LinkedIn is no longer the best way to use social media for your job search. Now, Facebook has emerged as a key tool for both candidates and companies, alike.
Yes, Facebook is no longer just a site for people to connect with friends, like fan pages, play games, and keep tabs on significant others. Job seekers are viewing Facebook as a networking tool with the opportunity to connect their way to the job of their dreams. Companies are now viewing Facebook as more than just a way to eliminate potentially troublesome hires. They now see the social media site as a way to advertise their company and attract potential candidates. Sites like BranchOut have even created a LinkedIn model that allows Facebook users to connect with one another and also apply for jobs using the job profile they have created. Here are some ways to use Facebook to your advantage:
Create a Professional Page: The page you created for your friends just won’t work. In fact, if found, the picture of you drinking with your buddies might just backfire and cost you a job. But if you trust the privacy settings, keep your personal and professional pages separate. Your business page should include a professional headshot as the profile picture. All the pictures you post on the page should be professional. Your captions should highlight your work ethic and any other information you post on the page should only be relevant to the job hunt; not your interest in picking up members of the opposite sex at a bar next weekend.
Clean Your Personal Page: I wouldn’t trust the privacy settings, especially because they are always changing. If a recruiter notices you have a professional page and a personal one, their curiosity might get the better of them and anything you have on that personal page could come into play in their decision on whether to connect with you further. Clean up the pictures. You really don’t need to have scantily clad photos of yourself up on the site when you’re anxiously looking for a job. There is no point unless you’re looking for a job as a bartender, stripper or fashion model. If only for a little while, keep your controversial points to yourself, and make sure your friends don’t get you into any trouble by tagging you to any photos or posts that might cause your career any irreparable harm.
Add links: Let Facebook be a guiding force to other sites that highlight your qualifications. LinkedIn is still going to be the best place to send recruiters to for your work experience and highly influential recommendations. If you have blogged in the past or been recognized in the media in any way, you might also want to include those links. Let Facebook work together with other social networking sites and websites to create one distinctive picture of the type of worker employers are looking to hire.
Include volunteer work: According to LinkedIn's connections director Nicole Williams, a new report by the professional website found that one out of five managers surveyed said they make a hiring decision based on a person's unpaid work experience. "You may be a sales person by trade, but if you organized your nonprofit's fundraising event, you can add skills like event planning or event marketing to your profile. Having those additional skills can potentially make you a more attractive employee and business partner." Make sure those that visit your Facebook page are aware of this experience. It shines a different light on your employability. Everything helps.
Update Often: Facebook allows you an opportunity to continuously update your page, so why not take advantage of it to discuss recent achievements, new experiences and ways to relate your expertise in a particular field.
Join Pages: If you have always wanted to work for a particular company, become a fan of their page and actively engage its members in non-annoying, interesting and stimulating conversations. Check back to see if any posts have been made concerning jobs or company news you might find useful should you ever land a job interview with the company. Facebook is a great way to stay abreast of what’s going on in a social setting. Sites like Branchout are literally LinkedIn on your Facebook page. And of course, Vault.com also has a Facebook page that allows users to view important career advice. Facebook has the ability to create well-rounded job seekers and the potential to help get people back to work. That’s something easy to “like.”
--Jon Minners, Vault.com