The economic crisis is continuing to bite and with unemployment in the UK at its highest level since the mid-90s finding a job is becoming an increasingly difficult task.
To get the right job takes focus, commitment and discipline. Competition for work is fierce and job-seekers need to find any edge they can to get ahead of the pack.
Employers seem reluctant to take risks in the current economic climate and sometimes a great CV and covering letter just isn’t enough.
One way of standing out from the crowd is to not just tell employers what you have to offer – but to show them. And social media offers job-seekers a multitude of ways to display their skills, talents and personality.
Start a blog and express yourself
It’s never been easier to set up a blog. As well as free platforms like WordPress.com and Tumblr, for those looking to create something with a little more substance open source software such as Drupal and WordPress.org allow you to create and host a website of your very own using a custom domain and identity.
Whatever platform you use, the blog should act as your ‘homebase’ and form the centrepiece of all your social media efforts.
Think about the type of work you want your ideal employer to see from you. If you’re a graphic designer, this might include branding concepts, typography or website layouts.
Or if you’re a budding cook you could use your blog to post your own recipes, ideas and video tutorials of your culinary creations.
A blog will allow you to express yourself and demonstrate thought-leadership in your area of interest, expertise or profession.
Build your professional network using LinkedIn
As the world’s largest professional social network, LinkedIn is an ideal platform for connecting and networking with others within your sphere of expertise.
Many people consider LinkedIn to be simply an online version of one’s CV. But it’s much more than that.
Once you discover how to use LinkedIn effectively you’ll see that there are a number of great ways to grow your network as well as further display your own skills and expertise to would-be employers in your industry.
The key features to consider include:
- Create a detailed, focused profile targeted at your ideal employer
- Connect and build your network
- Recommend others. This will encourage people to recommend you in return
- Join groups and add value to the conversations and discussions
- Update your status to show your network what you’re thinking and working on
Promote yourself in 140 characters using Twitter
Twitter is a brilliant tool for building a following, becoming part of a community and getting a message out to a large number of people in concise, simple updates.
As you begin to build up original content on your blog, Twitter can be used to share and distribute that content to your following. The aim should be to add value to other people’s Twitter streams and encourage them to share your content with their following, thus improving the chances of getting your content out to a much wider audience.
In addition to sharing original content, Twitter is also great for sharing other people’s work, too.
By Retweeting what other thought-leaders and experts are saying, not only will you reinforce the relationships you have with those people but you may also begin to be seen as a curator of good content and someone who is always looking to learn and develop their knowledge.
As with the blog and LinkedIn, focus is required. The aim is to gain the attention of potential employers by tweeting about the things you want to be noticed for.
Have a plan
The tools I’ve mentioned in this post are just a handful of what’s available. There are many more tools to choose from and the key is to pick the platforms and social networks that work best for you and the job-seeking goals you’ve set yourself.
It’s important to have an idea at the beginning of the process as to what you want to achieve from using social media for your job search. Who are the people you want to reach? What do you want them to notice you for? What channels fit best with the work that you do?
The answers to these questions will give you a good understanding of your potential audience, the right social media tools to use and the approach you should take in order to reach those people.
Good luck with your job search and please get in touch with your stories of how you have used social media to find work.