Taking Social Media Recruitment to the Next Level

instagram and vine

For years we’ve been hearing about utilizing social media for recruitment. Over time, this developed beyond sites like LinkedIn and has now spilled over to Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Open Source. But are you still missing out on available talent?

With more candidates finding ways to creatively share their personal brands, it might be wise to start tapping into other social media sites like Instagram and Vine. Not sure where to start? Check out a blog I wrote on SourceCon last month.

“Let’s Get Visual: Attracting and Sourcing Candidates Using Instagram and Vine.” Click here to read the original blog post on SourceCon.

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Stop Being a Social Media News Feed

Recently, a friend and I were discussing some tactics to use for networking and job hunting on social media. She had informed me that she had reposted/retweeted other people’s posts and links but still was not having much luck trying to grab their attention. Although that method could potentially generate some networking and job leads, that is simply not enough. By only doing this, you are simply contributing to a news feed but no one really will know who you are or determine what you’re looking for. In order to build relationships, you need to be more interactive.

Many people have the intention to do this but don’t know where to start. Engaging in conversation with connections or strangers really isn’t as hard or terrifying as some might believe it to be. Here are some ways you can humanize your social media brand rather than act as a news feed:

  • Go beyond reposts/retweets and actually respond: nothing is wrong with reposting or retweeting someone’s update or link but you need to take the extra step and respond to their post. Even if it’s something as simple as a one-liner or follow up question, this can help start a conversation either with the poster or others viewing it.
  • Consider thought leadership: creating a well-constructed, thought provoking question is always a great way to promote thought leadership among your social media community. Research hot topics in the industry you’re interested in and post something on your networks to get people talking.
  • Discussions/Chats: Twitter chats and Linkedin discussions are always a great way to easily converse with other people, with no pressure! These discussion groups and chats usually focus on a specific topic (so be sure to join in on one relevant to what you’re targeting). It will allow you to gain contacts, discover resources, learn, and build relationships.
  • Simply reach out: you don’t always need to wait for an excuse to communicate with people- just simply reach out to them. Say hello to them, ask them about their background/work, or start with small talk. After all, these things work in person so they should also work virtually.

I’m so glad that I started utilizing these options. Since doing so, I’ve engaged in so many inspiring conversations. I was surprised to see how responsive people were and how open they were to talking. Many of my contacts have developed online and have moved on to phone or face to face relationships. I’ve gained so much from humanizing my social media feeds and have met some really smart and supportive people. They have helped me find work, build partnerships, learn, and expose me to new things. Try these things out and see how much you can gain.

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What Your Online Presence Can Do for Your Job Hunt

When I thought about the ideal job hunt, I always had believed that to be the most professional and proactive hunter, it was best to update your resume often and simply upload them to career websites. In addition to this, I was led to believe that the best way to get my resume in front of a recruiter was to apply to jobs online through job boards and applicant tracking systems. After all, these systems were put in place to help our resume be re-routed to the appropriate person, right? That used to work just fine until everyone else started to resort to this option. Now I realize that job seekers need to do something more to really set themselves apart. Over the course of the last few months, it became apparent that creating a personal brand via online can really help you during your job hunt.

I always assumed that doing anything online or on social media was typically considered something personal. I also heard the stories about how companies Google candidates to find these sites to do a quick “background” check before considering them for an interview. When I was in college, many teachers and guidance counselors told us to keep our online presence private or to delete anything that can potentially cause us to lose a job. With all these warnings, I never felt that having an online presence would help me land the job that I wanted. But after months of searching and being unsuccessful, I decided to give it a try.

To play it safe, I decided to keep my personal social media accounts private but then decided to create separate accounts strictly for business and maintaining a professional appearance. Of course, I decided to focus on LinkedIn first because that site is all about networking business professionals. It didn’t really pick up steam, though, until I invested more time into it. Putting up a profile with your experience isn’t enough to catch the attention of recruiters. You really need to participate. Here are some things I did on LinkedIn that helped me get more job interviews:

  • Update profile content and headline. Use keywords relevant to what you’re searching for so recruiters can find you easier.
  • Join groups. Joining groups are great but you must make sure you take time to participate in order to really allow yourself to get exposure. Comment on members’ discussion posts in a way that can show you are knowledgeable about a subject. Even post your own discussion questions on there to welcome interaction.
  • Keep the conversation flowing. In order to network effectively and build relationships, you must invest in time to keep the conversation going. If you comment on something or post a discussion question, make sure you respond to those who are also commenting. This flow of communication can help people get to know you better and open up an opportunity to connect.
  • Post interesting articles. Spark up some further conversation by posting online articles, publications, blogs, etc. This could grasp people’s attention and also display the fact that you keep up with industry trends.
  • Get personal. If you plan on sending a message or an invite, be sure to add something personal in the message. If you’re adding a recruiter, you could even mention that you’ve applied to a specific position at their company and wanted to talk more about it. This could help them pull your resume from the pile of hundreds they get regularly.

