Social media began as a light-hearted and fun way to stay in touch with friends and family, but today it has evolved into a global communication network and an indispensable job search tool as more and more recruiters and candidates use social networks for recruitment purposes. SHRM found that over 84% of organisations are using social media to recruit talent. With this in mind, it makes sense to utilise the vast potential of social media during your next job search. Even if you don’t have social media accounts for personal use, it’s worthwhile creating a professional profile to increase your visibility, network with people in your industry and identify potential job opportunities.
It is safe to assume that most employers will check your social media profiles before inviting you to a job interview. To get an idea of how your online presence might appear from the outside, Google yourself and your social media usernames in incognito mode. Clean up any photos or old Facebook posts that could chase away potential employers, and consider adjusting your privacy settings to keep personal information and photos private. Your profile photo and cover photo will always remain visible even if you use high levels of privacy settings, so make sure you’re happy with these.
Create a profile
If you haven’t got one already, consider creating a LinkedIn profile to connect with potential employers, colleagues and others in your field. LinkedIn is the most prolific and widely used social media platform for recruitment purposes. When creating your profile, try to paint yourself in a positive and professional light by including important information such as a professional summary, your educational and professional background, and a list of any notable skills or achievements you possess.
Clean up your existing accounts
For many of us, our personal Facebook and Twitter accounts hold archives of embarrassing photographs from decades past. Use this opportunity to review your existing social media accounts and remove anything that may portray you in a not-so-employable manner. Many people opt for creating two separate profiles: one for their personal life, and one for their professional interests. The latter should contain only professional information about yourself, and posts should be focused on your career or industry-related content.
Less is more
Rather than trying to become active on every social media platform, focus your time on maintaining one or two accounts. According to a survey by LiveCareer, Facebook and LinkedIn are the most important social media platforms for recruitment purposes. If you have social media accounts that you’ve been neglecting for a while, such as Twitter or Instagram, now would be a good time to temporarily deactivate or delete these accounts. It’s crucial that you remain consistent across your social media platforms, too. Your social media presence doesn’t need to be an exact replica of your CV, but if your LinkedIn profile mentions that you have two recent years of experience in the engineering sector, but your Facebook posts talk about your ongoing ten-year interior design career, recruiters are going to see that something doesn’t add up!
Networking is key
Social networking is a fantastic way to stay connected to people within your industry who can help you out during your recruitment journey and help you stay up to date with news and ideas related to your industry. To build your network, search for current and previous employees, employers, friends and friends from university who are within similar industries as you. Like and share posts that your connections have written, and make a point of congratulating them on their achievements (social media karma is good - what goes around comes around). To further your network, consider joining Facebook and LinkedIn groups that are related to your career, as many of these groups often post job opportunities.
If you’re not already aware of LinkedIn’s endorsement feature, it allows you to include a section of personal testimonials or references written by your connections. This can be from a colleague, customer or even friends. These endorsements give prospective employers a good indication of your professional skills and credibility. LinkedIn suggests that people with at least five skills endorsed are more likely to receive 17x more profile views.
Research potential employers
Social media can be a powerful research tool. Research the social media profiles of potential employers to find up-to-date information that may be excluded from their website; this will often give you a valuable insight into the culture of a company. Most candidates will only skim the company’s website to get a sense of who they are and what they do, but by engaging with their social media channels, reading their blogs, posts and even connecting with the LinkedIn profiles of company leaders, this will show that you went the extra mile during the job interview since you’ll have the most current knowledge on the company.
Most importantly, search for job vacancies
Now that you have everything set up on your social media profiles, it’s time to put yourself out there! LinkedIn’s jobs section, industry-based Facebook groups, and even Twitter hashtags are all great tools for searching for job vacancies. LinkedIn is particularly useful when searching for job vacancies as the site has an ‘Easy Apply’ function, allowing you to quickly submit your CV to employers. Job listings that correspond to your interests will appear first, and individuals in your network who are able to refer you for these jobs will also appear. A list of your connections working for hiring companies will be noted, too, giving you the opportunity to get in touch with them about the position.
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