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7 Job Search Tools To Help You Land a Role in Social Media Marketing

Job search tools for social media careers

Work Life

07 Jun 2024 • 10 min read •

Ellie Innis

A job search can feel like a full-time job in itself. First, there's finding the jobs: sifting through job descriptions to find the roles you're qualified for and excited about. Then there are the application materials, which must be professional...but also full of personality. Then there are the extras, like portfolios, video recordings, invitations to connect, and follow-up emails.

With the right toolkit, you can stand out and stay organized throughout all of these steps. In this round-up of essential job search tools, we'll cover:

  • LinkedIn for optimizing your professional brand 
  • TikTok, Instagram, and other social channels for sharing your work and networking
  • ChatGPT for tailoring your resume and cover letter
  • Grammarly for perfecting your application materials and correspondence
  • Canva for creating a portfolio and other creative application components
  • A DIY application tracker to help you keep track of all your applications
  • The power of your network 

Let’s get you set up for success on your social media marketing job hunt.

1. LinkedIn

LinkedIn is the professional networking platform, so it’s a no-brainer tool in your job search. Instagram, Twitter, TikTok — these are the channels people visit to find out what you’re about as a person. LinkedIn is where talent acquisition teams go to find out what you’re about as a professional.

LinkedIn acts as a giant rolodex. It’s standard practice for recruiters and hiring managers to use the platform when they’re on the hunt for someone to fill a role. True to its name, it’s also a powerful channel to connect with people in your industry and forge contacts that might come in handy later.

During a job search, it’s important to have a complete, polished LinkedIn profile. At a baseline, this means adding a headshot and listing your complete education and work experience.

But that’s just at a baseline — there’s a lot more you can do to develop your presence and optimize your LinkedIn profile for the job search. Here are a few ways:

Use a targeted headline

Headlines aren’t just for listing your current job. Many LinkedIn users include past positions, a short description of what they bring to the table, and often a dash of personality to add sparkle. Your headline shows up anywhere you post or comment on LinkedIn, so it’s high-value real estate. Especially because it’s searchable, meaning the text should match the type of queries people are plugging into LinkedIn or Google when they’re searching for candidates.

LinkedIn headline exampleExample of a strong LinkedIn headline from social media manager Stephanie So

Start by including your current role or the role you’re looking to land, like “social media manager.” Then add something that distinguishes you from the other candidates, like an accomplishment from a past job, a list of your specializations, or a description of your expertise. It might look like:

Optimize your About section

Don’t miss this opportunity to talk yourself up! The About section gives you 2,600 characters to craft a narrative about who you are and what you do. Think of it as a professional summary, but keep it short and scannable, and use a conversational tone. A little bit of personality won’t hurt here.

In your LinkedIn About section, you can write about:
  • Your work experience, including any milestone projects or accomplishments
  • Your specialization or expertise, like brand social or influencer marketing
  • Your strategic point of view on the industry  

Share Featured content

LinkedIn allows you to add highlights of your work in a Featured content section. You can add anything you’re proud of, including a LinkedIn post or article, a link, or a document.

LinkedIn featured content exampleExample of a strong LinkedIn Featured content section from social media manager Stephanie So

You could link to examples of your work on other social media channels, a case study or other strategic document, or a LinkedIn post where you talk about the state of social media. Share a mix of content to show your wide range of skills.

Reinforce your work experience

Are you starting to see a pattern? Anywhere you can add text to your LinkedIn profile is a chance to show up in someone’s search.

Your LinkedIn work experience section shouldn’t read as a copy-pasted resume. A resume is the up-close view of your work, while your LinkedIn profile is the view from 5,000 feet. Stick to 2-3 sentence descriptions or bullet points about any given role. Focus on including important skills-based keywords that relate to your industry, especially the ones in high demand.

Most importantly, use LinkedIn as a personal branding tool

LinkedIn isn’t just a networking tool — it’s the ultimate professional branding tool. In the last few years in particular people have been able to change their career trajectory just by posting consistently on LinkedIn.

LinkedIn post best practice exampleExample of the type of original content you can post on LinkedIn from Loomly's VP of Growth Marketing, Sarah Maloy

We’re not talking about old-school LinkedIn posts that share skills certifications or job updates. These days, what gets you seen on LinkedIn is original thinking. Here are a few ways to demonstrate your expertise and point of view on social media marketing:

  • Analyze a brand’s social media campaign that you admire
  • Break down a social platform update and what it means for users/creators
  • Run a test on your own social media accounts and share the data 
  • Round up your favorite sources for social media inspiration  

Just start posting. If you follow LinkedIn posting best practices, you’ll build a following. If you’re consistent and engage thoughtfully with your network, your presence will grow and you’ll be able to connect with people across the industry. Your network becomes a testament to your skills, and when hiring managers and recruiters discover your profile they’ll see someone who engages in the industry, builds community, and feels passionate about social media.

