When most people hear “social media” alongside “job search” they may not immediately think of Facebook. As far as social networks go, Facebook is often thought of as less formal, and definitely less professional, than a site like LinkedIn. However, a recent survey from the Society for Human Resource Management found that while 94% of employers check out potential employees on LinkedIn, 54% also look at their profiles on Facebook. If you are actively searching for work, you need to take advantage of Facebook and the resources it provides to help make your job hunt a success.
With more than 1.5 billion users, Facebook offers endless networking opportunities. Because it’s more social and not a purely professional site like LinkedIn, it’s a bit easier to “make friends” on Facebook (partly due to the fact that Facebook users don’t receive as many solicitation emails/messages as on LinkedIn). Using your existing network to get in contact with a recruiter or hiring manager via Facebook can make a big difference – a mutual friend or acquaintance willing to vouch for you will immediately make you stand out. You can even take advantage of the search function to find people at the company of your dreams. Simply type “people who work at” followed by the name of the company to uncover potential contacts.
Social media isn’t the place to be shy – if you need help from your network, all you have to do is ask. Use your status updates to mention that you are looking for work and don’t hesitate to send private messages to a select number of friends if you think they may be able (and willing) to assist you. As with networking offline, it’s important to avoid pestering your contacts or being too forward with your requests for recommendations or referrals, but if you are tactful and polite with the way you leverage your network, you will have a very powerful tool at your disposal.
There are a large number of professional interest groups and alumni networks on Facebook that are easy to join. While some are private (invitation only), many of these collectives are open to the public. Once you become a member, you can boost your reputation by launching or contributing to conversations, providing advice to fellow participants, or posting links to industry news/other resources. Once you have established yourself within the group, you’ll see your influence (and personal network) grow. Ultimately, you could find yourself under consideration for job opportunities before they are even made public.
With the rise of social media, almost every large company now has their own Facebook page. By following specific businesses and organizations on Facebook, you can keep up to date on news. Once you’ve clicked “like,” you will receive the latest company posts directly in your news stream. Not only can you be one of the first to find out about new job openings, you can also learn about the work they do, the key members of their team, and their corporate culture. Use this information to your advantage to increase your chances of getting your dream job.
Ads on Facebook are nothing new; they’ve been around for years. But did you know that you can use those same ads to market yourself and help your job search? It may seem like an “out of the box” idea, but many job seekers have used this strategy, and it’s incredibly easy to execute. Facebook enables users to write a short ad and include picture as well as a link to their own URL (your personal website or online portfolio, for instance). Once you’ve created your ad, you can select specific demographics to target and determine your maximum daily budget (minimum of $1). These are pay-per-click ads, so the more carefully you identify your target demographic the better your return on investment will be.
Most savvy job seekers understand that looking for work while still employed requires caution when it comes to social media. However, even if you don’t have to worry about your boss discovering that you’re eyeing greener pastures, you should still adjust your Facebook privacy settings to control who can view what’s on your profile/timeline and ensure that you maintain a completely professional appearance. A recent Jobvite survey found that 55% of recruiters reconsidered a candidate based on something they found on social media. Don’t let a silly comment or post cost you your dream job.