If you haven't been successful using this tactic, there is a good reason: Companies report that while 42 percent of their applicants come via job boards, only 14 percent of the people they hire come from this source. These numbers, and others in this article, were first revealed in Jobvite's 2013 Social Recruiting Survey of more than 1,600 recruiters and human resources professionals.
Across all industries, there is a whopping 94 percent adoption of social recruiting. These days, recruiting and hiring are all about networking, both in-person and online. It is hard to overstate the importance of your online presence as key to a successful job search.
As you might expect, 94 percent of recruiters use LinkedIn and 65 percent use Facebook. Lest you focus your energies only on the big two, bear in mind that more than half of recruiters and HR staffing specialists are using Twitter. And Jobvite identifies other "specialized, localized and up-and-coming social networks" that recruiters utilize to source talent: Instagram, Vimeo, GitHub, Stack Overflow, XING, Yammer and Pinterest.
Understand what sites are used for what purposes. Companies use different websites differently. For example, Twitter is great for a company showcasing itself. It is easy and free to send out tweets announcing open positions in an effort to gain corporate visibility and draw you to a company's website.
Facebook's company pages are used to create a following, to put out much more information about the values, products and services of a company. This way, it builds its own employer brand and reputation. More than half of all companies utilize Facebook as a means of bolstering their own employee referral programs where they reward current employees for bringing to their attention others who are successfully recruited to come on board.
Tip: Look at what companies are saying about themselves on Twitter and Facebook. Follow them, and begin to interact with them to gain your own credibility. Build relationships, followers and friends as a means of networking yourself inside a company.
Tip: Ignore LinkedIn at your own peril. This website does it all. Recruiters use it to search for candidates, contact them, keep tabs on people and vet them as well as posting jobs. Make certain that your profile is complete and up-to-date, join and become seen in LinkedIn's groups, and look for posted opportunities both in the main "Jobs" tab as well as those different jobs posted within the myriad of LinkedIn's groups accessible only to group members.
Understand what recruiters look for on social networks. At least for now, résumés remain a crucial explanation of your history and the value you offer to your next employer. But they don't generally speak to today's hiring buzzword: fit. That is why 93 percent of recruiters indicate that they are likely to look at a candidate's social profile, and more than 40 percent of recruiters have reconsidered a candidate (either positively or negatively) based on what they find.
Those charged to build strong pools of candidates know that they will find out much more about your personality, attitudes and general ability to communicate effectively by what you post. Moreover, they will be able to gauge your expertise and willingness to share it.
Tip: Create your own strategy for a multi-pronged social media presentation of your personal brand and expertise. Here are some of the "musts" that will go into this strategy:
1. Make sure your LinkedIn profile is accurate and complete with a great close-up headshot, skills, highlighted accomplishments at each of your current and previous positions and more.
2. Contribute your knowledge to become known as an expert in your field. Participate in LinkedIn's groups that deal with your skill sets, roles and industries. Then, make sure to branch out to some of the smaller niche social media sites like Stack Overflow (in technical fields) or others that are relevant to your own situation.
3. Follow companies and interact with their employees on Twitter.
4. By far, the single thing that you can do to generate a positive impression about yourself is post about your volunteer activities and nonreligious charitable donations. Talk about the causes you support, and show yourself to be a giving person.
5. Clean up your act. More than likely, you will alienate recruiters if they find you making any reference to involvement with illegal drugs, posting or tweeting anything of a sexual nature, using profanity, making spelling or grammatical errors or if you are pictured consuming alcohol.
When you take the time to embrace social media, you will become better known, liked, valued and trusted. And when this happens, you'll revel in your reputation, advance your cause and build wonderful relationships.
Arnie Fertig is the head coach of JOBHUNTERCOACH.COM, where he utilizes his extensive background in HR Staffing and as owner of a recruiting company to help mid-career job-hunters land their next job. Arnie provides one-to-one coaching services to individuals throughout the U.S. in all aspects of the job hunt, including: resume writing, personal branding, utilizing social media, enhancing networking skills, preparing for interviews, and negotiating compensation.