Court your dream organisation on social media

Sent in your resume to your dream company? Don’t just wait for the phone to ring. Chrystal Chan finds out how you can raise your chances of getting hired by putting your social media channels to good use

1) Find an ally
When it comes to successful job-hunting, some say you need “friends in high places”. These people can help you make good career moves, whether it is a job referral or sharing insider industry information.

Linda Ong, Career Services Director at the Nanyang Business School, says: “In the past, networking had to be done face-to-face but now, thanks to social media, networking can be done anytime online.”

LinkedIn is a good place to start when building your network, but don’t just “add” everyone but rather those with whom you have something in common.

“Join relevant groups on LinkedIn and take part in group discussions,” says See Wai Yen, a career consultant from NTU’s Career & Attachment Office. “There’s a good chance these groups are populated by important people from the industry and being active there will get you noticed.”

If you took a photo with fellow networkers at an event, you could “add” them as Facebook friends and tag them in these pictures. You can also seek out event photos and leave comments like: “Thanks! I learnt so much at this conference.” Someone you didn’t meet could echo your sentiments with a “like” or a reply and even add you on Facebook.

Chua Jie Xuan, a second-year accountancy and business student, cautions this is not fool-proof: “It is perfectly fine to leave comments on pictures of events on Facebook, but not everyone will be comfortable adding someone they barely know, given the personal information that will be shared.”

If done right, however, job opportunities may come from those connections, says Jolene Sng, a final-year student at the Nanyang Business School, who is now working at LinkedIn’s Singapore office.

“Once, a connection of mine wrote on LinkedIn: ‘Hey, we’re hiring. PM me for more details.’ I immediately thought of someone so I tagged him in the post. It wasn’t an official job posting, so he might not have known about this opportunity at all, let alone get hired.”

2) Build your brand
Project your professional image on your social media accounts, be it the expert on financial stocks, the computer technology whiz or the design maverick.

Set up a separate Facebook list of the people you are connected with professionally or met over work. Use this list to share the selected status updates you want them to see, like: “Had a good time learning about digital marketing at a work training session today.” Using this list, you can easily tailor your Facebook “brand” and share articles you have a professional opinion about and start a healthy discussion.

“If you don’t know where to start, write something that shows recruiters you are a good representative of your generation. Such work could be well-shared by others and might get your name and reputation out there,” suggests Linda.

Instagram is ideal for those in the creative industries. Looking for a design job? Post your sketches, artwork or photos on Instagram as a virtual repository of your portfolio.

Viewers on Instagram like to follow a consistent feed that revolves around one or two central themes. I also find it helpful to post regularly so that my brand stays top of mind. Typically, I’ll post one to two photos a day to balance between quality and quantity,” says Matthew Ng, a final-year communication student and freelance photographer.

Make sure you tag your pictures where relevant. For example, if you upload your photos emulating a famous photographer’s style, you can tag him.

“I also hashtag and tag curation accounts, which have tons of followers, such as #passionpassport or #guardiantravelsnaps, to expand my photos’ reach beyond my own circle of followers,” adds Matthew.

3) Spend time on social media meaningfully
Put your time on social media to good use. By following notable people and company pages, you will also see their articles and know what kind of expertise they’re after. Get on their radar by posting constructive comments regularly on their page that show a unique perspective, but don’t overdo it lest you look like a stalker!

“If you share and comment on posts relevant to the industry you’re interested in, people will notice your presence and may even bounce ideas off you,” says Nathaniel Leong, a graduating student and analyst at Macquarie Bank.

On Facebook, make sure your notifications are turned on for the pages and people that you want to be updated on. You wouldn’t want to be out of the loop when a job opportunity arises. Log in to LinkedIn as often as you do for Facebook as this could help your professional career, advises Jolene.

4) Curate your content
First, choose a sharp, well-taken photo of yourself as your profile picture. It doesn’t have to look stiff like a passport photo, but skip those party selfies. Guy Kawasaki, a celebrated and well published social media evangelist, recommends using the same image on all of your social media channels so people can search and find you easily. This is especially if you have a very common name like John Lim.

Make sure your information and profile is kept up-to-date and free of any grammatical or spelling errors.

You might be tempted to keep your Facebook profile entirely private, but consider just keeping personal data – such as most of your photos, relationship status and political views – private and letting your professional status updates stay public. Anything that will impress hiring managers, like your photos with influential people or weekend volunteerism, can stay public.

Never underestimate how the Internet can make or break you. Even a seemingly harmless comment on a friend’s page can come back to haunt you, so post with care.
My LinkedIn story
By Jolene Sng, final-year marketing student
“I got offered a full-time job at LinkedIn soon after the end of my internship here. There were about 100 or so applicants for my current full-time position. I wouldn’t say I got hired based solely on my LinkedIn profile because working at LinkedIn is all about ‘culture fit’. So that’s where the interview comes into play.

That said, I have been updating my LinkedIn profile frequently since my polytechnic days. As part of my professional branding, I also share content or topics that may be interesting to my network. As a result, my friends and connections seem to now refer to me as the ‘marketing girl’ in our circle.

I found LinkedIn to be very useful for networking, especially as a fresh grad. Once, I went to an event but didn’t get my chance to chat with the speaker as everyone was crowding around him. I dropped him a message on LinkedIn saying I went to his event and would like to reach out to him on his topic. I normally get a favourable response in such cases since I’m reaching out on a professional level.

Another time, I connected with a former intern at LinkedIn. I told her I would be joining LinkedIn as a new intern and that I wanted to get some insights from her. One day, she messaged me and said: ‘Hey, I happened to be around your office. Do you want to meet?’ So we did. My purpose was to find out what her working experience was like at LinkedIn, even though we are in very different teams. And now, we have become friends on Facebook!”
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