Using the power of social networks for your job search

In the relatively short space of time that social media networks have existed, they have become an essential part of modern life. These tools that keep society interconnected are also an essential part of recruiting and a powerful tool that can help candidates find the right job.

According to the recently released Jobvite 2013 Social Recruiting Survey, 94 percent of all industries now use social media for either talent acquisition or sourcing human capital. The annual report focused on the big three social networks – LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter – and found that social recruitment is at an all time high, with 92 percent of recruiters using these networks to identify potential hires.

As a result, candidates need to know how to leverage the opportunities that social networks provide in addition to the best ways to avoid the challenges that inevitably come with using this technology as a springboard to employment. Adopting a professional attitude must be the driving factor behind any job search and, according to Huffington Post, candidates who ignore the well-established rules of a business-orientated site such as LinkedIn do so at their own peril.

Remember what they do
Social networks exist as content curators. That is their founding principle and one that should be kept in mind at all times. Understanding how best to use that template is not easy, but the candidate should be aware that a successful search will require a strategic approach to how a potential employer or human resource team views any content attached to that individual.

While the resume is still the standard tool in any job search, it should dovetail with a digital footprint. Accuracy is essential, as is demonstrating skill sets that an employer wants, not what that candidate thinks they need. It's also important to note that social networks are not only places to curate content, but powerful search tools. As a result, jobseekers should make sure that their social media profiles are optimized with content that will look attractive and relevant to employers and recruiters, and also make sure they include content and keywords that are searchable. After all, if a candidate wants to be found via social media, they need to ensure that their profiles contain the content that hiring managers are searching for.

Candidates should spend time engaging with the companies they want to work for through social networks. Every industry sector now has representation on most, if not all, of the popular networks and the prudent job seeker can use this to their advantage. Community message boards or dedicated groups are an excellent way to showcase knowledge or expertise, and by following a set company or industry, candidates can make sure that their online presence is the one that comes to the top of the pile.