Use social networks right for job hunts

Human resource practitioners offer tips for jobseekers to better their chances when using social networking sites to secure employment.
Written by Sol E. Solomon, Contributor

Jobseekers are increasingly tapping on social networks to secure employment, but according to recruiters, candidates need to work these platforms right in order to land their desired job.

In e-mail interviews with ZDNet Asia, human resource experts offer tips on using various social media to boost employment chances.

Explore openings
Mike Game, CEO for Asia at Hudson, said candidates should follow the Facebook pages of employers and recruiters that they are targeting. This allows them access to updates about current job openings and the latest happenings at these companies.

Ways to get noticed

Mike Game, CEO for Asia at Hudson, offers tips to help candidates stand out on social media sites.
For both Twitter and LinkedIn
  • Jobseekers should tell their network the type of job they are seeking
  • Include keywords and skills in their professional summary
  • Include a professional photo

On Twitter
  • Jobseekers should have their full name as their username as this is more professional and makes it easier to find the person
  • Use their bio to list relevant skills and the desired position description
  • Tweet with quality, not quantity--it's not the number of entries that matter, but how appropriate and engaging each tweet is
  • Engage network through two-way conversation

On LinkedIn
  • Candidates should present a complete profile
  • Provide status updates that thoughtfully showcase their expertise in their industries
  • Secure professional recommendations that are relevant to the industry
  • Update their professional headline to entice prospective employers with savvy industry insight
  • Be active on LinkedIn groups

Search on yourself
According to Game, jobseekers should not "jump into social media interactions without 'googling' yourself first".

Searching online for information about oneself helps a candidate ensure two things--that he or she has an online identity and, it does not contain things that would hurt the person's employment chances, he explained.

Game said: "This doesn't mean [cleaning] out your Facebook account. People do want to understand your outside interests. You just need to suppress anything you wouldn't want an employer to see."

Choose the right sites
Mark Melo, a consultant at Robert Walters Singapore's IT&T recruitment division, pointed out that candidates should not use just any networking Web site. "They must make sure they are comfortable with the Web source and that it is a reliable site."

Annie Lim, senior consultant at Robert Walters Singapore's IT specialist recruitment division, added that jobseekers should select the social networks with more professional relevance to them instead of advertising their availability on every platform, as this can be construed as desperate or unprofessional.

Melo added: "Don't focus on volume--a targeted approach will yield better results."

Be informative, but mind what you say
Hudson's Game advised IT professionals seeking jobs to make sure they fully complete their LinkedIn profile. "This is the first place recruiters will go to review your background when interacting with you via social media. Once that is completed, build out your Twitter profile and manage your Facebook identity wisely," he added.

Robert Walters' Lim added that candidates ought to use the various social networking sites to promote their skills, strengths and the projects they have completed. This way, they can reach "the widest and most diverse audience" of networking contacts and potential employers.

However, she warned jobseekers to be cautious when revealing personal information while posting their profile publicly online on Web sites, job portals and networking sites. Information such as reference contacts and addresses could be misused in the wrong hands, said Lim.

Get to know the hirer
Hudson's Game suggested that ahead of an interview, IT professionals should use LinkedIn to research the profiles of any hiring manager or recruiter with whom they will come into contact.

"It helps to have as much professional background on the people you are meeting with, to build rapport and discover any common connections," he explained.

Jobseekers, added Games, should also search for, and follow people from their target employers on Twitter to get a sense for the company's culture and the types of projects their employees are working on.

Don't forgo tradition
Jobseekers should not ignore traditional online job boards in favor of social media, Games added. "Most employers and recruiters still rely heavily on job postings and candidate applications as their source of employees."

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