Social media play an increasingly important role in searching for a job. How can you use social media to your benefit?

“If and how candidates social media in to get noticed by recruiters, depends very much on their age,” says Thibaud Adès, Managing Director of Michael Page Belux. “There are candidates of 40 or 50 plus who don´t have any social media profile, or are not actively using it. For younger generations of candidates it´s different story. They find it really helpful.”

Here are our top tips to ensure that you use social media to your benefit in your quest for new employment.

1. Pick and choose

There’s a plethora of social networking sites and online forums on which you could have a presence and interact. From a time management and effort point-of-view, it’s probably best to pick a couple on which you’d like to boost your professional profile. Think about which sites recruiters, hiring managers and your peers from your industry use and target those as a priority. The sector and role in which you work will play a part, but in general sites like LinkedIn are more useful than Myspace in getting you noticed for a new role.

2. Complete your profile

If you’re aiming to catch the eye of hiring decision makers, less certainly isn’t more. Present the full picture so that those viewing your profile are able to make informed decisions about your suitability. Include a full, succinct career history and mention any relevant awards and training. Make sure the profile pic that you choose is suitable in a professional context – think, smart headshot, not sipping cocktails on the beach. Most importantly – make sure that the facts you state are true, information in such a public domain is easy to verify.

3. Stand out, online

The attention span online is traditionally fleeting, so make sure you catch the reader’s attention at first glance. Format your profile well using paragraphs, subheads and bullet points where possible. Repeat the job title/s you’re after frequently throughout your profile so that you stand a better chance of being ranked in search engine results. Where possible (and we know this can be tricky if you’re currently employed) make sure that it’s obvious that you’re open to new career opportunities.

4. Demonstrate your knowledge

If you write a blog related to happenings in your market, link this to your profile. Likewise, if your Twitter account will add value, connect it there too. Note, your potential new employer is interested that you keep up-to-date with industry trends, not what you ate for breakfast. If there is the opportunity to get involved in forum debates, do so, bearing in mind that once you say it, it’s out there, so think carefully about the viewpoint you’re sharing.

5. Network, network, network

As is said, getting a job is often about who you know, and if you connect with key players in your industry you’re likely to be closer to your ideal role. Networking isn’t a new phenomenon, but the ability to connect with people online does make the process easier to manage. Do be aware that it shouldn’t replace traditional face-to-face interactions though.

Networking is a mutually beneficial relationship so also think about what you can offer your connections.

6. Public endorsement

Testimonials endorsing your achievements play a big part in painting you as a desirable candidate. Some endorsements hold more weight than others, a glowing reference from a satisfied customer can be perceived as more valuable than the recommendation of a peer you worked with on a project. Limit these testimonials to a select few, an excessive number of public endorsements looks like you’ve been courting favourable feedback rather than it being proactively given to you as a result of a job well done.

Be sure to browse online jobs and apply for roles as well as using social media.

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