Updated: 28 October 2012
With most things in life, you only get one chance to make a good impression; and so it is with a candidate's social media profiles. In just moments they can turn a recruiter off your application - or solidify a recruiter's decision to invite you to interview (or even make an offer). That's why we wanted to share some essential tips for jobseekers on how to make your social media profiles more compelling.
We will not be tackling the intricacies of the different social media platforms you may be using - and how your approach should be refined for each. Rather we shall be sharing principles you should follow to ensure your social media footprint augments rather than diminishes your standing with recruiters and employers. In no particular order make sure you:
Make statements of verifiable facts rather than making hollow claims. This is a rule to apply on your CV / Resume too, but is particularly powerful on social media profiles because the statements you make are published openly and so appear particularly credible. Too many candidates describe themselves as "an exceptional salesperson", "a gifted sales executive" or a whole host of other such meaningless hyperbolae. QUANTIFY YOUR ACHIEVEMENTS. The act of doing so allows the reader to draw their own conclusions about how gifted you are - and carries considerable weight in that you're publicly making these claims. "An exceptional salesperson consistently in the top 5% of billers within our company" or "a gifted sales executive whose team has exceeded budget by 20%+ for each of the last 3 years" are statements that are far more compelling to a recruiter because you're putting your neck on the line by making statements which include facts that could be verified.
Tailor your profile to stand out in a particular niche. In many areas of sales, people make the common mistake of thinking that all bases must be covered. The sales arena of getting oneself hired is no different. The truth is - particularly in today's economy - that candidates need to market themselves as being an expert in a particular niche area. Only by doing so will you position yourself as the most desirable candidate that a recruiter has seen for a specific role. Portray yourself as someone who can fulfil a wide range of requirements and you end up portraying yourself as someone who is not the number one choice for any specific requirement. And if there's one thing that can be said about hiring requirements as we enter headlong into 2012 it's that they are highly specific. So cut down on the content and make it highly tailored to the particular niche where you have decided you want to secure employment.
Seek endorsements / recommendations from credible professionals. As with the previous point, less can often be more. Heartfelt recommendations from a handful of well regarded professionals in your industry will influence a recruiter more than dozens and dozens of weak recommendations from a wider range of contacts. Worse still too many recommendations can undermine your claims to be a specialist in a particular area. So be selective about who you ask for recommendations and / or which of the recommendations you've secured you actually have publicly visible on your profiles at the time of your jobhunting activities.
Do not leave periods of your professional life unaccounted for. In any timeline of your professional experience, avoid leaving periods of time unaccounted for. Recruiters don't like this on a CV / Resume - and the same holds true on a social media profile. Anywhere there is an obvious omission in a candidate's profile (or CV / Resume), recruiters will be inclined to fear the worst. So portray that gap year, post-redundancy period or short-tenure in a particular role in a way that portrays you in a favourable light - rather than leaving the recruiter to fear the worst.
Make it easy for recruiters to contact you. Get to know the social media platforms you use. Some like Social-Hire.com give all members the ability to make contact with one another as soon as there is interest in doing so. But many social media platforms earn their living from charging recruiters to make contact with candidates they discover on their platforms. Some recruiters of course pay for the privilege. But many others don't - and you don't want that to be a reason for you missing out on being contacted about an exciting new role. So do ensure you make it easy for recruiters to contact you - by making it clear which office location you work in; or by stating your contact number or contact email address; or by joining suitable groups so that you make yourself freely contactable by the widest pool of relevant recruiters.
Last but not least, believe in yourself. Your conviction in your abilities - or your lack of conviction - will carry through in the words you use on your social media profiles. Make sure you get yourself in the right frame of mind when you update your profiles - and do so at a time when you are feeling upbeat and positive, rather than when you've just suffered any kind of professional or jobhunting setback.
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