As of the First Quarter in 2013, Facebook has 1.11 billion users and is by far the largest social media platform. Since 2004, there has proven to be many advantages for its use, but can job searching be one of them? Absolutely. Although LinkedIn is considered to be the “grown up” at the social media table (due to its professional nature), jobseekers haven’t really considered Facebook to be a viable jobhunt method. But that mentality is shifting. So what does an optimized profile look like on a traditionally non-professional channel? And how can you utilize Facebook in your job search? Here are some quick tips:
1. First, take a good look at your profile. I’d suggest choosing a simple headshot for your profile picture and cleaning up any questionable posts. If your profile needs a thorough scrubbing, step aside some time to reread your feed and hide inappropriate updates or use an app like SimpleWash (aka FaceWash), which will search your updates and likes by keywords. Use the first 140 characters in the “About” section to describe who you are professionally and promote your core abilities. Use targeted, industry-based keywords as a headline that draws positive attention. Of course, you need make sure that your “About” section is visible to the public.
2. “Like” employers, and friend or follow leaders in your industry. Employers use Facebook not only to promote their product or service, but to showcase available positions (with apps like the Careers Tab by SmartRecruiters). Look on their page for an app that says “Careers” or “Now Hiring.” There has also been an increase in recruiters using Facebook to find talent. Get the newsfeeds of companies you want to work for and subscribe to the content of industry leaders you are interested in. You’re more likely to receive information on job openings sooner as well as being current on topics and issues.
3. Use #hashtags. Hashtags? Yes. In case you haven’t heard, Facebook officially jumped on the hashtag bandwagon earlier this month. A hashtag is a hash mark (#) used to identify a keyword or topic of interest to facilitate a search. This is an effective research technique that can open up new resources, users, companies, apps, etc. you may not have otherwise known about. Combining this feature with Facebook’s revamped Graph Search definitely creates a powerful tool. General hashtags can include #jobsearch, #hiring, #careers, #helpwanted, etc. Or use industry-based hashtags as well.
4. Research apps. Go to the Facebook App Center and click “All Apps” from the drop-down. If you search “career”, “jobhunt” or “jobs”, an auto-populated list appears. However, be cautious with apps. Two key things I look for are the number of monthly users and its rating. As with any app, it will request access to parts (or all) of your profile. There are lots of good apps, and 3 of my favorite Facebook jobseeker apps are Glassdoor, BranchOut, & BeKnown.*
Your Facebook profile can either work for you or against you. It can give a positive snapshot of your best skills or be a detriment to your employability. It all depends on your content. Knowing that 1 out of 3 employers reject applicants based on Facebook posts, it’s always good to have a “Think twice, post once” mentality.
David Nicola (@Capt_Careerist) has over 15 years of experience in the Human Services field. He currently serves as the Career Services Director at Laurus College, providing jobsearch information and resources to college students of all ages.