).
The reality is, with fewer jobs available and more competition for those jobs, you need to become more of an evangelist than a scout when it comes to internet job hunting. If you are serious about finding a new job, you need to differentiate yourself from less experienced online job seekers by making use of all available channels on the internet. This means you need to focus on building a powerful online personal brand to ensure you are proactive in attracting favorable career opportunities.
Your personal brand online
Here are some important considerations and tips for building your personal brand online:
- Create a blog or personal website that focuses on your experience. To get recruiters interested in your brand, be sure to update your blog frequently. By doing so, you will impress recruiters with your knowledge of your subject or area of expertise.
- Create and complete your LinkedIn profile, along with recommendations (referrals) and helpful discussions or responses that demonstrate your knowledge of a particular industry or topic. Then start building your professional network by linking to related groups and connecting with like-minded industry professionals. The more people you are connected to, the greater your chances of being noticed by hiring managers or recruiters.
- If you are using Facebook to promote your brand, be very careful about what information you post and who you are friends with. Many companies and recruiters use social media to assess the behavior and habits of potential employees. However, keep in mind that Facebook is in fact a social media environment and not professional (like LinkedIn), therefore some people may not want to be disturbed on Facebook, where they socialize with friends and family.
- When contacting a potential recruiter or employer through an online network, be sure to tailor your message to clearly state who you are and what your interest in the company is, rather than simply indicating that you want a job. At this stage, you will have done your homework and should know if the company is hiring based on your experience or not.
- Use professional and social media or search engines to locate employees currently working for the companies you want to work for and ask them to recommend or introduce you to the hiring manager.
- Do a Twitter search for companies or recruiters you want to reach out to. To do this, you will need a full profile on Twitter with a link to your personal blog or website that you can redirect recruiters to in case they are interested in finding out more about you.
- Consider promoting your personal brand on Google using the Google AdWords advertising platform. You can create an ad targeting specific keywords that could be triggered by recruiting or hiring managers. Your personal ad will be linked to your personal blog or website where interested companies can read more about you. You can also create a similar type of ad on Facebook and LinkedIn.
- Lastly, don’t forget to submit your CV to job boards like Jobs.co.za to make sure recruiters searching the database for the right hires can find it. Remember that job boards, just like search engines, scan resumes to find suitable keywords that match the search request that the recruiter entered. So, build your CV in a way that incorporates the strategic use of keywords that best describe your key skills and product or industry knowledge.
The most successful job seekers are those who proactively search for opportunities on the internet, whether it’s on search engines, company pages, social media, or job boards. Those individuals who are well connected and have a clean, professional personal brand will stand out and get hired first. Make sure your personal brand attracts the right recruiters and that you can recruit more electronically than your job-seeking competitors.