2. TikTok and Instagram DMs

Many social media marketers agree that your social expertise shouldn’t be measured by your personal accounts. But when you’re just starting and don’t have a portfolio of work, your social accounts are your portfolio. You need personal accounts to prove your chops as a creator and community builder. If you create high-quality content about a certain topic or industry and you have a great social media presence, there’s a chance you’ll get noticed by marketing teams in that space. The pipeline of creator → full-time social media hire is real.

Tips for getting your first job in social mediaOur Social Media Manager Christie shares three ways to get your first job in social media (via TikTok

Your personal socials can also be a great networking tool. You can comment and stay engaged on content from the brands you admire (and would love to work for), plus their partners. You can also connect directly with brands via DMs. Creators and influencers already do this to pitch partnerships, so who’s to say you can’t use this system to pitch brands a social strategy deck?

Note: If you want to go this bold route, make sure you do it respectfully. You don’t want to tear down a brand's existing efforts, or worse, target the work of their existing social media team. Instead, you want to demonstrate the value you can bring and how it will complement their existing work. 

Screenshot 2024-06-06 at 9.16.20 PMFlynn Slicker, Letterboxd's Social Media Manager (via TikTok)

If matching with a job on TikTok sounds like a far-out fairy tale, listen to this story about Flynn Slicker, a TikTok creator who turned her love of movies into a full-time gig at Letterboxd, a social platform for movie lovers. One repost and a well-timed email later and she's interviewing celebrities and covering Cannes. It just goes to show that personal content creation can ladder up to your next job in social media.

3. ChatGPT

ChatGPT won’t write amazing content for you (don’t, we repeat, DON’T let ChatGPT write your cover letters). But it can get you started in the right direction.

One of the simplest and best ways to use ChatGPT as a job application tool is to make it your middleman. Take a job description and prompt ChatGPT to find the main themes, core requirements, and important keywords in the description. Then use those insights to tailor your resume and cover letter; run your resume through ChatGPT and ask it to apply that keyword list to your existing work experience. Note: Don’t forget to review the ChatGPTed resume thoroughly!

ChatGPT prompt for cover letterExample of a ChatGPT prompt you can use to get started on your cover letter

This approach can save you hours otherwise spent combing through job descriptions. Most importantly, it will help you identify the important skills and expertise you need to reflect back to the company. 

Here are a few other ways you can use ChatGpt as a tool for your job applications:

  • Identify the keywords in a job description or on a company website
  • Restructure job descriptions into easy-to-digest sections so you can digest them easily
  • Compile multiple job descriptions for similar roles to help you build your resume and cover letter templates
  • Condense your work experience section into shorter phrases
  • Add action verbs to your work experience
  • Summarize your work experience into a professional summary for your resume
  • Train it to ask you interview questions based on your resume

Whenever you use ChatGPT, proceed with caution. Use it as a source of inspiration, and never copy and paste exactly what it spits out. Many employers, especially digital marketers, are getting wise to ChatGPT’s way of writing. They might throw out a resume or cover letter that reads like classic AI.

4. Grammarly

Writing is one of the fundamental skills you need to bring to every role in the business world. But you’re not just looking for any old role – you’re looking for a social media marketing position. You’re applying to be one of the outward communicators for the organization. On-point, error-free communication is essential. Bad communication, like spelling mistakes, overly formal writing, mismatched tone, and complicated language, is an immediate red flag.

Grammarly exampleExample of Grammarly's suggestions on a template cover letter

Grammarly is the best, most basic way to beef up your application writing. The free version does the essentials: it checks for spelling mistakes and typos and monitors tone. Paid versions get you more do-it-for-you features, like sentence rewriting and recommendations to change the tone of a piece. Whichever you go with, it will integrate with any app you’re writing in, including Chrome, Google Docs, Microsoft Word, and LinkedIn.

Here are a few common job app writing issues that Grammarly can help with:

  • Spelling mistakes: When hiring managers review tons of resumes, even one typo could put yours in the no pile.
  • Match your tone to the brand and job description: Sometimes you should be formal, sometimes you should be loose, and sometimes you need to find the sweet spot in between.
  • Simplify complicated phrases: Resumes can easily become garbled if you pack in too much information
  • Flag complex words: There’s a time and place to use words like “eventuated” or “interpolated” — your resume probably isn’t one of them.

