One in six workers last year used social media to land their job.
This is one of the points 2003 UW-Whitewater graduate Chris Eichman made in the social media lecture he presented to students and staff on March 1.
As the current social media coordinator at Rayovac in Madison, Eichman has the background to explain to students how they can use social media to start their careers.
“Companies are looking at social media because that’s where potential employees are and they’re looking to find talent,” Eichman said.
Eichman touched on three areas students looking to enter the professional work force should consider including creating an online identity, creating a LinkedIn account and using Facebook and Twitter to create a professional persona.
Whether it is on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn, the most important part of utilizing social media to get a job is building an online presence and identity, otherwise known as branding. Online brand elements are the way someone acts online, how often someone talks online and the way someone presents themselves.
“You want to have a consistent look from page to page, with a professional picture that is going to get people’s attention,” Eichman said.
One of the most important ways a job hunter can take advantage of social media to land a job is using LinkedIn, the number one professional network online, because that is where most companies are looking for talent.
According to Eichman, 10 million Americans landed their job because of LinkedIn last year. That number is equal to the population of the entire state of Michigan.
Eichman presented a number of tips for making the most of a LinkedIn profile:
1. A professional picture is a must.
“If there is no picture there, people are not going to look at your profile,” Eichman said.
2. Ask for recommendations.Part of how LinkedIn ranks profiles is based on how many recommendations a person has. 20 recommendations is the number to shoot for.
3. The number of connections someone has on the site is an important factor.
Eichman suggests making 150 connections should be a users first goal. He said 150 connections makes it easier to find companies within your area, as well as making it easier for companies to find you. Another way to make it easier for companies to find your profile is to use keywords in job titles and descriptions.
4. Join discussion groups.
“You want to build relationships with people and continue to be engaged with people,” Eichman said. “That is what is going to get people to click on your profile and look at your information.”
Facebook and Twitter
Eichman suggested a number of ways to make you look more professional in the social media world. For Facebook and Twitter users, Eichman suggests the following:
1. Make all content on these sites completely visible to the public.
“Some companies are looking at your page to see not what you’re posting, but how often you’re posting to determine how good of an employee you would be,” Eichman said. “If you are online and engaged and posting more content, you’re likely to be a more productive employee.”
2. Companies look for warning signs and red flags.
Eichman said if an employer cannot find you, that raises red flags because then they’re wondering ‘what is this person hiding?’
3. Once the job is landed, however, it is important to remain active in social media networks.
“The average person has a job for two years,” Eichman said. “So don’t ignore [social media sites] and all the contacts you’ve made once you land the job. You want to stay active.”