In today’s digital age, social media is more than a means of keeping in touch with old friends – it is a professional tool. Just as a poorly maintained online presence can harm one’s reputation, a properly developed social profile can be instrumental in finding and securing a job.
Using social media in a professional capacity requires much more than posting a picture and personal summary. Outlets such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are designed to help aspiring and established professionals interact. Job hunters should stay current on industry news, join professional networking groups, consult virtual job boards and communicate with industry thought leaders regularly.
Those seeking employment in the criminal justice field can do so through social media channels, but they must use the right strategic approach. Here are some tips for leveraging social networking to find success.
- Create professional profiles: Compelling social profiles should include an employment history for the previous 15 to 20 years. In addition to professional accomplishments, this section should demonstrate areas of strength and potential benefits to future employers. LinkedIn is typically the go-to site for professional profiles, but there is also space to add this type of information to Facebook, Twitter and Google+.
- Follow thought leaders: In social networking, it’s critical to know the right people. Try websites such as Followerwonk, which simplifies the process of finding relevant industry leaders on Twitter. Simply input specific keywords to discover a list of users who have them in their Twitter bio. Terms such as “criminal justice” or “police officer” could help seek out professionals to enhance your news feed.
- Use relevant hashtags: After following a strong group of criminal justice professionals, take the time to catch up on industry news. This can be done by regularly searching different hashtags on Twitter. Learn about updates from different areas of the industry by searching terms such as #lawenforcement or #criminaljustice.
- Follow prominent organizations: Create a list of specific, industry-leading companies and follow them on multiple social outlets, from their corporate Twitter accounts to Company pages on LinkedIn. Doing so will provide information on organizational updates, staff changes or product releases – all knowledge that is sure to impress hiring managers during an interview.
- Browse job openings: Businesses frequently post job openings to their social profiles in addition to advertising them on their company websites. It is becoming more common for organizations to post these updates to social media, as these accounts typically have larger audiences than corporate career pages.
- Direct message top tweeters: The idea of reaching out to strangers online can be intimidating, but plenty of professionals are willing to help those in need. After all, they’re on social media, so they want to network as well.
- Join the conversation: Twitter chats, also known as “tweet chats,” provide an opportunity for Twitter users across the globe to discuss the same topic. Each chat receives a hashtag denoting the topic; for example, small business owners may want to follow #SmallBizChat to discuss topics relevant to their organization. Users can join the chat by adding its hashtag to the end of their tweets. Interesting hashtags can be found at Hashtags.org.