Job Seekers: Social Media is Even More Important Than You Thought
Most job seekers know everything there is about the important aspects of a successful job search, such as writing high quality resumes and cover letters, how to reach out to recruiters, how to prepare for interviews, the most common interview questions, how to follow up after interviews, and all other job hunting basics. Smart job seekers also know that social media plays some role in their job search.
Even then, most don’t consider social media as an important aspect of their job search.
They consider social media as a nice-to-have, something that gives them a slight advantage over other candidates.
If you treat social media as an afterthought during your job search, I hate to break the news, but social media is a lot more important to your job search than you thought.
Social media has revolutionized how we communicate and connect with others. Currently, there are about 2.6 billion social media users in the world according to social media statistics, which is about a third of the world’s population.
Despite this impressive penetration of social media, most people only use it as a platform for personal use. Many do not realize that it can also be an important tool for your professional life, and especially for your job search.
With such a huge number of people on social media, recruiters are turning to social media to find, connect with and vet talent. According to a study conducted by SHRM, 84% of companies are already using social media for hiring, and 9% of those who have not started using social media for hiring are planning to.
According to another survey conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder, 70% of employers check the social media profiles of candidates, with 57% being less likely to interview a candidate with no online presence and 54% failing to hire a candidate because of the candidate’s social media profiles.
Recruiting through social media has become so important that 30% of employers have HR personnel dedicated to social recruiting.
With employers paying so much attention to social media when it comes to hiring, you cannot afford to ignore using social media in your job search.
HOW SOCIAL MEDIA CAN HELP YOU IN YOUR JOB SEARCH
Social media provides you with great opportunities to find the job of your dream compared to traditional job search methods. Through social media, you can connect with thousands of people who can help open doors for you to advance your career.
It also gives you access to a huge pool of companies that may be interested in hiring you and allows you to showcase your expertise to these companies.
Below are some of the different ways through which social media can improve your job search.
This means that the companies already have an idea about the candidates they want to hire even before an open position comes up. If you wait for jobs openings to be advertised, you might wait forever.
Luckily, social media allows you to advertise yourself and attract the attention of employers even before they start looking for talent.
By posting quality content related to your industry and sharing industry insights, you can manage your brand and position yourself as an expert in your industry. If you had already connected with the companies you would like to work for, you will be on their radar, and once they decide to hire someone, you will be already on their minds.
In addition, social media allows you to stand out from other candidates. LinkedIn in particular is very popular with employers.
According to a study by Jobcast, more than 93% of organizations rely on LinkedIn to find and recruit new talent.
At the same time, only 36% of job seekers actually have a profile on LinkedIn, and only 14% of these are active on the platform. Maintaining an active profile on the platform can give you an edge over a huge portion of other job seekers.
Find Job Opportunities
Social media also allows you to find information about open job opportunities. According to a study by the Aberdeen Group, 73% of millennials used social media to find their last job position.
So, how can social media help you find job opportunities?
Like I mentioned above, most job openings do not get advertised. Instead, information about these openings is spread through word of mouth. Social media is today’s word-of-mouth.
Your network of social media friends can help you find job opportunities by sharing information about open positions in their organization, the same way friends do when you meet in real life. If they know that you are searching for a job, these friends can also recommend you for an open position in their organizations.
Finding jobs through social media is not restricted to unadvertised jobs. Even in cases where the company chooses to advertise a job opening, one of the places they advertise these openings is on company social media profiles.
By following companies you are interested in working for and joining groups related to your industry, you can learn about any job openings the minute they are posted.
Social media provides you with a central place to keep track of job openings instead of having to constantly visit job boards and company websites hoping companies you are interested in have posted an opening.
Show Employers More Than What Is On Your Resume
Most recruiters today will go through your social media profiles as part of the recruitment process. The aim of doing this is to learn more about you and gain insights about you that they cannot glean from your CV.
They want to look beyond your qualifications and see other things such as your character, your personality, your passion in the industry, your soft skills, and whether you will fit into the company culture.
To do this, they don’t restrict themselves to LinkedIn, since they already know that it is automatic for you to carry yourself in a professional manner on the platform. Instead, they also look at your profiles in platforms that are more socially geared, such as Facebook and Twitter.
