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Shorten Your Job Search By Leveraging Social Media

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March 22nd, 2017

- Updated on

April 6, 2017 - 9:39am
Since 1970, the average time to find a new job has steadily risen. Today, it  takes 25.1 weeks (although AJO's program participants are landing in 20 weeks on average.) If you just started a job search, or you are knee-deep into one, this number is not at all comforting. What can you do to shorten your own search timeline?
AJO Career Coach and Social Media Consultant, Katie McGinty, would tell you to get savvy with social media to ensure more rapid job search success. Katie leads AJO webinars to train job seekers to build effective online profiles and capitalize on the latest LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter resources and job search tools. In these sessions, she highlights the features that can optimize candidate positioning and visibility to the majority of hiring managers and recruiters who use social media as a primary sourcing resources. What are AJO’s social media essentials for job seekers? In this post we share some important tips from Katie’s webinar.


What You Need to Know and Do - A Primer

  • Leverage LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter to your full advantage. Not only do most companies have a presence on these sites today, many post their jobs on them before or instead of job boards.
  • Be aware that 74% of the workforce is open to a new job, so almost everyone is in active or passive job search mode. Hiring managers and recruiters target passive candidates (those who may not be actively seeking) but who are open to new opportunities. Search for, and study the profiles of your competition to discover how you might stand out or strengthen your profile.
  • Follow target firms and key professionals in them using these three platforms. Research company culture, news, upcoming events, appointments or changes such as mergers, new locations and products or services.
  • Join and participate in groups to connect with people of interest, as well as to contribute to discussions in order to build your online presence. 
  • Ensure that your public online persona tells your story in the most positive light possible. To accomplish this:
    • Google your name, email and phone number to see how you are presented online. Don’t forget to look at the “image” tab as well. You might be surprised by what you see there.
    • If necessary, clean up your feeds, posts and photos to put your best professional image forward. Keep only those that you would want an employer or your grandmother to see.
    • Pay special attention to your security & privacy settings.
    • Review and edit your profiles as appropriate. 


LinkedIn is used by most hiring managers and recruiters to find people for jobs that may not yet be advertised elsewhere. According to the Jobvite Job Seeker Nation 2016 report, 92% of recruiters use social media in their work today, and LinkedIn is their social network of choice.  
  • Get familiar with LinkedIn settings before crafting or editing your profile. Search in "Privacy Mode" to review others' profiles before crafting your own. Turn off the "Sharing Profile" feature while editing your profile. Be sure to turn it back on once you are done with your profile changes and before adding your photo. Set your features in the “Communications” tab to give you optimum exposure for your situation.
  • Make your LinkedIn profile your priority. A profile is your first impression to other professionals, hiring managers and recruiters. In fact, your LinkedIn profile may be viewed long before your resume ever crosses a potential employer’s desk. It should be a personal statement that invites further connection. Think of LinkedIn as a search engine. Because LinkedIn's search algorithm relies on keywords and phrases, and their repetition, your LinkedIn profile should be chock full of relevant keywords to rank high in search results. 
  • Headlines count. You have 120 characters in the most important profile feature to draw in your audience. Be sure to include keywords and phrases. If you do not personalize this feature, it defaults to your last position title.
  • Your profile summary is not the same as your resume summary. Instead, write in the first person, highlighting the most salient and eye-grabbing aspects of your background. You have 2000 characters for your summary – make the most of this section by repeating the most important keywords and phrases you wish to emphasize.
  • Be sure to add your phone number and email address in your profile summary so that recruiters can easily reach you. 
  • You cannot have too many Skills / Endorsements listed in your profile. LinkedIn allows you to list 50 skills. Use them all. Add them by clicking on the “Add Skills” button in profile edit mode. Request endorsements from all your contacts as you add skills. To do this, click on the “Adjust Endorsement Settings” link at the bottom of your full skills list. Set all three options to “YES” so that your network can support you by endorsing your skills.
  • References count. Be sure to speak to people before asking for a recommendation through LinkedIn. This personal contact will help your references know what to emphasize, and sometimes will give you an opportunity to draft your own reference for them to use.
  • Post a professional headshot. Don’t be a “LinkedIn Ghost” lurking without a picture. Research shows that “those with a photo in their profile receive up to 21 times more profile views.” In fact, if your profile does not have a photo, it may not even show up in a recruiter’s search. Select a professional pose, with a neutral background. Smile - look friendly and approachable.
LinkedIn and job seeker


Facebook is helpful for determining company culture and customer responsiveness as well as recent trends and information about your profession. Facebook also recently added job posting features for employers, so expect to see many more jobs posted there going forward. 
  • Make the “About” section of your page professional. Use the “Intro” feature the same way you would the headline in your LinkedIn profile. Add details that reflect positively on your life and experience. Remove details and photos that do not support that image.
  • Set your Facebook privacy settings so that you curate what appears on your own page. Pay attention to the tagging feature so that your feed shows only pictures of your choosing.  
  • Follow your target firms and groups that relate to your profession. Research company culture, image and responsiveness to complaints via company pages.
  • Search “jobs” or “jobs near you” by entering the keyword, “JOBS” in the search bar. Alternatively, click on Groups, Pages and Apps in the tabs across the top of your page for additional results of interest.
  • Follow the instructions in the job posting to apply for positions found on Facebook. Often the post will include a phone number or email address of the recruiter or hiring manager, so use them. Other times, the post will direct you to the firm’s hiring site. Treat these applications as any other application, filling it out carefully and completely. Then, cross-reference the firm and/or the job with LinkedIn or Twitter to see if you have connections in those sites that may get your closer to the hiring manager.


Twitter is an up and coming job search platform. Use Twitter to follow people in your desired industry, in targeted companies and organizations, or in your geographic area.
  • To manage your account, profile and settings, click on the green Zero at the top right of your home page.
  • Edit your profile by clicking on the “Edit profile” button on the right of your profile page. Model your profile after the headline in your LinkedIn profile, using only 140 characters.
  • Add your profile and background photos by clicking on the photo block, then uploading your professional photo.
  • Search for job postings using the “Search Twitter” search bar. 
  • Link your LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter accounts to expedite postings in discussion threads.


And, while it's not a social media platform, one more site to check out is Glassdoor. It offers insights about organizations based on feedback from current or former employees which you can use to:
  • Research salaries by company, position or geography
  • Gain insight into potential interview format and questions
  • Read employee reviews of culture, the positive elements and potential red flags
  • Research job postings for keywords and potential leads.
  • Create job alerts by position and geography
  • Post resumes for recruiter sourcing

Social Media for Job Search Works, If You Work It

Using these social media sites to your advantage will bring your job search firmly into the 21st century. They will expand your options, speed up your research and connect you to your network more broadly than ever before possible. But social media will only work for you if you really work it. AJO’s expert Career Coaches can guide you as you navigate this new job search landscape.  
Are you eligible for AJO’s career transition services through your current/last employer? Would you like more information on how to best position yourself for job search success? If so, click Eligible for Career Transition Services to learn about the services available to you during your career transition, including career coaching, tools and learning resources.
Employers don't always think of the importance of social media in accelerating job search for a displaced employee. It is clear that employees facing career transition due to restructuring and downsizing will require the support of knowledgeable Coaches who can navigate this search landscape. If your employees would benefit from expert career transition guidance, contact us to learn more about how we support professionals in career transition.