How to Reach Out to Potential Employers on Social Media
Posted on: 06 June 2016 by Kelly Smith
Social media is a two-way street. Employers and recruiters are increasingly using social media platforms to connect with you, and vice versa.
Social media is a two-way street. Employers and recruiters are increasingly using social media platforms to connect with you, and vice versa. But with social media gaining popularity on the job front, it can be difficult to stand out while refraining from an overwhelming introduction. Finding the communication balance that allows you to network effectively is key to enjoying a fruitful job search and professional development through social media.
Take a step back
For those unfamiliar with the social nuances of platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, you’ll need to brush up before you begin. Your very first step will need to be an evaluation of your personal accounts that you intend to use for career networking purposes. Do some clean up and hide photos from public that you wouldn’t want an employer to see. The last thing you want is to send the wrong message. Post more content that is relevant to your field of work. Add educational or vocational milestones and histories to your profiles. Try to get your follower counts up, and be sure to follow the companies you are interested in. Take control of your web presence and try to view yourself from an employer’s perspective.
Get your foot in the door
With your social media presence revamped and ready for networking, it’s time to dive in. Your goal now is to build relationships with employers and recruiters. Start with one person per company, who you can glean is active on social media. If you reach out to everyone you can find at a particular company, you risk spreading yourself too thin and failing to develop a meaningful connection. But that doesn’t mean that you should bombard one person with posts, comments, direct messages, etc. As in life outside of the Internet, relationships tend to be slow-growing. What you want to accomplish initially is a polite first contact, or introduction, that will blossom into a mutually meaningful connection.
Enlist the help of mutual friends
If you aren’t keen on the “cold calling” style of introductions, find a way to get your foot in the door via mutual connections. If you see that you share a friend with someone who works at the company you’re interested in, reach out to that person to find out if they’d be willing to make an introduction. Of course, it helps if you know the mutual contact well enough to ask for this, so it may not be a bad idea to develop some peripheral relationships while you’re at it. It’s all part of networking, right?
…Or mutual backgrounds
As your relationship develops, you may want to take it up a notch and make yourself stand out from the rest of the job-seeker pool. One surefire way to accomplish this is to find common ground. You can use social media, especially LinkedIn, to read up on your connections. Many company websites also publish staff bios, which contain information about alma maters, fields of expertise, prior employers, and other areas in which you can find some shared background. Use it to strike up a conversation with your connections.
Structure your call to action
When you feel like you’re on solid enough ground in your social media relationships, go in for the ask. Not all job seekers will necessarily ask for a job, though. You may be after recommendations, personal references, or some other professional stepping-stone. Regardless of what you’re after, it’s important to be clear and concise when you ask. And no matter the answer you get, favorable or not, express gratitude. Gratitude alone can get you pretty far.
Integrate other media platforms
So what happens if you invest all this time in building relationships with company contacts, but it doesn’t lead to a job? First, don’t get discouraged. Social media is a big place, and while many companies have a presence on it, they aren’t always looking to hire. Branch out your search to job-specific platforms, such as Gumtree’s extensive job listings. You can always start there, then work your way back to social media after you apply. Or, you can check out the job listings and then reach out to employers on social media to find out more about the position and ask intelligent questions.
There really are numerous ways to go about incorporating social media into your career aspirations. Just remember to find the right balance with communication, information you choose to make public, and care with which you ask for objectives. Be patient, and don’t overdo it.