Job hunting on social media: your first five steps
Over the last few years, social media has transformed the way we look for work. With organisations increasingly using social platforms to advertise roles and source candidates, switched-on job seekers are finding that a little social media savvy can go a long way.
If you’re re-entering the job market after a career break, now’s the time to polish your profiles and get into some good social media habits. It might seem like a big ask when your accounts are packed with toddler parties or school catchment chat but a few simple steps can give your job search the edge. Here’s our guide to getting started:
1. Get to grips with LinkedIn
LinkedIn is the mama of all professional networking sites and a vital part of your back-to-work toolkit. It’s a great place to showcase your skills and experience, connect with your network, hear about and apply for jobs, and even share your own insights. If it’s all new to you, don’t panic: we recommend starting simple and building from there.
Begin by setting aside some time to create a profile that lets your skills, experience and achievements shine. Much like a digital CV, this should highlight your expertise, help you stand out from the crowd and impress potential employers with all you have to offer (you might find it useful to read our guide to creating a stellar CV here). Add a high-quality, professional-looking head shot to help you make a good first impression.
If you already have a profile, dust it off and bring it up to date. At Successful Mums, we recommend adding dates for your career break, with a brief outline of relevant transferable parenting skills, as well as any voluntary work. Remember that job-specific keywords can change, so researching and updating the keywords for your area of interest will boost your chances of appearing on recruiters’ searches.
2. Let people know you’re looking
Social media is great for letting people know you’re in the market for a job. Add a line to your profiles to say you’re actively looking for work and the types of roles you’re interested in (including relevant keywords or hashtags). If you’re focusing your search on flexible roles to fit around your family, it’s worth indicating this, too. This simple step helped Successful Mum Nicky find her perfect part-time role – you can read all about her experiences here.
Reaching out directly to former colleagues, employers, family and friends in your social networks can also work wonders, so don’t be shy of asking if they know of any opportunities or leads you can follow up. Though you might feel awkward about doing this at first, you’ll be surprised by how many people will be willing to help. What’s more, even if they can’t help now, you’ll be on their radar if something crops up in the future.
3. Clean it up
It goes without saying that if you’re using your social media accounts in your job search, you need to be careful about what you’re posting. It’s a good idea to do a quick audit of your accounts, adjust privacy settings where necessary and clean up anything you wouldn’t be happy for a prospective employer to see. Party photos and bad language could raise red flags, while too many Twitter spats could turn off recruiters looking for good communication skills.
4. Follow your favourites
Facebook and Twitter are, of course, perfect for following recruiters and job boards, and a quick search will turn up many that specialise in flexible roles (including our own Job Board). Successful Mums Back to Work coach Georgina Crispin also recommends following any companies you’d be particularly interested in working for.
“This will mean you’re ahead of the game if they advertise any new job opportunities and will also keep you up to date with their latest news and wider industry developments,” explains Georgina. “All of this will stand you in good stead if you later land an interview and will really help demonstrate your enthusiasm for the company and sector.”
5. Build your personal brand
Now you have the basics, you can start creating a fuller picture of what you’re all about and using your social media activity to build your personal brand.
Joining LinkedIn or Facebook groups focused on the specific topics or industries you’re interested in will give you the chance to engage in discussions, share your insights and make new connections. If you’ve been away from work for a while, this is also a good way to get back up to speed with the latest developments and talking points. Sharing interesting news and articles, or signposting your own content, can also help extend your network and raise your profile.
Finally, LinkedIn allows you to add recommendations to your page, so indulge in some personal PR and ask a few contacts you know well (perhaps your former manager, colleagues or clients) to write some positive words to give you and your work capabilities the thumbs up.
Successful Mums’ Back to Work course is packed with ideas for helping returners make the most of the job-seeking opportunities on social media and beyond. Find out more here and book your free* place today.
*subject to eligibility