After I got LinkedIn up and running, I decided to take it a step further and see what Twitter had to offer. I used to use Twitter sporadically since 2009 and never really thought it could be useful for anything more than personal use. I was SO wrong. After using Twitter in a professional capacity, I ended up receiving more job offers, interviews, and assistance to find a job than I ever did when I used to just apply to online job boards. I couldn’t believe it. Here are some ways I effectively used Twitter during my job hunt:

  • Add people that are relevant to the industry you’re trying to get a job in.
  • Add recruiters that work at the companies you are interested in working at.
  • Write thoughtful responses to their tweets to help open up communication.
  • Tweet links to relevant online articles, publications, blogs, etc.
  • And most IMPORTANTLY, join Twitter chats(this was the easiest way I was able to get interviews.) Twitter chats are amazing. It opens up real-time communication and could help you get exposure to the right people. Some TweetChats I’ve joined that were really great for my job hunt were:
    • #JobHuntChat – Mondays @ 10PM EST
    • #TalentNet – Tuesdays @ 7PM EST
    • #TChat – Wednesday  @ 7PM EST
    • #GenYChat- Wednesday @ 9PM EST
    • #HFChat – Friday @ 12PM EST

These chats are either geared towards connecting job seekers with recruiters or the chats are HR related which means you can easily connect with HR and recruiters. Of course, these are just a few chats of the many that are out there. I would suggest researching chats that are relevant to the industry or job type you are looking for.

After a while, I really started to enjoy the results I was getting from this and decided to take it even another step further. I created a blog that was relevant to the industry I was targeting (Human Resources) and started to write on a regular basis to help extend my online presence even more. I promoted it via LinkedIn and Twitter. This blog has helped recruiters to see my competency, knowledge, and even get to know a little more about me. They were able to see how I could fit in with their company. If you are able to do something virtually that is relevant to the industry you want to work in, give it a try. It could really help you stand out even more and add something extra to your candidate profile.

Having an online presence can really help you if you do it right. Keep it professional but also keep it YOU. Your online presence can help hiring managers, recruiters, and companies really get an idea of who you are and what you could potentially do for them. I was happy to see that investing time in this has paid off. After committing time to this, I was able to get job interviews, internship offers, and guest blog post offers. I felt that I made more progress doing it this way than the months I spent just dedicating time to job boards and online applications. Give it a try, it could make a huge difference.

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A New Twist on Resumes

Job seekers, are you tired of getting no response to your resume submittal? Recruiters, are you sick of looking at the same resume styles over and over again? Having been in both situations, I can honestly say I am. It’s been quite a dull experience creating my resume or having to review resumes of others. After a while, all resumes seem to blend together and it becomes hard for candidates stand out and differentiate themselves from others. Over the years, it has been beaten into our brains that a professional resume needs to follow a certain format. However, does this still hold true today?

Throughout my research, I have noticed that employers are starting to appreciate people who take a creative approach to their resumes. Candidates are finding ways to customize their resumes to show their industry and job function competency. For example, my friend who is pursuing production in the motion picture industry recently showed me his resume. It was a fun, artistic page that looked like a movie ad. It included his information, education, and links to the projects he had done. In my recruiting days, I had never seen a resume like that. It was actually quite enjoyable.

As I investigated this topic further, I came across the following cases: marketing candidates who created their resume as a brochure; broadcasting candidates who made videos or recordings of “radio hosting” as their resume; and creative writing majors who made their resume into a short story. I found these methods to be imaginative, entertaining, and a good way to display their capabilities. I would have much rather reviewed these resumes than the mundane “chronological” format.

A new extension of people’s “resumes” will be the social media aspect. Recruiters can now review candidates’ “web presence” via social sites like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. Candidates: here is another way you can make yourself shine. Make sure your profiles clearly display your experience and education for the job/industry you’re targeting. Post things that are relevant and display your up-to-date knowledge of an industry’s news. However, please note: if you make your profile pages public to employers, make sure you don’t have anything incriminating on there (i.e. embarrassing party photos, unprofessional e-mail addresses, or taboo “interests and activities”). I’m all about individualism but there has to a certain line you shouldn’t cross, especially while actively finding work.

Job Seekers, I’m in the same boat so I know how tiring it can be to keep fighting for opportunity and not find it. I urge you to take a chance and let your personality show. Find a new way to demonstrate who you are and what you can do. For example, I’m interested and experienced in human resources, technology, and writing. Those are the three industries I’m targeting but it was becoming apparent to me that I had to do something more than submit a resume via job postings…so, I did. In fact, you’re reading the version of my resume. This blog was meant to inspire, open minds, and have people consider different perspectives. I also created this to help motivate people stuck in a rut and hopefully give them ideas on a new tactic. However, this is also my personal resume. This blog will display the following to employers:

• My competency in: writing and blogging; human resources; and social media use.
• I’m up-to-date with human resources and technology trends and news.
• I understand information relevant to the industry well enough to create my own ideas from it.

I think what’s most important about creating your own resume is the fact that you can show employers more of who you are. The original formatted resume shows employers that we can do specific job functions but it doesn’t prove that we truly understand it on a deeper level. It doesn’t illustrate our passion. Sure, my resume might say I have successfully performed data entry but does that mean I want to spend 40 hours a week entering data? Additionally, we’ve created our original resumes to have specific keywords and terms that employers were looking for. If we all conform to what we think employers want to see on our resumes, it’s no wonder why our resumes blend in.

Some employers will appreciate your method and some may not. But that’s the point- finding an employer that appreciates you and vice versa. It’s time to test the waters and take that extra step to stand out against the competition. Most importantly, make sure you have fun while you’re doing it!

Links to read (I apologize, hyperlink function does not work!):
No More Resumes, Say Some Firms- WSJ: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203750404577173031991814896.html

Companies mentioned:
http://www.linkedin.com
http://www.facebook.com
http://www.twitter.com