Facebook has been the reigning king of social media for nearly a decade. What started off as a quick communications tool between college students has grown into the largest social media platform in the world with over 1.2 billion users (Yes, that’s right, 1.2 billion.) Today, individuals, causes, and organizations are using Facebook to promote products, raise money, locate family members, and yes . . . find jobs.
Organizations have realized that using Facebook is a quick and cost-effective way to find individuals who are already connected with their products/services and tap them for job leads and to apply for jobs themselves. Facebook is second, only to Linkedin, for social media platforms business are using to find and hire talent. To take advantage of this strong and growing trend, here are 10 Actions you can take.
- Create a Facebook account specifically for professional use, or make sure that the personal Facebook account that you may currently have is 100% professional. Keeping your personal account professional means making sure that the content added by you, liked by you, commented on by you, and posted by those you subscribe to and have friended is professional, tasteful, and passes the billboard test.
- On your page, complete the “Work & Education” profile section. Regularly add images, videos, links, status updates, and comments that reflect your interest and expertise in your industry. Become a resource—a “go to” page—for insights and information in your chosen field. Talk about business books you’re reading, conferences you’ve attended, courses you’ve taken, articles you’ve written, and unique projects that you’re working on. You can use Facebook to aggregate your work samples, or provide a link to an online portfolio of your work. Because Facebook is not as business-formal as Linkedin, you have the opportunity of letting more of your personality come through in your status updates and other information that you choose to share.
- “Like” or subscribe to the Company Facebook pages of the organizations for which you would like to work. Become an active member of their online communities. This means staying current on trends in your industry and sharing what you learn on their Facebook pages. Contribute interesting and insightful comments. Talk about yourself using their products and services. When they have contests, online events, and other activities, participate.
- Share the interesting things you learn about these organizations with your Facebook friends and subscribers.
- Look for high-ranking and influential staff members who work at the organizations you’ve targeted and if they have professional Facebook pages designed for consumer engagement, Like and/or Subscribe to them. Become an active and contributing member of their communities as well. Linkedin is an excellent resource to use to identify these individuals.
- Keep track of news, events, and updates posted on these Facebook pages. Identify ways to tie your strengths and unique abilities to the ways in which the companies are growing. When positions come open, use the knowledge you’ve gained from being an active member of the company’s online community to write your cover letter, tailor your resume, and answer interview questions.
- Identify challenges that the organizations are facing and—without coming across as a know-it-all—offer quick solutions and ideas to solve these challenges.
- Share your “connection story.” Your connection story is the tale of how you came to admire and respect the company.
- Create an Interest List for those individuals and companies you identify on Facebook for business networking. (Use Facebook’s Help Center for information on how to do this.)
- Use your privacy settings to make sure that your Facebook friends, their friends, and the public only see what you want them to see. (Use Facebook’s Help Center for information on how to do this.)
Notice that none of the above actions say: Let them know your are looking for work; Ask them what it takes to get hired; Ask when the next position in your field of study will be open; Badmouth the competition. Of course, you should watch for jobs that are posted on Facebook and apply for the ones you’re qualified for.
Keep in mind, one of the most important ways you can use Facebook for job search is to build relationships with the organizations where you would like to work and the people who have the influence to hire you into these organizations. Use Facebook to get to know their culture. This will give you a valuable edge over competing applicants and allow you to present yourself as a current member of the company’s professional family.
* The Billboard Test is a way to evaluate posts, comments, and items you share via social media. Before posting ask yourself if you would feel comfortable with the post being displayed on a billboard in the middle of your home town with your name as the author. If the answer is yes, then post, comment, and share away! If not, it’s probably best come up with something else that better fits those criteria.