Using Social Media to Market Your Skills and Experience
October 6, 2020
Right now, the slowdown in openings and hiring pause serves an opportunity to invest in the long-term. One practical investment you can make is in your social media.
Your résumé or CV is one of two applications you submit. The second application you automatically send for review is your Google presence. It’s an investment because it takes time to develop a routine with social, but, when between 58% and 70% of employers use it to check you out, it's necessary in today's world to have at least one account. But there are other reasons, like the fact that fellow creatives in the ad and marketing industries use it to share jobs not posted to boards, that make using social a benefit to you as a job seeker. However, done recklessly, social can hurt your candidacy. Some guidelines:
If you have a generic name like John or Jane Doe, add a keyword from your CV, like the name of an employer or a school, when you search for yourself. The first results that should appear are your portfolio and LinkedIn. Occasionally, Google will pick up on that old blog post from 2011, so be sure to give yourself a good look. If you see anything that makes you cringe or flinch, it's best to remove it.
If you're reading this blog, we already know you're in touch with your professional image - you can trust your judgment when it comes to moderating your posts.
WHAT SHOULD YOU POST?
What works on LinkedIn would not on Twitter.
Social media expert Matthew Kobach writes, 'Twitter rewards ideas, Instagram...lifestyles, LinkedIn...experience, Facebook...groupthink'.
As a job seeker, there's no need to stick solely to those content goals on each platform. Employers won't be expecting a feed of elegant cultural comments or earth shattering ideas about your craft. Most of the time, they look to see what you're about: your values, the impression you give off, how you write, what you engage with, and photos or videos you've uploaded.
Other times, they just give you a once-over to be sure you're not bashing former employers or sharing disturbing content.
WHAT IS THE INDUSTRY OR ROLE YOU WANT TO WORK IN?
This is the question you should spend the most time considering before you begin acting on a content strategy. When you've figured out the answer, post content related to that role or industry.
Is it design? Instagram, the visual smorgasbord that it is, is your go-to. (But it doesn't need to be the only channel you use.) Share your case studies! Even if they receive little engagement, you're creating a visual record for hiring managers and prospective clients to explore.
Copywriter? Twitter loves concise and thought-provoking ideas. Project managers, share your wisdom and philosophy with the rest of us drowning in tasks on YouTube or Twitter. Again, note that no channel has to be your only channel. But there should always be at least one that you feel speaks to your professional ability.
MAKING THE WORD 'NETWORKING' FIT FOR 2020
The point of networking gets lost in the purely transactional dynamic of business today. There's absolutely nothing wrong with reaching out to people you haven't met before to land a new gig. But when someone doesn't have anything tangible they can offer you in the immediate, there's still a friendship to be made.
Follow people in your industry who are in the roles you desire to be in. They'll make you smarter and more well-rounded as a creative professional, but also give you an opening to befriend them. Your shared interests and perspectives, or even complementary outlooks, will expand your social circle as much as your professional circle. And, of course, you’ll find a lot of people sharing leads for jobs that aren't easily located on job boards.
You don't need to become a thought-leader overnight, or even at all. Focus on sharing content about your industry or craft that reflects your unique point of view.
Check out sites like Sprout Social and Hootsuite to estimate times that your friends, colleagues, or potential new contacts are online most. Aim to post once per day on the channels that you predominantly use as the platform algorithms reward consistency. If you can't, try for at least two posts per week.
Hashtags are generally best used for Instagram (Hootsuite reports 11 is generally a safe number) and LinkedIn (between two and three per post). On Instagram, you can include your hashtags in a comment under a post to prevent it from looking spammy. Be sure to avoid recycling hashtags in consecutive posts.
Include links to your portfolio in your bios on the channels you use.
Not every post needs to include a link, especially on LinkedIn. Diversify what you post: a video or image one day, a mini-paragraph another or short sentence another, and a link to a podcast or blog another.
Join a Facebook group and introduce yourself! The benefits of a group are numerous, but chief among them is the access to a community of like-minded people or professionals who can help connect you to new opportunities and resources.
DON'T USE SOCIAL MEDIA ONLY TO SELL YOURSELF.
In fact, selling yourself should be furthest from your mind as you use social. By using it naturally to share yourself - your work, thoughts, imagination, personality - you're making a far more appealing case to prospective clients and companies about why they should work with you. This is what everyone means when their advice for social media is to just "be authentic."
Even if the algorithms don't move your accounts or content to the front of peoples' timelines, you are still doing yourself a favor by maintaining an active presence online. Your profiles, if you want them to be, can be proof of your skills and experience to potential buyers. Settle into a routine and you’ll develop a powerful resource to further demonstrate your value-add to the creative community.
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