Hire me: 5 ideas to land a job using social media in 2014

Hire me: 5 ideas to land a job using social media in 2014

A new year is often when people start looking for new employment and trawl through recruitment sites or surreptitiously call a headhunter. But, job hunting, especially in public relations, is increasingly competitive.

The definitive job hunters’ guide, What Color is Your Parachute?, claims the three traditional approaches of résumés, agencies and ads are no longer dependable and new approaches are needed. The good news for PR practitioners is that they should already be well-equipped to adapt to the emerging talent terrain, especially when it comes to using social media. 

Here are 5 ideas for using digital technology and social media to secure a new job in 2014:

1. Think long-term. Put a plan together that looks ahead to your next few moves. Where do you want to be in 2-3 years and what steps do you need to take to get there? Review your social media accounts and ensure it supports your objective. Connect with those already in your chosen field and start to build your presence as a respected, experienced and successful PR practitioner with something to offer. Talent is the keyword for recruiters and people who have a strong reputation and personal brand will be top of their list when opportunities arise.

2. Create a professional profile. Apply brand consistency to the style and content of your online presence. Look at the bio line you choose on Twitter, your career background details on LinkedIn, the About page on a blog and the contents of your résumé. Do they reflect a coherent and memorable professional profile? What does any personal information you share say to others? What do your chosen avatar image and other design aspects convey? Ask a trusted contact to give you honest insight into how you are currently–and how you should be–presenting yourself online.

3. Chose the right social media channels. It can be tempting to be everywhere online on the principle that you will be found wherever anyone looks. But it can soon become a full-time job keeping everything up-to-date. Think about the way that people use individual social media channels and reflect that in your own approach. Focus on where you can have greatest impact and engage with those who are most likely to be a valued addition to your career development network. 

4. Apply lessons of crisis management. Ideally, you should establish a credible social media profile before you need to make that next move. But if you are faced with an urgent need for employment, focus on the doing the things online that will give you the greatest results. Act quickly and professionally in seeking help from your network. Ensure you have accurate and updated information online. If you are new to social media, concentrate on one area like ensuring you have a filled-out LinkedIn profile or using Muck Rack, where you can establish credibility and showcase your talent and previous work. 

5. Be memorable–for the right reasons. The definition of reputation as ‘what people say about you when you’re not around’ is useful when job hunting. What do others say about you? Have you nurtured a community of fellow practitioners who will accurately advocate for you online? Use your social media presence to enhance your reputation by offering something original and even unique. It doesn’t need to be complex or time-consuming but demonstrate your ability to be creative, useful to others or an informed source, for example.

One final thought is how easy it is today to spot when someone is looking for new employment. Be aware that suddenly becoming over-active in social media may be a telling signal. If you are trying to be discreet and are not formally advertising the fact that you are job hunting, then remember the importance of using social media as part of your regular career development. 

Do you have other tips for using social media to land a job in the communications field this year? Share with us in the comments below.

Heather Yaxley is a UK-based, hybrid academic-educator-consultant-practitioner with over 20 years’ public relations experience. She is researching a PhD in career strategies in public relations and is co-author of The Public Relations Strategic Toolkit. Heather can be found through Twitter and other social media as @Greenbanana and is co-editor of the respected global blog, PR Conversations.

Photo: New job sign via Shutterstock

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