Through the kind of content you post and share on these profiles, how you communicate, and the attitudes you show, you can manage your reputation and present yourself as a great candidate.
Keep Up To Date With Your Industry
Social media offers you a great opportunity to network and keep yourself abreast of the latest happenings and trends within your industry.
This in turn increases your knowledge and skills within your industry and places you in a better position to get hired once you land an invitation to a job interview.
To keep up to date with your industry, you should follow and connect with experts and thought leaders within your industry and join any groups and forums related to your industry.
The posts shared by the experts and within the groups and forums can provide you with a lot of information about your industry and what you need in order to move further in your career.
Following and connecting with experts and thought leaders also provides you with an opportunity to network with them. Who knows, they might help you find your next job.
In addition, being in industry related groups and forums and having industry thought leaders as connections shows prospective employers that you are passionate and enthusiastic about your job.
Learn About Companies
Social media not only allows you to learn about job opportunities, but also gives you an opportunity to learn more about the companies you are interested in working for.
Through the companies’ social media profiles, you can learn about their values, their corporate culture, their activities and business models, their strategic plans, how they treat their employees and clients, and what clients are saying about these companies.
You can also get in touch with current and former employees and ask them to shed some light about what it is like working for these companies.
This information can help you determine if you are the right fit for these companies and if they can help you achieve your goals.
In addition, this information will help you impress the employer once you get invited to a job interview.
HOW TO LEVERAGE THE POWER OF SOCIAL MEDIA IN YOUR JOB SEARCH
We have seen that social media is an important aspect of your job search that you cannot afford to ignore.
A social media presence, or the lack thereof, can be the difference between getting hired and spending several more months searching for a job.
If you want to use social media to improve your chances of success in job hunting, however, you need more than a social media presence. You need to have a strategy on how you can leverage the power of social media to improve your chances of finding a job.
You also need to be very careful with how you present yourself on social media.
So, how do you take advantage of social media to improve your job search while avoiding any potential pitfalls?
Below are some tips on how to do this.
Present Yourself As A Professional
The first thing you need to do is to make sure your online presence paints the picture of a professional.
Remember, 70% of employers are relying on social media as a tool for screening prospects, with 54% rejecting candidates because of something they found on the candidate’s social media.
This shows that having an online presence that does not look professional can hurt your chances of getting hired. Therefore, the first thing you need to do is to clean up your social profiles. To know what information prospective employers can see about you, open an incognito tab on your browser and Google your name.
What comes up?
Will prospective employers like what they see?
If there is anything that can hurt your chances of getting hired, get rid of it. This includes things like the drunk photos from your college parties and stupid status updates.
Once you have gotten rid of the online dirt, the next thing you need to do is to go into each of your social media profiles and spruce it up. First impressions matter a lot.
According to a Jobvite report, 41%% of recruiters will judge you based on your profile photo, so you should ensure that your profile picture looks professional.
Since most social media platforms show your profile photo as a thumbnail, you should pick a photo that focuses on your head, neck, and the top of your shoulders.
You should be dressed professionally, just as you would when going to the office. Your profile photo should have a clean or monotone background. Your profile should also mention your profession, and if possible, it should also include details about your career history and a link to your online resume, website or portfolio.
If you are currently looking for a job, you can mention in your profile description. You also need to be consistent. Use the same photo and descriptions of yourself across all your social media profiles.
If you intend to use one of your social media profiles as a social account for you to share your personal stuff, you should control access to this information. The good thing is that recruiters can only see what you want them to see.
You can limit what they can see by making your posts visible to friends only in your account’s privacy settings.
Once you do this, you should also be careful who you connect with using this social profile. Only friend people you are friends with personally. If you want to connect with co-workers, do it on your professional social media profiles.
You Don’t Need An Account On Every Platform
Just because you need a social media presence does not mean that you need to create an account with each and every social media platform. Actually, this might work against you since it can be hectic remaining active and managing your presence on all these platforms.
It is a lot wiser to have professional and active profiles on one or two social media platforms instead of having a bunch of profiles that you don’t even update or check.
