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Social media can be an entertaining pastime, but it can also help you land a job. Here's the scoop on how to connect with the right employers by utilizing five social media sites to their full job-seeking potential.
There's more to Instagram than photos of adorable dogs and delectable meals. If you work in a visual field such as hairdressing, baking, home renovations, marketing or design, including profession-related content on Instagram could land you a fantastic employment opportunity.
Case in point: Clark Walker, a barber in New York City, used his Instagram feed to post snapshots of his haircuts. To expand his audience, Walker used hashtags such as #barber and #pompadour, propelling his portfolio into the feeds of hairstylists who regularly use the site. People began to notice, and soon Walker was trading photo comments with fellow barbers. One year and many "likes" later, Walker's efforts landed him a job at a trendy barbershop.
Follow Walker's lead by adding hashtags (#) to your job- or skill-related photos so that people in your field can easily view your work. Follow relevant accounts to keep abreast of what's hot and happening, and engage with fellow users in your field. You never know -- they might be hiring!
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TED: The think-tank posts inspiring quotes and the latest news in science, technology, entertainment and global issues, making it a great site for staying current on worldwide trends. It also links to useful TED talks and video clips, such as a helpful presentation on body language and communication -- a topic that's beneficial to all job seekers.
Twitter punches above its weight when it comes to engaging with movers and shakers within the work world. The casual, unrestricted feel of Twitter allows you to follow, contact and build relationships with companies, recruiters and individuals who work for your dream employer. Best of all, you don't have to wait for an introduction.
Be sure to include relevant hashtags when tweeting and responding to discussions to deliver your remarks to your intended audience. Targeted tweeting could result in employment -- it did for Bryan Donaldson, an IT expert in the U.S. He nabbed an enviable writing job on Late Night With Seth Meyers when the show's head writer spotted his hilarious tweets.
Twitter is also populated with a plentitude of job boards. In the search field, type in your occupation (for example, media jobs) and location, and you'll discover Twitter feeds that regularly post openings. Follow these users, and pertinent jobs will flow into your Twitter feed.
On Twitter follow...
With 277 million members, LinkedIn is a gold mine of employment possibilities, but many users fail to use the site to its full potential. Don't just wait for recruiters to find you. Be proactive. Contact former and current employers and coworkers for recommendations -- recruiters love to see references.
Take advantage of LinkedIn's excellent search function to discover a multitude of jobs, companies and connections. Join LinkedIn groups, post status updates and interact with individuals in your field to get noticed.
Engagement is key. How many times have you heard of friends getting jobs because they knew someone? Here's where LinkedIn can help with relationship building. Reply to people you've connected with and always include a personalized message when sending LinkedIn requests. A little extra effort and you'll stand out from the crowd.
LinkedIn is free to join, but you can upgrade to a premium account for a yearly fee. Perks include the ability to send networking emails directly to LinkedIn members (even if you don't have a connection), access to more extensive searches and introductions to company sources.
According to Forbes.com, Facebook boasts 1.23 billion users -- that's five times as many users as LinkedIn. With a few tricks, you can make your Facebook page stand out on the professional stage.
The first step is to ensure that you've filled out your profile's "about" section. Click on the "edit" button and add your job titles and university/college accomplishments to the "work and education" field. Next, scroll down to the "professional skills." Here's where you should include your unique talents to attract headhunters. Did you save your department money on a major project? Were you named sales person for the quarter? Highlight these achievements for optimum visibility.
Forbes.com reports that 65 percent of recruiters search Facebook for job candidates, so your privacy settings should be set to "public" to unlock your profile details.
Some companies post job vacancies on their timelines, so liking their pages and commenting on their posts are great ways to find potential job opportunities.
You've probably used Pinterest for wedding and wardrobe tips. Now it's time to use this visual smorgasbord to pin down your dream job. Showcase your skills and work experience by creating a job-related Pinterest board.
Need inspiration? Check out the elaborate "living résumé" of Rachael G. King, the national social media manager for Sidecar Agency in San Francisco. Rachael posts her most recent résumé on Pinterest, along with multiple pins and boards that shine a light on her work portfolio and skills.
An old-fashioned paper résumé might land on the desk of 10 to 30 HR managers, but a Pinterest account like Rachael's could be seen by many of Pinterest's more than six million users.
If you don't want to go as far as Rachael, you can still use Pinterest to maximize your visibility. Companies watch for pinners who "like," re-pin and comment on their content, so if your dream employer is active on Pinterest, be sure to engage with the company regularly.
You can also revitalize the look of your résumé and business cards by pulling inspiration from the many examples that are pinned on the site. Search by "résumé" or "business cards," and Pinterest will display the most recent pins.
Next up, learn about the most common social media faux pas that could damage your career.