A Guide to Connecting with Potential Employers on Social Media
Before hiring anyone, most recruiters search social media to learn a bit more about their candidates. It may not seem fair that your embarrassing social media posts can overshadow your experience and qualifications, but this is the reality of today’s corporate landscape, so you have to be prepared. Your social media presence plays a huge role in the hiring process and can also help you land your dream job, so you need to take it seriously.
Social media is more than just a way to see what people are doing or to connect with old friends—it can also be used to connect with potential employers. Think of your social media as a personal marketing campaign and take control of the image you’re projecting. Before you connect with potential employers, clean your social media up a bit. Not sure what to keep or delete? Contact our experts for coaching on how to network on social media.
How to connect on various social media platforms
Different social media platforms require different approaches, so let’s take a look at how to connect with potential employers on three of the biggest sites: Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
While Facebook isn’t considered a professional social media platform like LinkedIn, it still offers many ways to connect with potential employers, which can be immensely helpful during your job search.
First, use the “Groups” feature to reach out to people in your field. Joining groups centered on your passions can open up new opportunities or create connections that lead to a job. Being active in these groups by posting and commenting will help you establish a strong presence. You can develop lasting relationships with peers in your field, picking up valuable tips and insights from them. Moreover, you can get to know recruiters and employers, thus uncovering new job opportunities. Make every post in one of these groups under the assumption that a hiring manager will see it.
In addition, you can use Facebook to search for companies in your field. Almost all businesses nowadays have a Facebook page where you can check whether they’re hiring. Being engaged on a company’s Facebook page shows that you’re interested in its mission and want to be a part of its team. It’s also a good way for you to figure out whether you align with the company’s values and culture.
Finally, turn your Facebook friends into a means of building business relationships—utilizing your resources wisely can help you find great job opportunities. So, use your friends list to your advantage by forging connections. You may discover that someone you know works for a company you’ve always wanted to join, and a strong professional relationship with this person can get you through the door!
An important side note: As you join industry groups and chat with acquaintances, don’t forget about your privacy settings! You can still publish fun posts that you wouldn’t want a recruiter to see, but make sure access to such posts is set to friends-only. Your public profile should communicate a strictly professional image.
Like Facebook, Twitter isn’t designed for professional networking, but you can still connect with potential employers there. Your Twitter account should serve as evidence of your intellectual and professional capabilities.
First, use your tweets to portray the image you want to show potential employers. Don’t fill your page with drivel—instead, use tweets to display your professional knowledge and make yourself more personable to peers and employers alike. If you demonstrate an ability to think critically, recruiters will see your value and realize that you know your stuff.
You can also use Twitter to connect with companies you’re interested in working for. Most business organizations have a Twitter account, and their leaders and employees sometimes have their own professional accounts. Follow those accounts and connect with their holders by retweeting or commenting on their tweets. Just don’t go overboard with it—do it in moderation. If you’re retweeting or commenting on every single post, you’re more likely to come off as creepy and desperate.
In addition, use Twitter to connect with others in your field. They may not work for the company you’re trying to get hired by, but learning from your peers can help you develop professionally as they may offer valuable tips or even a doorway to new opportunities. Outside of the professional realm, you may simply be able to make some great friends. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone on Twitter and follow people you can learn from.
If you want to use this platform for professional purposes but also wish to post pictures of your food and your controversial political opinions, use separate accounts. Just make sure your personal account doesn’t make any mention of your real name or other identifiable information, and you should be fine.
Unlike Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn is a social networking platform focused on encouraging professional growth and makes it easy to keep your personal and professional lives separate. It provides many opportunities for career development, and it all starts with creating a profile. If you need help with your profile, get specialized LinkedIn help.
First, you can search for companies that you want to work for, but LinkedIn offers so much more than that. You can also search for job titles or any other keywords related to your profession. However, keep in mind that LinkedIn is not just an online job board—it is a professional development site.
In addition, LinkedIn provides ways to connect with people associated with your search results. Once you find a valid resource, reach out. It is not the same as randomly requesting to be someone’s friend on Facebook or even following someone on Twitter. LinkedIn is designed to help you meet other professionals in your field. The idea is to connect with new people and progress to building a mutually beneficial relationship with them.
Also, use your connections. Be honest with people when you connect with them. It’s not a matter of “Do they think I’m just using them?” This is what LinkedIn is for, after all. You are expected to use your connections to your advantage. Just be sure to do your research on this person or company before moving forward with your request. Importantly, remember that it’s a two-way street: Think about what you can offer them, not just what they can offer you.
How to be confident in your connections
Being confident in your connections means that you’re honest with them about why you’re reaching out. Whether that’s through Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, being honest up front will show you whether the connection is valuable and help you build a meaningful relationship with that person.
Another way to be confident in your connections is to do your homework and research each of them. You may be able to determine in advance whether they will be a valuable resource, thus saving time for both of you.
Finally, don’t forget that networking is a two-way street. Don’t simply expect others to do you favors without doing anything for them in return. Find a way to offer real value to your connections, and they’ll be more likely to help you out.
How to get started connecting
That’s easy—get on social media! Begin researching professionals and companies you can see yourself working with and for. Be active and let your social media presence speak for itself. Just make sure your profiles are professional. Reach out to people who can be of value to you and join groups that can open up job opportunities. If you need help with social networking, get in touch with our career coaches!