Let me ask you something. Did you know that 80% of jobs are filled through networking? From the Director to C-Suite level, the vast majority of jobs are never advertised.
Instead, those positions are filled through word of mouth. Hiring managers rely on an informal network of colleagues, coworkers, and other contacts to find the most suitable applicants. It’s just not a few either. 70% of job opportunities are never listed.
Those informal networks are still in place but these days hiring managers also rely on social media, especially professional sites liked LinkedIn. It gives them a peek into your world. Do you share content? What’s your education and background? How do you present yourself and engage with people?
Whether you’re a busy executive who wants to get strategic or actively seeking a new opportunity, how you use social media could make or break whether or not you find your dream job. As a previous recruitment strategist for Fortune 100 companies, I can tell you that it’s an underrated part of the process that can give you an edge.
Finding a new position through social media requires more than posting about your career ambitions. In fact, the public approach can often backfire on social media, especially for executives trying to keep their career change efforts somewhat secret.
Here’s how professional women can use social media to aid their job search, not hinder it.
Get hiring managers to seek you out first
Making power moves isn’t all about rolling up your sleeves and applying to as many jobs as possible. You can work smarter, not harder. How? By getting hiring managers to come to you. Professional sites like LinkedIn are perfect for this purpose, and you can start by posting and sharing relevant articles and information.
As an executive or other professional, you probably read your share of professional journals and industry-specific blogs. The next time you come across a particularly well-written article, take a few minutes to share it on the social media platforms where you are active. Sharing the story with a relevant comment or gentle correction can increase the impact even further, setting you up as an expert in your field.
Optimize your profile for keywords and phrases that recruiters would search for on social networks. Use a keyword research tool like KWFinder to speed up the process. Make your social profiles as powerful as possible too. This means including a professional headshot, extensive work history, education, and results you’ve generated for employers.
Strategically reach out to the right decision makers
If you do what everybody else does, you’ll be just like them. What do most candidates do? They send out resumes to positions and wait patiently, often to hear crickets. Professional women that want to make power moves in their careers need to take success by the horns.
If you’re actively seeking a new executive position, you can go further, passing on the stories you find compelling to the people you are targeting. However, don’t share them with just anyone. Share them with decision makers in the company you want to work for. I’m talking about hiring managers, recruiters, and even C-suite executives in some cases.
You can take advantage of tools like LinkedIn Sales Navigator to narrow down exact individuals in dream companies.
Once you have done your research and identified the most promising companies and their associated hiring managers, you can reach out with interesting articles, newfound information, and anything else you find compelling. You will add value and stand out among every other candidate.
Of course, the best time to begin is before you kick-off a search. Even if you love your current role and have no desire to leave, sharing effectively on LinkedIn and other social media sites can help you build a better network, and that could pay off big in the long run (or when you’re the one hiring!).
Network, network, network!
Just because conferences, network evenings, and face to face meetings aren’t happening in some places due to the pandemic, doesn’t mean you can’t network. Don’t use that as an excuse. You have the power of LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram at your fingertips. 46% of candidates find new jobs through networking.
Whether you move on to a new company in the future or move up the corporate ladder with your current employer, the contacts you make online and the stories you share will showcase your expertise, sharpen your research skills, and help you in the future.
You can even set up a sharing community among your colleagues, coworkers and friends. Just set up alerts for the subjects you are interested in, then share the stories you find with the circle you have established. Given the viral nature of social media, that initial circle will expand outward, ultimately encompassing dozens, then hundreds, then thousands of fellow professionals.
Connect with every new person that likes, shares, or engages with you. Send them a personalized message, observation, or compliment. Join like-minded communities through Facebook and LinkedIn groups.
Final thoughts on using social media to aid your job search
It is easy to dismiss social media as shallow and ineffective. The constant parade of fake news stories, political outrage, and fake friends can sometimes be depressing. However, there is another side to the social media revolution, one that just might help you land your next job.
Social media can be a powerful tool for executive job hunters, busy professionals, and workers in virtually any kind of industry. The more you know about how these sites work, the easier it will be to build a better network and a more successful job search.
The first step is to optimize your profile for keywords related to your skills and career. Think, “What would hiring managers look for?” and set up your profile in that way. Make an impressive resume of experience, education, and very importantly, results.
Then, start creating and sharing content. Contribute ideas and thoughts to other user’s posts. Find stories, blog posts, and news that you find interesting and share it with everyone following you.
Decide on the companies you’re interested in working for and narrow down the decision makers. These are often hiring managers and recruiters. Connect with them and send personalized outreach messages. Offer content and compliments to establish value.
Finally, don’t forget to build your network. Respond to everybody that engages with you. Send messages to everyone that wishes to connect. Follow up with people. Treat it like you would networking in person. Doing this will maximize your chances of making a power move in your career.