Don't want the trouble of downloading dedicated software? You can also ask ChatGPT to review your application materials for typos, mistakes, and opportunities to rephrase. There are a couple of downsides to this approach. ChatGPT won't catch everything, and copying and pasting all of your content through ChatGPT, including emails and social posts, can become burdensome. But this is a good workaround if you just want a second eye on your application.

5. Canva

Most social media job applications require a portfolio or evidence of what you’re capable of bringing to life on social media. If you want to stand out, your portfolio shouldn’t just be a list of links. That makes your application reviewer do too much work. Instead of sending them to different social channels to discover your work, lay it out for them on the page. Your portfolio should add context to your work, explaining what role you played in creating it, and how you went from concept to posting.

Canva portfolio templateExample of a portfolio template you can customize on Canva

You’ll need some kind of design tool to accomplish this so you can lay out images and text together. Our favorite option is Canva. There’s a free base plan that gets you access to the most essential design tools. Compared to other design software, like Adobe Creative Suite, the paid Canva Pro plan is miles less expensive.

While you can go above and beyond by creating a portfolio website, it gets expensive to keep hosting it. With Canva you can create a PDF that’s easy to package, send, and access. Plus you can repurpose your portfolio designs as needed by resizing or copying elements onto a different page. Even if you choose to create a website, you can still use Canva to design case studies and work samples for your website pages.

Here are a few ways Canva makes it easy to design content for your job applications:

  • Customize a pre-set template or create your own portfolio template with your personal branding, including color schemes and fonts.
  • Drag and drop design is incredibly intuitive and easy to use
  • Add screenshots of your work and add text to describe it
  • Use mockups to add a polished look, such as phone or laptop screens
  • Use social media templates to create perfectly sized content like LinkedIn carousel posts

6. Application tracker

If you’re on a job hunt, you’re probably applying to several positions at once. Between all the customized resumes, cover letters, job descriptions, follow-ups, etc it’s going to be hard to keep track of everything. An application tracker can help you stay on top of it all.

It’s fine to go DIY for this tool. You can create a spreadsheet with all the categories you need to keep track of regarding your applications. When you do it yourself, you can customize the sheet however you like (and add some personalization that keeps you motivated). 

Here are are the basic columns you should include in your DIY application tracker:

  • Role
  • Job description and application URL
  • Job location 
  • Remote / hybrid / in-office
  • Salary range
  • Company name and website URL
  • Industry / What the company does
  • Hiring manager / Point of contact
  • Priority level (how much do you want the job?)

Then, you’ll create the actual tracking columns. This is where you’ll check off what parts of the application process have been completed and submitted. For each application, you can start by marking which application materials are required. As you create and submit them, you can mark them as completed. This is a great way to assess which applications require a heavier lift so you can tackle them in the right order.

  • Resume 
  • Cover letter 
  • Portfolio
  • Application questions
  • References
  • Video

Next, you’ll want to track how your application is progressing. Create custom columns to help you keep track of progress like:

  • If you’ve followed up with a point of contact
  • If you have an Interview(s) scheduled
  • If you’ve received no response (after a certain amount of time)
  • If you’ve been rejected

If you don’t want to do all this, you can use an application management tool like Teal. The free version actually has substantial features, like application tracking and AI resume tailoring. There’s a Chrome plug-in so you can save jobs that you see on a job board, like LinkedIn, and remember to apply later.

7. Your network

Is your network really a tool? When it comes to job applications, yes, one million times yes. If you take anything from this article, make it the knowledge that your network has the power to get you a job unlike any of these tools.

Anyone and everyone you meet in your life could be a potential job connection. But that’s a lot of pressure. So think of it this way: you’re never that far from connecting with someone who could put in a good word for you at your dream job. With LinkedIn and other social networking apps, this is even more true.

According to Aptitude Research, 84% of companies use employee referral programs. But referrals don’t just have to be old colleagues. A solid network can include:

  • Social media connections and fellow creators
  • Former classmates and school alumni
  • People in your town or city
  • Industry peers and leaders who you’ve reached out to

The key is this: Don’t wait to build your network until you need it. It’s possible, of course, but even better if you approach your network as something you never stop nurturing. There is no stronger component of a successful job search than your network.

Wrapping up

Job searches are changing quickly as social media plays an increased role in platforming and connecting people. As a social media marketer, your skills in content creation and branding make you well-positioned to stay at the front of the pack. This toolkit will help you stand out and stay organized when your job search ramps up.

Ultimately, the best way to show up to recruiters and hiring managers is to show up for yourself. Start building and documenting your professional brand, and nurture your network continuously. The work you put into your own social presence will help you stand out when it's time to find a job. 

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