Written by Megan Denny
Billions of people around the world use social media every day – including hiring managers at dive shops, liveaboard operators, and all the big names in the dive industry. Learn how to optimize your LinkedIn and Facebook profiles to land that dream job in scuba.
We’ll get to profile tips in a moment; the first step is to assess the scene. Social media gives job-seekers important insights into a company’s culture and values. Before you can transform your profile into that of an ideal job candidate, it’s important to know what sort of person a company wants to hire.
Research Potential Employers
Take a deep dive into the online profiles of companies you’d like to work for (and their staff when possible). Don’t Like or Follow these businesses just yet – especially if your personal profile hasn’t been “tuned” for hiring managers.
Write down a few things about the company: its values, their gear / courses / products, and notes about the staff if possible. Maybe the manager likes the same football team you do, or the owner loves horror movies. Knowing these things can give you an edge over another job candidate with similar skills.
Speaking of skills: think about your diving and non-diving experience and how you might help the business grow. For example: if the shop isn’t very active on social media and you love shooting photos and video, that’s a big plus. Or maybe the business doesn’t currently cater to families, but you have experience managing a kids’ camp.
Next, head over to the Employment Board on the PADI Pros’ Site. See what jobs are available, what skills employers are looking for, and who your competition is. You may find the best place for inspiration is the PADI Pros Looking for Employment section. Take lots of notes, because the next step is to create / edit your own profile.
Tune-Up Your LinkedIn Profile
Your LinkedIn profile is essentially your online CV / resume. If you don’t have a LinkedIn profile, create one! Approximately 95% of hiring managers search for candidates on LinkedIn and 93% use it to vet potential hires before they interview.
When filling out the Summary and Experience sections, refer to your notes about what companies are looking for in an employee. Use the same language when possible. Imagine one of those employers reading your profile and thinking, “this is exactly the person we’re looking for!”
Ask for Endorsements from previous employers and co-workers. When logged in to your profile, visit this page. LinkedIn allows you to message to up three people from your network and ask for a recommendation. In the message copy, ask them to write about one or two specific skills related to the scuba job you’re seeking. This will help your friend know what to write about and make your profile more attractive to employers.
When your LinkedIn profile is complete, add a link to it in to your email signature. Speaking of which: if your email is firstname.lastname@example.org consider creating a more professional email address where employers can contact you. Which leads us to our next topic…
Facebook: Go Public and Keep it Clean
Hiring managers increasingly check out the Facebook profiles of potential hires, so be sure yours is ready for inspection. If you have a gated profile, open it up or start making more public posts. Facebook is a one of the best ways to showcase what a fun and loveable person you are.
First, go through your profile and remove anything you wouldn’t want your mom, a police officer, or a judge to see. Remove anything overtly political, and correct any spelling or grammar mistakes.
Post public pics and video of you doing the things you’d like potential employers to know about. For example:
– If you speak Chinese, post pics of yourself with smiling Chinese diving students.
– Upload a pic or video of you driving a boat.
– Post a video of you using the company’s products, or servicing the equipment they carry.
Even if you’re camera shy, it’s important to put yourself out there. When employers start to see your face regularly, maybe even hear from you on video, they get to know you. Imagine yourself in a hiring manager’s shoes: would you rather hire a stranger or a friend?
Okay, what if you don’t have any special skills? What if you’re new to diving industry or looking to land your first job ever.
– Take classes to grow your skill set: equipment repair, photography, video editing, etc.-
– Practice shooting photos and video at local dive sites
– Post about common interests you share with staff: football, cats, Game of Thrones, etc.
– Volunteer: organize a beach clean-up, throw a Bubblemaker birthday party
Now that your profile showcases your ideal self, follow companies you’d like to work for and perhaps their staff. Start by ‘liking’ the company’s posts on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and leaving thoughtful comments. When appropriate, establish yourself as a scuba guru by ID-ing a fish, sharing feedback about equipment, or the best time to visit XYZ dive site. Don’t make your first engagement, “hey, are you guys hiring?”
If your job search is more global in nature, try LinkedIn Groups to connect with potential employers. There are half a dozen groups related to PADI, PADI Members and PADI Instructors*. With LinkedIn groups you can also post discussion topics in addition to commenting. * None of these groups are run by PADI.
When you do decide to “pop the question,” ensure you’re using the right channel. For example: sending a direct message to PADI asking, “are you hiring?” doesn’t make a good first impression (we post job openings at PADI on our website with clear directions on how to apply).
Other “DON’Ts” for Applicants on Social Media
Don’t: get tagged in embarrassing pics or post any of yourself.
Don’t: make political statements.
Don’t: have contradicting information in your profiles.
Don’t: include skills in your profile you don’t want to perform.
Don’t: set up a profile on every platform (unless you have time to maintain them all).
If you’re looking for a job in the dive industry, LinkedIn and Facebook are a must. If you can write, setup a blog. If you love shooting photos or video, get active on Instagram or YouTube, and be sure these accounts can be found from your LinkedIn and Facebook profiles.
The bottom line: social media is a key part of the hiring process. You can learn a lot about a company you’d like to work for, and they can get to know you. When it comes time for the interview, it won’t be two strangers meeting, it will be two friends.