LinkedIn is the most important social platform for your job search, therefore you should ensure that you have a LinkedIn account. In addition, you should have a Twitter or Facebook account, or both, to show that you are a real person (is there a real person without a social media account in 2018?)
Beyond that, your choice of social media platforms should be determined by your industry. Are there some social platforms that work best for your line of work?
For instance, if you are a designer, you might need an Instagram or Pinterest account to showcase your work. Alternatively, you can use YouTube to showcase your talent or expertise.
Once you decide to join these additional platforms, use them to provide value to your followers and build a personal brand. Doing this can greatly increase your chances of getting hired.
Watch What You Share
Managing your reputation as a professional on social media goes beyond having a good looking profile. It also involves being careful about the kind of content you share on your profile.
Recruiters will form their opinion about you not only from your profile photo and qualifications, but also from your posts. Try as much as possible to share content that is relevant to your industry.
For instance, you might share articles from respectable institutions and publications within your industry, as well as videos from industry thought leaders.
This not only provides value for your connections, but also shows that you are active on that particular social media and demonstrates your passion and enthusiasm for matters related to your line of work.
You should also use your social profiles as platforms to show off your work and expertise. Upload samples of your work on your social profiles and share them with your connections or post links to your presentations or online portfolio. You can also show your expertise by sharing your well researched thoughts and opinions about trends and happenings within your industry.
Remember, social media can also be used against you in your job search. To prevent this, avoid posting stuff that might paint a bad picture of you, such as inflammatory posts about politics, adult content, abusive or profane posts, offensive content, drug related posts, negative posts opinions about your current or former employers and colleagues, and so on.
In addition, you should also avoid using poor grammar in your posts. If you are using social media as part of your job search, you should treat it with the seriousness it deserves.
Ever heard of the saying that what matters is who you know and not what you know? This saying has been part of the job hunting lexicon for so long because it is actually true.
According to experts, over 70% of jobs are found through networking. Here is where social media comes in handy. Social media is a great tool for networking. Once your social media profiles are all spruced up, it’s now time to start to start building your professional network.
You can start by friending, following and connecting with people you already know.
You should also search for and follow experts and thought leaders in your industry. Find companies you are interested in working for and follow them, and connect with these companies’ employees and executives. Look for groups and forums related to your industry and join them.
Part of networking is interacting with these people. You have to find a way of creating a rapport with them. If they are people you already know, you can drop them a message, reminding them how you know each other and generally checking up on them. If you don’t know them personally, you can build a rapport by commenting on their posts, retweeting them, and so on.
Once you have built a rapport, you can then send a polite message, asking for advice or insights or even offering to help them with something.
Networking is not only about what you can get, but what you can give as well. You should also participate in group and forum discussions. These provide you with an opportunity to interact with others within your field and at the same time show your expertise.
This way, you will be at the top of people’s minds next time a job opening comes up.
Let People Know You Are Job Searching
Don’t be afraid to let your social media connections know that you are looking for new opportunities. You can do this either by posting or tweeting about your job search, telling your connections directly (if you have already built enough rapport) or by making it obvious to anyone who visits your profile (provided doing so does not put your current employment at risk).
Your friends and connections might be aware of job opportunities that have not been advertised yet, and if they are aware that you are searching for a job, they can help you learn about these opportunities before others know about them.
Alternatively, they might refer you to these job openings even before you send your application. Making it obvious in your profile that you are searching for a job also makes it easier for prospective employers who might be researching you to reach out to you.
If you are searching for a job, you might not be paying a lot of attention to social media. However, social media is a lot more important to your job search than you think.
An increasing number of recruiters are relying on social media to find, screen and recruit talent. Social media provides you with an opportunity to advertise yourself, helps you find job opportunities, allows employers to see beyond your resume, and provides you with an opportunity to learn about companies and industry trends.
You can leverage the power of social media in your job search by presenting yourself as a professional, creating profiles on the most relevant platforms only, sharing relevant content and showcasing your expertise, building a network and letting your connections know that you are looking for new opportunities.
If you are searching for a job, it is best to be prepared on all fronts. Using social media in your job search can give you a significant competitive edge over other candidates.
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