These days, it’s hard to find someone who isn’t on social media. It comes as no surprise that one 2014 Pew study found that 74 percent of online adults use social networking sites. But are you leveraging social media to take your career to the next level?
According to a recent Jobvite survey of nearly 2,000 recruiters, over half said they’d reconsidered a candidate based on their social profile. What’s more is that 94 percent use LinkedIn to recruit new employees. This begs the question: How can you utilize social media to land the job of your dreams?
Here to weigh in is Caity Kauffman, social media and digital marketing manager for the Tampa Bay Lightning. At 25, Kauffman is living proof that understanding social media pays off. In fact, she used connections made on Twitter to secure her first job out of college. Since then, she’s cultivated a loyal social media following and is considered an up-and-coming millennial voice in Tampa Bay.
Here are a handful of Kauffman’s most valuable tips for upping your career through social media.
Tweet your resume
It may sound a little out there, but tweeting your resume can be a great way to get exposure. For Kauffman, doing this actually led to a job producing a Sirius XM radio show. (Thanks to a retweet.)
“I actually gave the same advice to a girlfriend in Philadelphia,” says Kauffman. “She tweeted out her resume and an ad agency found her and hired her as a junior copywriter.”
Creating an online portfolio of your work is another little thing that can have a big impact. It’s also easy to promote on social media and paints a more complete picture of your skill set, especially since a resume is typically only one page long.
Watch what you post
When it comes to breaking into a new industry, be mindful of your tweets and status updates. Think of yourself as a business in the sense that you need to remember your audience. In that vein, Kauffman recommends posting things that are related to the industry you want to be in.
“If you’re posting about random things all the time, no one will see you as someone who’s already in the business,” she says.
Long before landing her job with the NHL, Kauffman was using social media to post news and other tidbits about the industry. She learned everything she could about the field, posting and retweeting all the relevant information she could find. She even paid for herself to go to the NHL draft to network in person.
“Start acting like you’re already in the business, even though you’re not,” says Kauffman. “A lot of times, people can’t tell the difference.”
Reach out to new contacts (without being creepy)
Got your eye on a potential new contact you’re itching to connect with? The last thing you want to do is come on too strong, which can spoil the relationship before it even begins. Instead, Kauffman advises starting off slowly. Begin by following the person on social media, gradually commenting and retweeting wherever you can. This opens the door for some interaction.
“Engage with them naturally as if they have nothing to offer you,” says Kauffman. “Once they start tweeting back and you have a couple of back-and-forths, I would send them a DM or email if possible.”
The worst thing you can do at this point is ask them how they can help you. Instead, just ask them to grab coffee so that you can learn from their experience. In other words: Don’t treat them like a stepladder. If you’re eager and motivated, Kauffman says most people will want to help you. So focus on building relationships slowly before you start asking for favors.
Update your profile
LinkedIn is definitely the most utilized social media platform when it comes to job searching. Kauffman really drives home the importance of making sure your profile is completely filled out all the time. Every time your job changes, make certain that you update it with your full job description.
“I also accept [connection requests] from people I don’t know if they’re in my industry,” says Kauffman. “And I always accept recruiters – you never know what’s going to happen, and those are the people who are always looking for talent.”
Another good idea is to link your social media profiles to your own website or online portfolio. This gives an employer the opportunity to research you more and build an emotional connection. In the end, this gives you the chance to sell yourself even more.
According to Kauffman, a lot of students new to the job force hide from Google. She actually suggests doing the exact opposite.
“If I’m trying to look up a possible intern and I can’t find them, that makes it look like they either haven’t done anything or they’re hiding something,” she says.
Instead, be open to being searchable. Creating a basic website can be an excellent way of getting your name to rank in Google. It also pulls double duty by showcasing your talents and skills. In short, when potential employers Google you, you want good things to pop up.