Standing out as a top candidate can be difficult when your resume is one of several thousand being submitted online to the same job post. Fortunately, it isn't impossible. In fact, job seekers have the very tools they need right at their fingertips. It's all about social media.
To stay one step ahead of the competition, use these tips to ramp up your social media presence and secure the job of your dreams:
1. Use Keywords
LinkedIn is widely considered the most job-oriented social media site, and job seekers would do well to make the most of it. Each LinkedIn profile comes with a biography section job seekers can use to differentiate themselves beyond the typical lists of work experience, volunteer positions, and educational history.
When writing your LinkedIn bio, be sure to emphasize your skills and job interests by using the keywords a recruiter might use in their search for talent. You can identify such keywords by looking at which terms are most prevalent in the job descriptions of positions in which you are interested. Simply integrating these keywords into your LinkedIn profile makes you more likely to appear in recruiters' searches.
2. Join Industry Groups and Actively Participate in Discussions
Contributing to industry-focused discussions, whether on LinkedIn or Facebook, raises your profile as someone who is dedicated to their industry. The more your name comes up, the more credibility you establish. Don't be afraid to market your knowledge, because sharing relevant content makes you much more likely to be contacted by a recruiter.
3. Keep It Professional
More than 84 percent of the HR professionals polled in a 2015 SHRM survey said they used social media to recruit job candidates, and another 9 percent said they were planning to do so. Given stats like these – and the fact that 43 percent of companies also said they used social media to screen candidates – it is important that you establish a professional picture of yourself on social media. Limiting the number of inappropriate comments and photos online should be commonsense for a job seeker.
Thirty-six percent of the survey respondents reported they had passed over applicants in the past based on content on the applicants' social media profiles. Recruiters want to know more about job candidates as people, and they will search your profiles for inappropriate pictures, discriminatory comments, and evidence that could indicate your work performance. Critically review your social media posts, and don't let questionable content prevent you from landing your dream job.
4. Use Twitter as a Job Board
Twitter is no longer just a digital stream of consciousness. More and more recruiters are using the site to advertise new positions. You can find openings easily by searching the site for certain job titles, keywords, and hashtags connected to the job functions that interest you.
You can also use Twitter to engage with potential employers over time by tagging, retweeting, and replying to their tweets. Be sure to update your Twitter bio to indicate when you're open to new opportunities.
5. Show Creativity and Technological Proficiency
As a job candidate, you must take every opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge and skills. Showing a potential employer that you have achieved results in the past could be the deciding factor in winning the job of your dreams.
Try something creative, like making a visual or interactive resume. Write a blog post demonstrating your authority on issues important to your industry. Consider embedding in the blog post tweetable links, or sharing your content on a variety of platforms to emphasize your subject matter expertise as well as your technology and social media skills. Be imaginative and find new ways to highlight your specific skill set to impress potential employers.
Cindy Keaveney is chief people officer of Randstad Sourceright.