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How to use social media to your advantage when job hunting

About 48% of people used social media to search for their most recent job, according to a study. Photo: Getty
About 48% of people used social media to search for their most recent job, according to a study. Photo: Getty

Twitter (TWTR), Facebook (FB) and Instagram are more than just a place to share pictures of your cat and homemade bread. Most employers and recruitment agencies use social media to find the right candidates for job openings and opportunities – which means it should be a big part of your job search strategy.

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn (MSFT) and such provide a two-way street when it comes to job hunting. Not only can you tell hiring managers about yourself and share links to your work and projects, you can use it to find out more about the companies you are interested in. So how can you use social media to your advantage if you’re looking for a new job?

“Social media can be used either to actively look for jobs by searching through posts and pages, or to put it out into the world that you are looking for your next role by posting on the platform,” says Andrew Fennell, director and careers expert at StandOut CV.

“For jobs that require creativity or digital skills, your social media platforms also act as an extension of your CV whether you like it or not and recruiters will check through them,” he says.

“Some people feel a level of shame when job hunting and don’t want to post about their current situation but word-of-mouth is still the most powerful way to land an interview and you may find that friends, family, and friends of friends can open doors you didn’t even know were there.”

Check Facebook groups

According to Jobvite’s Job Seeker Nation study, 48% of people used social media to search for their most recent job. And while many of us consider LinkedIn to be the most “professional” of social media platforms, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram can all be helpful too.

“Facebook can be good to find hyperlocal jobs and get your foot in the door with many hiring managers and recruiters. Check local village, town, and community Facebook pages as jobs will often get shared in there before being put online as people like to offer jobs to locals before broadening their search,” Fennell says.

“You may also find niche job groups for these local areas too, but be wary that spammers and scammers can still gain access to these sites to publish online jobs that aren’t genuine, so be sure to Google any companies before dedicating time to the application.”

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Use relevant hashtags

To make the most out of Twitter when job hunting, find the most relevant hashtags for your niche. “For example, #MarketingJobs is fairly active for those in the field and is often used to advertise new positions or those looking to be hired. For the latter, you can then see how other candidates are positioning themselves to improve your own job hunt too,” says Fennell.

“To go that little bit further, set your pinned tweet as one that says you’re looking for a job, your best experience, and how someone can reach you quickly, couple this with a header image that says you’re looking for work and you’ve helped make your profile standout quickly.”

Make the most of LinkedIn

The first thing to do on LinkedIn is create a profile with your experience and detailed job descriptions that contain keywords relating to your target jobs. This will ensure your profile appears high in the results when recruiters search for your skills.

“When job hunting, post on your feed that you are looking for work with relevant hashtags like #OpenToWork and any industry-specific tags,” Fennell advises. “Make sure this post is accompanied by an image, and if your story is compelling. For example, how you have overcome recent hardship or are taking a leap in your career. You will find that people will engage with your post more, therefore amplifying it to their own connections and audiences.”

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Be a step ahead of the competition

Specific job searching functions are available on most platforms and many companies use social media to advertise their vacancies. Lee Biggins, CEO and founder of CV-Library, advises to be one step ahead of the competition and proactively check the profiles of any businesses that are of interest.

“One of the best ways to harness social media sites is to thoroughly research the industry or businesses that have vacancies,” Biggins says. “LinkedIn is a great place to understand wider industry issues and identify any key goals or projects that a particular company is focusing on. This extra knowledge will really help candidates stand out and is especially important in today's competitive job market.”

Be wary of your visibility

It's important to remember that employers can also access your social media accounts, too. “Ensure that your social media profiles are up-to-date and free of swearing and any content that could be considered explicit. It’s better to be safe with social media and job hunting, and if you’re feeling extra cautious, set all your profiles to private (apart from your LinkedIn),” Fennell says.

“Use up-to-date photos in your profile pictures preferably with you looking happy as it genuinely does help to make a good first impression if a recruiter is performing initial checks on your online presence.”

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