If you’re in the search of a new job, engaging with a company’s online presence should definitely be on your list of job hunt to-dos. You’ll not only gain valuable info to use in cover letters and interviews, you’ll also get noticed, and maybe get closer to getting hired.
“It’s hard to stand out in a noisy world,” says Joanne Tombrakos, a writer, personal brand advisor and adjunct professor at NYU. “It’s hard to get past the gatekeepers anymore. Online engagement offers a venue to do both.”
Make a Good First Impression
Before you start engaging with brands, be sure your profiles show you in the best possible light. “First impressions still count,” says Tombrakos. “And more often than not, they are happening online.”
“You have to think digital first,” says Tombrakos. “Whether it’s a human resource director or a potential customer, the first thing any of us do in today’s world when we want to know more about someone or something is search for them online.”
Make sure your online presence is going to impress hiring managers with a clean headshot, a succinct bio and absolutely no controversial photos, posts or videos.
Follow the Leaders
After your social presence is presentable, start following brands on Twitter, LinkedIn and other channels where they have a presence.
“LinkedIn is the logical choice since it is all about business,” says Tombrakos. “You can follow companies, the CEO if they’re blogging on the platform or see if any of your connections can introduce you to someone who can help your cause. But Twitter is the overlooked secret. It’s a treasure trove of research.”
Tombrakos also says which social channels to follow will also depend on the industry. “A young tech company or digital shop may be all over Snapchat,” she says, “in which case, go there.”
After you’re following a company’s brand online, the next step—before engaging—is listening.
“People think social media is all about talking, but it’s also about listening,” says Tombrakos. “You can learn so much about the brand and the people who work there from social media. That can help you stand out and make you better prepared for the interviews you seek.”
“See what they’re saying, what they’re sharing and use that information to your advantage,” Tombrakos recommends.
And Finally, Engage
Once you have an idea of what the company shares, and what they’re talking about, then you can begin to engage with the brand. “Look for opportunities to engage. A comment on a blog post. A retweet with a personalized comment,” says Tombrakos.
Many businesses will hold conferences or events open to industry professionals like yourself. Keep an eye out for these events as brands post about them in their social channels, and attend so you can engage further in person.
But Don’t Go Overboard
It’s important to remember that, just like in your offline life, it’s possible to go overboard with engagement.
“To engage means to be human,” says Tombrakos. “A lot of people forget that. So they try and use new technology with old school push marketing methods. It may or may not be stalker-y, but it’s definitely annoying. And annoying won’t get you hired.”