Compared to LinkedIn and Twitter, Facebook may be the most “social” of the social networks, since most people are connected there to actual friends rather than business acquaintances or people with shared professional interests. But Facebook can still be a valuable tool in your job search if you use it correctly.
“Networking and personal branding are perhaps the two most important skills a job seeker needs these days and Facebook is an excellent way to hone both,” says Hillary O’Keefe, a job search strategy expert and online marketing manager at Onward Search. Here are some ways to do that:
- Create a robust profile. “Setting up a public, professionally grounded, yet suitably personal, Facebook profile will tell potential employers a lot about you,” O’Keefe says. “What company or industry organization pages do you ‘Like’? Does the passion you have for your career continue beyond your 9 to 5 [job]? How well versed are you in social media in general? Answering these questions with a well designed Facebook profile will undoubtedly raise the value of your personal brand in the eyes of a hiring manager.”
- Keep that profile professional. “Use as your primary photo a high quality high resolution image which represents you as you need to be seen for the job you desire,” says Roy Cohen, a career counselor, executive coach and author of The Wall Street Professional’s Survival Guide. “If you’re looking for a job as a pole dancer, then a bikini clad image is fine. For the rest of us, keep it professional. Facebook is, first and foremost, a visual platform and that’s how your audience forms its impression. Certainly, additional photos should be available but even these should never have an embarrassing afterlife, circulating for eternity on the internet.”
- Network with professional interests in mind. “Using Facebook is just an extension of face to face networking,” says Brian Basilico, an author, speaker and president of B2b Interactive Marketing Inc. “You can and should let people know that you are looking for a job and what kind. Ask if anyone knows of a job and ask them to keep their eyes open for you.”
- Extend in-person relationships. “Thank people you meet face to face by interacting with them on Facebook,” Basilico says, “and build a stronger relationship so they will keep you in mind if any opportunities arise.”
- Target your job search. “‘Like’ the companies you are interested in and engage in conversations on their page,” says Tisha Freer with Evviva Brands, who helps companies find employees on Facebook. “Specifically follow the careers Facebook pages for your target companies. Those pages are typically moderated and managed by the companies’ Talent Acquisition departments. Use the Facebook login at SimplyHired.com to determine if any of your friends work or have worked at your target companies. And look for Facebook alumni groups or employee groups for your target companies. Let those groups know what type of position you are looking for by posting on the wall and asking for leads or introductions.”
- Enlist the help of your “friends.” While you don’t want to seem desperate — or self-absorbed — by posting about nothing but your job search, you do want to keep your network informed and involved. “Post progress on your job search with some regularity so that your community will remember that you are, in fact, in job search and not just dabbling,” Cohen says. “Make Facebook a journal for your job search activities, a forum to share information and insights that you’ve gained that may be helpful or interesting to members of your Facebook family, and as a platform to shout out requests for ideas as to how to enhance your job search and move it forward.”