Common Mistakes Job Seekers Make When Using Social Media
Social media is probably one of the most hyped-up technologies today. Companies, as well as individuals seeking positions at those companies, have made some very damaging mistakes because they didn’t take the time to really understand social media.
Social media is just a job search tool
Social media has a lot of excitement around it today, making it easy to believe all the hype and success stories and expect those same successes to happen to you instantly. Just like Favel thought America was paved with gold in the movie Coming to America, new users of social media can sometimes think these tools are magical — but they’re not.
Think of what hiring managers need to see
Successful people on social networking sites don’t overly obsess about how spiffy their profiles look or what they’ve done in the past. Masters of social networking have good-looking and well-worded profiles, but they focus their time on interacting with potential employers and talking about how they can help them.
Learn from these masters. Focus your messaging on solving other people’s problems and explaining how you can help their business, their career, or their life.
Have a complete and updated online presence
If you’re going to explore other social networks in addition to LinkedIn, such as XING or Brazen Careerist, don’t do it halfway. Decide to join a network and then do whatever it takes to complete a profile. Putting your best foot forward is a must. If you aren’t prepared to give it 100 percent, then don’t open the new profile in the first place.
Having an outdated profile out there means you risk looking inconsistent. As your personal brand changes and evolves, your newer profiles begin to differ more and more dramatically from the old ones that aren’t being maintained. And it just looks like you don’t care. Nothing is worse for your personal brand than a Twitter account with only three posts from two years ago!
Revealing enough personal information
Revealing a vast amount of personal information isn’t always going to help you in your job search, but leaving out all personal information can really hurt your chances of standing out in the job market. After all, the name of the game these days isn’t just what you can do but who you are and what makes you different.
Including a few, well-chosen items about your personal life can do wonders for rounding out your image. By opening up about yourself, you make it easy for others with similar interests to relate to you.
Understand the etiquette of the networks you use
Not having a good understanding of the rules of one social network versus another is a major mistake because what’s acceptable on Twitter may be considered a faux pas on LinkedIn. So reading and understanding what the network is and what the rules are is important.
Sometimes, of course, you may have a message that’s appropriate on several networks, but for the most part, interacting and engaging with your audience in the way each individual network expects is the best option.
Know your social media audience
Make sure your messages are appealing to the people who read them. For example, some people still think blogging is writing personal information about your life for the whole world to see. When, in fact, the best blogs are written for a very specific reason and a well-defined audience.
As a job seeker, your audience will likely be hiring managers and HR professionals. As a general rule, these people don’t want to see your political views, religious views, or anything else that may cause controversy. Instead, focus on what makes you different, the value you can bring to the table, and your level of understanding about a field.
Do some face-to-face networking
The technology world is not only unpredictable but also volatile. Every connection you have online and every e-mail communication you send via a social network is owned by a company. If you aren’t taking ownership of your connections and communications, then you risk losing them later on if that company goes out of business.
The highest impact you can have communicating with someone else is face-to-face, not e-mail. Strive to conclude every online communication with a call to meet in person. Also seek out in-person networking opportunities in addition to the virtual ones. (Besides, you can always follow up from a day of traditional in-person networking by inviting your new friends to connect with you online.)