Job Searching on Social Media? Tips for Making a Great Impression

By Aliah D. Wright Jan 31, 2012

Acco​rding to Jobvite, LinkedIn accounts for 73 percent of hires through social media. So that little description at the top of your profile is not only your introduction, “it’s your chance to pitch yourself,” says marketing coach and career strategist Tim Tyrell-Smith.

“It’s your marketing space,” Tyrell-Smith says. “There’s only a couple of places where you have an open response, and that’s your summary. Put the key things in there that make you special. Your headline is like your position statement or your tagline. It describes very quickly who you are, what you can do and why people might be interested in you.”

And forget about using a snazzy title like “Evangelist” or “International Man of Mystery.”

“When we’re looking at that many profiles, we’re looking for relevance,” Tyrell-Smith says.

Use Common Sense

He and other recruiters say you should get rid of weird e-mail addresses, too. So “lovelybutterflyPickaNumber” or “” should not be the contact e-mail for your professional persona. Use your first and last name.

“I would suggest never using your corporate e-mail account” either, adds Joey Price, CEO of Jumpstart: HR. Yet he says people frequently use their work accounts to find their next opportunity. He and other experts add that job seekers wanting to be seen as more progressive should use a Gmail account or get their own domain.

“You need to invest a small amount of money to give the right impression—buy your own domain name,” says Matthew Ogston, founder and CEO of the U.K.-based social recruiting software firm

Consider “a free service like WordPress,” he adds. Put up a page that says, ‘This is my stake, and this is who I am.’ It’s not a deal breaker, but it can work against you if you’re using Hotmail. It gives the wrong impression.”

Making LinkedIn Profiles Sing

LinkedIn’s Director of Global Talent Brendan Browne offers the following tips for making a LinkedIn profile more attractive to recruiters:

Be yourself. “An authentic voice in a profile and summary goes a long way. Your personality is unique and should come through clearly and grab our attention. Recruiters want to see and feel what you are passionate about. A LinkedIn profile is a blank sheet for you to get creative with, and it’s easy for your profile to come across as flat if you’re simply pasting your CV. Don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through.”

Update your status. “Interesting, insightful and sometimes unusual status updates are always a very good indication that someone is passionate about their field. In fact, when our CEO noticed a member sharing some insightful feedback on one of our beta products, we got in touch and found he had some great ideas. It eventually led to us recruiting him. It goes to show how just one smart status update can have a direct impact on your career.”

Don’t focus on your company. “Many folks update their status with constant positive messages about their company. People can quickly tune out. Share articles, thoughts and ideas that reflect what is important to you and your industry, not just your company.”

Get professional recommendations: “It’s easy to ask a friend to write you a recommendation. It’s much more meaningful if they come from executives, managers, and clients or suppliers. ‘Scratch my back’ recommendations are easy to spot and don’t carry as much weight.”

Make meaningful connections. “If we see that someone in a relatively junior role is well-connected to influential senior talent, that’s a great indication that they’re potentially a rising star.”

Create a well-rounded profile.“Well-rounded profiles, including interests and even volunteer fields, help give a fuller picture of you as a person. It is great to see that someone is thoughtful of balancing their personal and professional life and their own interests when they might be relevant to their career. In fact, we did some recent research which showed that 41 percent of professionals consider volunteer work equally as valuable as paid work experience when making recruitment decisions.”

Aliah D. Wright is an online editor/manager for SHRM. Follow her @1SHRMScribe for career news and social media insights.​​​


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