(Originally written by Zeta Yarwood, Career Coach and Life Coach, for Khaleej Times Online http://www.khaleejtimes.com/20160923/8458/no-title)
The invention of the internet has created quite the juxtaposition for job seekers today. The dramatic increase in accessibility to jobs worldwide has also meant an exponential increase in applications to each position advertised. In the 1990s, companies would receive approximately 30 applications per role. Now with social media and online job portals, this is no longer the case. “Depending on the role, we can receive anywhere between 130 and 1000 applications to the positions we advertise online,” says Toby Simpson, Managing Director of The Gulf Recruitment Group in Dubai.
The stiff competition ultimately means job seekers must make use of all the resources and tools at their fingertips to get ahead. And in today’s world, one of the most powerful tools job seekers can use is social media.
Social media is great when it comes to helping job seekers get hired in two ways. Firstly, it can help you to identify job opportunities with your desired employers. Secondly, it can help increase your visibility to potential employers: directly bringing your personal brand and the significant value you can add to their business to their awareness.
Using social media to identify job opportunities
Social media can be a valuable tool in discovering potential job openings. However, to make the best use of it, you need to create a target list of companies first. Identify say 20 companies you would like to work for and start following them on all of their social media sites. LinkedIn, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter etc. Once you have done this, you will be able to use it to find potential job openings in three ways:
1) Direct job advertisements
Companies are under constant pressure to keep costs down. As a result, many are now choosing to promote their vacancies on their Facebook and LinkedIn pages and Twitter feeds, as well as their company websites. By following your target list of companies on social media, you will see their available jobs as soon as they are advertised. The question at this point is – should you apply to the advert? It’s no secret that for every job advertised on LinkedIn, about 1000 applications are received. So is it worth applying? If your CV matches the job description 100% then there is certainly no harm in it. However, it might be best to use these adverts as a source of information first and foremost. Once you know there is an opening, you can focus your energies on finding the right person to send your CV to or connect with. This is particularly true if your CV does not match the job 100% or you are making a career change where chances are your CV will be filtered out of the online selection process completely.
2) Lead identification
Companies will often announce key business updates via social media. New product launches, expansion plans, new branches or manufacturing plants, annual growth figures or strategies, financial news etc. All of which could provide leads to potential job opportunities. For example, a new product launch could mean an increase in required headcount across sales, marketing, supply chain and finance. News of a record year in sales could mean further growth and more job opportunities to come. The announcement of someone leaving could mean a new job opening or a new leader who might want to restructure or build their team. Always read between the lines and see where there could be room for a hiring opportunity.
3) Find of key decision-maker names
LinkedIn and other social media sites (and Google.com!) are a great way to identify the key people in the company who would recognise and appreciate the value you can add to their team. Once you know their names, you can start to think about all the ways you can connect with them and get your profile in front of them (through social media, email, phone, networking etc.). Company social media updates can also often include news of their leaders or department heads being interviewed or quoted in news publications. Or details of new hires. All of which can provide useful names for you to target.
Using social media to increase your visibility to employers
Used effectively, social media is a great tool to get your name and profile in front of potential employers. It’s all about increasing awareness to your personal brand. There are several ways you can do this:
1) Build an online profile and presence
Many companies rely on social media sites to identify and recruit talent from the market. This is particularly true of LinkedIn. If you don’t have a LinkedIn profile, or haven’t put much effort into your profile, you could be missing out on a multitude of opportunities. You can use your LinkedIn profile to market your Unique Value Proposition (UVP). Simply put, your unique combination of skills, experiences, accomplishments, behavioural competencies and attitudes that creates the value you can add to potential employers.
Other ways of building an online presence include creating a personal website or blog where you give details about who you are and what you do. This could even include a video CV!
Also note that companies use social media sites, including Facebook and Twitter, to do background checks. If you want employers to think you are professional, all of your social media sites, including Facebook, must portray that!
2) Write useful, informative and provocative content
People will hire you if they perceive you to be a thought leader or subject matter expert in your field. Writing or promoting interesting articles or discussing industry topics on social media can help you build this perception easily. You can do this by posting or sharing content on your own blog, website, LinkedIn or on the social media sites of your target companies. Or you could be super creative and start a series of videos on YouTube. You can then send your articles or video links to people you want to connect with to start a discussion and get your expertise in front of them. Think outside of the box and explore all the ways you can get your content and profile in view of your target list of companies / connections.
Use social media to connect with other professionals in your industry and become a source of information, advice, help or ideas. Or act as a connector and offer to introduce people to others in your network. Not only will you build your network but you will also increase people’s awareness of you. Join groups on LinkedIn, posting your content as well as commenting on other group discussions. Follow your chosen companies on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn and get involved in discussions about market and industry trends. Use all of the above to increase your visibility to potential employers, demonstrate your expertise and value, and get you the job you want!
How has using social media boosted your career? Please feel free to leave your comments below!
For more information on how to find your dream job, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.zetayarwood.com
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About the Author
Zeta Yarwood is recognised as a leading Career Coach and NLP Life Coach in Dubai, helping individuals across the world to achieve success in all areas of their lives. With a degree in Psychology and over 10 years’ experience in coaching, management and recruitment – working for multinational companies and award-winning recruitment firms – Zeta is an expert in unlocking human potential. Passionate about helping people discover their strengths, talents and motivation, Zeta lives to inspire others to dream big and create the life and career they really want.