In general, social media seems to be helpful for job hunting. While there are downsides, this form of communication can help us reach recruiters and hiring managers, and meet people we wouldn’t have met otherwise. But what if you’ve been using social media in your job search and you still haven’t found your dream job?
Here are six reasons why your social media might be hurting more than helping.
You’re too passive
It’s not enough to just have a bare-bones page on LinkedIn or only re-tweet other people on Twitter. That is not going to attract the attention of hiring managers and recruiters who are looking on social media for their next hire. Use the sites to their full advantage, posting and discussing content that is interesting to you and relates to your career, and keep your profiles updated even when you are not looking for a new job, so they will be ready when you do decide to start the search.
You’re too aggressive
On the flip side, don’t be too aggressive in your social media interactions. Don’t taunt people on Twitter who don’t follow you back right away and don’t spam people with LinkedIn requests (if you think these sound silly, I have had both happen to me recently!). If there is someone you want to connect with but haven’t met before, ask a friend for an introduction or send a single polite email. If you don’t agree with someone in a discussion on Twitter, don’t resort to name-calling or insults. Be considerate.
You’re joining the wrong conversations
Take stock of where you are connecting with people and what you are talking about. Join Twitter chats related to what you want to pursue. Yes, you can share funny or more personally-interesting articles and content, but also be sure you are discussing issues and news from the nonprofit sector as well. Take time to observe and listen, but then add your opinion.
You’re not communicating well, online or offline
Just because we spend a lot of time on our computers and communicating via email doesn’t mean we don’t need to have real-life people and communication skills. The rules of politeness apply online as well. Or perhaps you are making a great impression online–and abiding by social media etiquette rules—but when you meet with people in person, you are turning them off. In any interaction, focus on being helpful, respectful, and a good listener.
You’re thinking short term
If you expect to find a job in a few weeks just from using LinkedIn, or plan to abandon your online network once your find a job, you’ll likely make a ton of mistakes that will sabotage your job search efforts, including: not focusing on the kind of community you want to build, not helping others, and not being deliberate about building your personal brand so that people want to work with you. This all takes time and you have to think about the bigger picture, where you fit in, and what you can contribute.
You’re only using social media
While social media can open up many doors and opportunities, nothing replaces a targeted job search with a strong resume and cover letter. For nonprofits, many value experience, therefore volunteering, taking on internships, or just having prior work experience are all critical to a successful search. Additionally, it’s possible that organizations you admire might not leverage social media, requiring you to connect with them offline, through other forms of media like their newsletter, or, most powerfully, through a recommendation from their network.