Using your social media networks to job hunt is a two-way street. Social media is an extremely powerful tool for promoting your skills and making contact with recruiters and potential employers. But, as you go online to research prospective employers and educate yourself about potential interviewers, you can be certain that they will be checking out your social media activity too.
The utilisation of social media in the recruitment world is growing all the time. An Adweek report suggests that 92% of recruiters use social media to research applicants and find the best contender for the job. 87% are using Linkedin, 55% are using Facebook and 47% are using Twitter. [This is from 2015. We can’t say that social media is growing with this as evidence, particularly in a field that changes as quickly as social media.]
Social media should be a major component of your job search strategy - networking sites have become an indispensable resources for promoting skills, identifying job opportunities and networking with peers.
Unlike the other major social networks such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, which are focused on social networking, LinkedIn’s primary service is professional networking.
LinkedIn is the number one social media platform for job seekers, used by half a billion members worldwide.
Prior to the launch of LinkedIn in 2003, a job seeker’s resume was really only seen by people they sent it to directly, or by recruiters who paid for access to the candidate database of a recruitment website.
Today, LinkedIn enables you to easily upload your resume, and skills online and into the public domain and provides a platform to network with other professionals, companies and recruiters.
If you are actively job seeking, it is critical to have a professional and compelling Linkedin profile. If you want to appear on a recruiter’s radar, then you need to ensure that your profile ticks the boxes below:
Include a recent, professional-looking photo
Okay, it’s not Tinder, but you don’t want your interviewer’s first impression to be “you look nothing like your LinkedIn photo”. Your first 7 seconds are critical when it comes to first impressions.
Pay special attention to the first two lines of your summary
Most readers will only see the first 90 characters when viewing your LinkedIn profile on mobile devices, so it is essential that you use those words to capture their attention.
Write a brief description for each of your roles
It is advisable to just list the key/top-line responsibilities from your previous roles as job titles can have quite different responsibilities in different companies.
Avoid slang, emojis, overused buzz words and tired business jargon
Rockstar chiropractor. Developer ninja. Customer guru.Admin wizard. JJJ. Enough said.
Consider this statement: “I’m a strategic thinker with strong interpersonal skills, adept at delivering collaborative solutions within an agile team environment.”
Recruiters often have hundreds of resumes to read for a single job so it is critical that you do everything you can to stand out from the crowd. The characteristics in the statement above really to everyone. Show your personal attributes using real life anecdotes, don’t tell.
Include relevant search terms in your summary and job descriptions
Recruiters use specific search terms and industry sectors so be sure to think about which ones are relevant to you and include them in your profile. You’ll pop up in more searches, and higher visibility means more job opportunities.
Click Jobs on the top toolbar, enter your job title or job position, and then click the blue Search button. Review the details of the postings and look for critical keywords that you want to include in your profile or in future searches you perform. For example, if you are a beer taster, you might want to include terms such as ‘drinks taster’, ‘product taster’ and ‘craft beer.’
Notify recruiters that you are open to new job opportunities
Select the On option under let recruiters know you’re open, which you will find in the Career interests section of your profile’s private dashboard. This section is only viewable by recruiters so you need not be concerned that your current employer will be able to find out that you are job hunting.
As well as enabling you to put your resume in the public domain, LinkedIn offers some other useful features, such as ‘recommendations’. This is essentially an online reference.
LinkedIn allows you to include personal testimonials. Recruiters like nothing better than to hear it from ‘the horse’s mouth’, so be sure to ask friendly colleagues and clients to write a few positive words about your skills on your LinkedIn page. A compelling third-party endorsement will improve your standing against your peer group.
Despite evidence of a growing backlash against social media, a gargantuan 2.23 billion people still choose to use Facebook on a regular basis.
Facebook is a relatively informal medium, and arguably not an ideal forum for job seekers. However, it can be useful as a simple way to reach out to a large number of people for professional counselling, intelligence and advice. It is also a useful resource for information on both individuals and companies.
But be warned, recruiters and companies are also accessing Facebook to vet you. In addition, employers, both current and prospective, have become extremely sensitive to their employees’ online comments.
Take the infamous 2015 case of Texan woman Kaitlyn Walls, who was fired before even starting her new job at a day-care centre. “I start my new job today,” the recruit posted on Facebook, “but I absolutely hate working at day-care. LOL it’s all good I just really hate being around a lot of kids.”
Or Great Western Hospital staff in Swindon, England who were suspended for playing Facebook’s ‘Lying Down Game ’while on the job.
As a general rule of thumb, don’t post a comment or photo online that you wouldn’t mind seeing on the front page of a national newspaper. When in doubt, don’t.
Twitter is an extremely powerful networking platform where users can express opinions and exchange comment – US President Donald Trump is a prime example. It has revolutionised public relations, particularly for celebrities and politicians, as it provides them a direct conduit for dropping news to the public and bypassing traditional media outlets such as television and newspapers.
Even if you’re not famous, Twitter is still one of the most valuable communication tools on the internet. It allows you to meet and interact directly with influential people in your field. It is also an ideal platform to build a profile as a ‘thought leader’ for your industry.
A few words of caution. Before proclaiming to the world that you are your ‘authentic self’ on Twitter, take a moment to think about how your opinions might align with your day job.
Remain in control
There is no doubt the world of social media has opened up channels for job seekers, leading to better awareness and visibility. At the same time, recruiters will be checking your profiles on various platforms. What you post on social media cansee you miss out on the job of your dreams. Follow the simple dos and don’ts above and make social media work for you.