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Social media is the new recruitment agency

Forget jobsites and recruitment agencies, in business today hiring happens through the power of social media.
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Whether you are actively looking for a job or are just open to an offer that you can’t refuse, forget Monster, Career Builder and all the other job sites. Posting your resume and looking for jobs on career sites doesn’t work so well anymore for two reasons, according to Catherine Kaputa’s 2012 article.

First, the perception has always been that the best candidates don’t put their resumes online and have to be “discovered” by recruiters. Secondly, in the new digital world, recruiters now have a tremendous tool at their disposal to find the best candidates: social media.

Today, you need to master the social job hunt and understand the new world of social recruiting and the tools that are transforming how companies find candidates.

According to Bloomberg Business Week, since 2011, Adobe has used LinkedIn to find more than half of its new hires and used traditional job sites only for five per cent of its hires. Social media startups, such as Talent Bin are offering tools that recruiters can use to find candidates by trawling Twitter, Google and other social sites to find the right people for specific jobs.

So how can you get noticed and create demand for “Brand You” in this new world of social recruiting? 

Here are five tips on how to use social media.

Tell your career story flawlessly in a captivating narrative

Your online profile on each social media site you join is an opportunity to tell your career story in a compelling, focused narrative. Begin with a strong thematic opening paragraph that imparts your brand identity – the distinct relevant value you bring to a professional situation.

Your narrative theme should tie all the pieces of your career journey together in a coherent whole and set up the ideal next move for you. Weave in key accomplishments, credentials and turning points. Ditch (or downplay) aspects of your career that take people in the wrong direction unless you can make them into part of your story’s theme, such as disastrous career move leads to rare business contact and successful, new career trajectory.

Needless to say, your profile needs to be flawless with no typos. About 40 percent of resumes are riddled with misspellings and grammatical errors, so have two friends check it before you release it to the public. Bottom line, take the time to craft a compelling career narrative with an evolving professional narrative of accomplishments and challenges.

Think holistically about your online brand

Recruiters are interested in more than your career profile. They are interested in how you live and think, and social media can provide a lot of detail – good or bad. Over sixty percent of companies use Facebook to find job candidates using the site’s friend-finding search function and over fifty percent use Twitter learn about candidates according to a 2012 survey of 1,000 HR professionals done by Jobvite. So if you are prone to online rants or posting party pictures with your drinking buddies, you may want to keep those details of your life offline if you don’t want to sabotage your career aspirations.

Leverage the power of friendship

Marketers have always known that the best way to sell something is to get other people to do it for you. The selling power of friendship is something that denizens of digiworld use every minute on Facebook and other sites just by clicking the “Like” or “Retweet” buttons. You tap into the power of friendship when you get other people to recommend you on LinkedIn or other social sites.

Now, new social startups let you leverage your social networks even more effectively online. A new social media startup, BranchOut has an app that let’s people search for jobs using their Facebook friends and their friend’s contacts. Even conventional online job boards are jumping on the bandwagon. Monster launched BeKnown to help job seekers find jobs through their Facebook connections, and Career Builder has a Facebook referral app, Work@.

Write with search engines and recruiters in mind

Remember, in the digital world, you always have to write with two masters in mind: search engines and people. You have to appeal to search engines that analyse words on web pages and you have to appeal to people, in this case recruiters, who type in relevant words for the particular type of candidate they are looking for.

So you need to think in terms of what words people might use in a job search that your are interested in and make sure that you use those words in your profile and in other content on social media sites. Use your keywords in the content of your own blog, website and metadata as well. It’s also important to add new keywords and content on your social media sites as you expand your skill set or have new accomplishments.

Pay attention to the new buzzwords in your industry and make sure they are represented in your content. If you can’t credibly claim the keyword as a strength, attend a conference or take an online course on the subject so that you can claim it.

Ace the online picture

It may not be fair. It may be superficial. Why should we be judged on our looks? But if you’ve ever marketed yourself on Match.com, you know how important having a flattering picture is to dating success. Likewise, your picture is important in building your brand online and in attracting job suitors, the corporate recruiters and independent recruiters you want to woo.

Studies show there is a “beauty premium” in the job market, so get a good quality picture that let’s your personality and brilliance shine through. Your picture will be examined more than you realise. A LinkedIn study showed that a page with a profile picture is seven times more likely to be viewed than a page without one. Make sure that you look the part for your industry and career. Don’t think this means a dull, serious corporate shot. It shouldn’t be expressionless. The best pictures have a natural feel and project warmth and openness, always good traits to project if you want to attract others.

So if you’re determined to spruce up your job prospects in the coming year, build up your social media skills, and see how many recruiters come your way.

Catherine Kaputa is a brand strategist, speaker and author of ‘Breakthrough Branding: How Smart Entrepreneurs and Intrapreneurs Transform a Small Idea Into a Big Brand’ and ‘You Are a Brand! How Smart People Brand Themselves for Business Success’. She is the founder of SelfBrand.

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