get ahead career

It’s Time You Gamed Social Media to Get Ahead

If you want more money, better working conditions or a new challenge, you’d better get serious about your gaming of social media.

It’s where job opportunities appear out of the ether, background checks are chalked off at a glance and serious career offers are considered by heavyweights in your field, often all without you having an inkling as to what’s going on.

But if you’re not presenting yourself as a pawn on the professional table, you’re out of the game.

Thankfully, today is the day that you build a profile that nails your next career move, armed with insights from the latest recruitment industry research.

Where to Set Up

New research from HR and recruitment outfit Randstad has found that one in three Australian job seekers are tapping into social media to find work. And indicative of the requirement for a well-rounded approach that goes further than LinkedIn, more of that group are turning to Facebook (61 per cent) than LinkedIn (45 per cent) to find their next break.

Across the other most prevalent social platforms, 32 per cent are using Google+, 15 per cent Twitter and 11 per cent Instagram to find their next job.

“While people use a range of methods to find and apply for work, the most successful way to secure the job you want is to use your personal networks,” Randstad’s CEO Frank Ribuot – a man with over 20 years in the recruitment industry – says of the modern day job hunt.

“Although today many would expect LinkedIn to be the preferred network when applying for a job, it seems Facebook might be the sleeping giant of recruitment, and it will be interesting to see how the platform develops over time, as more people utilise the network to do their ‘research’ on potential employers and talent and to search and apply for jobs.”

As with any two-way marketplace, buyers come to where the most sellers are, and sellers to where the most buyers are. This means you need to cover your bases and set up professional profiles on at least two of the three big ones: LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+.

When it comes to what to include, a good start is to peruse the profiles of key influencers in your industry and mimic the layout and career inclusions of their profiles. And if you prefer to maintain only a personal page on any of these platforms instead, tighten up your privacy settings and try to keep it clean.

How to Play the Game

Establishing a professional profile in key social meat markets is the first big step. But your presence will only be effective in attracting potential employers and job offers if you leverage it correctly.

That starts with doing your research to identify the companies and individuals you want to work with and, as Ribuot explains, social is the perfect place to do this research.

“There is so much information to be gleaned about an organisation and its culture by looking at how they engage with the public online, and there are clear benefits for both job seekers and employers that maximise the use of social media and professional networks.”

Ribuot points out that employee referral programs are still a key part of organisations’ recruitment strategies, so it pays to follow or connect with the employees of prospective companies, not just the top dogs.

By searching for the people likely to make hiring decisions at companies you want to work, you’ll see how you’re connected and can request introductions through your network, leveraging the implied trust that comes with that.

It’s also worth working on a more indirect approach to building your profile and personal brand awareness.

Just like letting your Instagram followers know what you had for breakfast, update your profiles to share anything you publish, industry events you’re going to and anything else that might buy you some street cred with your professional connections.

Why Make the Effort?

Taking the time to set up and establish yourself in professional social circles obviously has the potential to provide you with your next job or business opportunity; that’s the main motivation for the majority of people.

But even if you’re content at your current employer and still have some progress to make there, it’s still an incredibly worthwhile exercise. It means you’ll be well placed when the time comes to move on and, if done well, will garner you job offers in the interim that can be used to bargain your way up the salary stakes at your current job.

So regardless of your current career station or appetite to switch jobs, setting up on social and spreading your personal brand should be near the top of your to do list.

At some stage, everyone wants more money, better working conditions or a new challenge.

Image: JasonBrown2013, via Flickr