The social recruiting trend has gone through the roof in the last couple of years, so much so that minding your social profiles and protecting your online reputation has become not so much an "extra" but a necessity. The majority of companies, large and small, are checking Facebook and Twitter at a minimum to gauge their potential new hires as a "social background check".

With more companies recruiting through social channels, it logically follows that the more savvy job seekers are also using them to find jobs. It's at this point that only the smart move forward. Finding the listings and keeping tabs on openings are as easy as typing a Google search in and following Twitter feeds. To outplay your opponents who are vying for the same positions in the the same company, you need to socially out-think them. Let me help you with that.

1. Learn to Love LinkedIn
You're probably already on LinkedIn (please tell me you are), but unless you're part of a small minority you aren't really using it to it's full potential. Remedy that today. Yes, you need to complete your profile, polish it up, and choose and use the right keywords in it, but that's rather obvious isn't it? How many groups in your field have you joined? How many of those are you actively participating in? Most importantly, what are you sharing with them?

LinkedIn is seeing a huge surge right now with an average of two signups every second, and they're target goal is 3 billion active users. Notice the word 'active' there. If you aren't even in the 3 billion active users, what are the chances of you standing out? Somewhere between zilch and nada.

2. Build a Coalition
Everyone will tell you to network, network, network, and they're right. But with whom? Connections are fairly useless unless there is a specific reason you've connected with them. You want to connect with others in your field. You need to connect with those who hold some influence in your field - whether that's in a certain company or even just online. You're building a coalition of potential supporters who will lift you up, support you, and praise you openly - where your dream employer will be able to see it.

Of course, praise doesn't come from nothing. In the process of building your coalition, make sure that you are offering them as much praise, noteworthy and useful information, and positive constructive criticism as you can muster. They need a reason to believe that you are someone worth taking note of. Give it to them. That could be in the form of insights to industry news, advice that you're qualified to give, or simple comments on their posts or blogs (hint: "Great article!" is not a noteworthy comment)

3. Tell Them Something New
You should be writing blog posts about your industry, but regurgitating the same information they've already seen will be passed over. Offer insightful information that they may not have considered. Give specific examples of how information can or has affected businesses and people at a micro level. In short, be interesting. Unfortunately (but fortunately for you), most people aren't.

4. Build Relationships
Once you have a decent coalition built, identify key players in the organization where you want to work within your connections and do something unheard of: talk to them. Get to know them, keeping things on a professional level but with a personal touch. If they believe you are knowledgeable, insightful, interesting, and personable, you've just developed a strong ally. Use that to your advantage - but don't ever cross that fine line between using a relationship and using a person. That's a fast and hard fall.

5. Ask
Would you be nervous or fearful about asking a friend for help with something? Probably not. Guess what? The process outlined above will give you friends that will help you, but you may have to ask for that help. You should fearlessly and publicly let it be known that you want to work for Company X (without being overbearing or obnoxious), but it's still possible that they won't notice you even if you do everything right. At that point it's time to enlist your friends.

Ask them who you should get in touch with. What are they like? What's the best way to approach them or introduce yourself? What are they looking for (the more specifics the better) in a new hire? What should you avoid? The more information you have, the better. Just don't act like a stalker.

6. Make your Move
Once all of this done and done well, you should have no fear about confidently contacting the right person in the organization and telling them that you are ready to start working for them. Don't ask like a small child hoping for a candy bar from the store. But don't be arrogant either. Confidence and arrogance are not the same thing, contrary to popular opinion.

If -if - you have gone through these steps and done them right, you are in a better position (socially speaking) than you will ever be to ask for the job. That doesn't mean you'll get it of course, but it does mean that you have a much better chance than otherwise. And don't forget that all of these things will make you attractive to any organization, so if your dream employer does happen to say no, there may be a line of others behind them bidding on you.

About Socialty:

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Socialty is a full-service social media marketing and social recruiting agency in Chicago.  We create content, websites, blog posts, email marketing and strategic marketing plans for small and medium size businesses. Our social recruiting team helps you attract talented candidates via social media outlets.  Socialty connects you to your audience and potential employees.  We'll keep you social while you carry on with your business.  Keep Social and Carry On!