How to Utilise Social Media to Enhance Your Job Search1st December 2015 | George Atkins
Social media, since its inception in the mid-‘00s, remains one of the best tools for job seekers out there. Many employers regularly use Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn (to name a few) to seek out and engage with potential job candidates, often using social media profiles to obtain ‘background research’ on an individual’s personality and work ethic. It is uncommon to find a job applicant without some level of social media presence in the modern age; it can help you craft a convincing digital portrait of yourself and, if used optimally, can be used to highlight your positive attributes to employers and get that all-important interview or even job offer. So, without further ado, here are our top tips for fully utilising social media to improve the efficiency of your job search.
Try to Appear ‘Authentic’, Not Just as a ‘Work Robot’
Authenticity is paramount when using social media; you want to come across as a credible socialite with interests and hobbies, as well as a hard-working, professional employee. Let’s view this from an employer’s perspective; they want to hire someone who is a hard-worker and dedicated to their craft, but also someone who will ‘get along’ with other employees and project a positive image of the company whenever he/ she is communicating with clients or the public, for instance. Additionally, showing your wide network of contacts through social media is a good sign to employers for this same reason, that you are a good communicator and an easy person to work with. LinkedIn, especially, is ideal for showcasing this contact network, with the professionally-built profile page sections helping you give the best possible impression to potential employers.
When Merging Your ‘Business’ and ‘Personal’ Accounts, Do so With Caution!
If you are going to use the same accounts when job searching, just keep in mind who will be looking at your profile! If you are applying for work in the creative sector, for instance, featuring information of you that eludes to your hobbies and interests (or even ‘social life’) then this might actually improve your chances of giving a good impression to employers. However, consider creating a separate account if you want to establish a strictly-professional work image for a strictly corporate role, for instance. If you do want to merge your accounts, or keep using your personal profile, remember to do the following...
Be Sure to Change Your Privacy Settings
If you don’t want someone trawling through your holidays snaps from ‘Corfu 07’ then it might be a good idea to change your privacy settings, only enabling your friends to view your tweets, posts and personal content. Facebook especially allows for highly customised profile privacy settings, even allowing you to display content to certain individuals. Additionally, with the newly-added ‘professional skills’ section of your profile, you can now aim directly at employers with your Facebook page as well. Keep in mind however that blocking others from viewing your entire profile is not actually a good idea; a ‘good’, well-kept social media page can add value to you as a viable job candidate, so be sure to include hobbies and certain work achievements that may be of interest to potential employers or co-workers. As before, put yourself in the employer’s position and think about what YOU would want to see from a prospective applicant for a specific role in your company.
Like and Follow Companies You Want to Work For/ Are Interested In
This is networking 101; subscribing to a company’s social media pages is an easy way to communicate with employers one-on-one, whilst showing that you have an interest in the service that they provide, setting you up for potential employment in the future. Additionally, following these pages enables you to keep up-to-date with any jobs being advertised and shows what is required for each role (information which you can craftily use to alter your personal profile, making you appear to be an excellent candidate). Twitter, especially, is usually where most companies communicate with the masses, with a constant stream of new, relevant and/ or interesting information being shared often on a daily basis. Additionally, using ‘hashtags’ on Twitter (such as ‘#jobs’ or ‘#vacancies’), you might be able to find out which companies are hiring, communicate with directly with them, sharing your social medial links (e.g. LinkedIn) for their consideration.
Keep Employers in Mind Whilst Posting Statuses
Being savvy with your posting decisions on social media is crucial if you are to instil potential employers with confidence. As mentioned, displaying passion for your interests and leaving peer-to-peer exchanges on your page is not necessarily a bad thing and helps to create a more three-dimensional persona online. If you are however in any doubt of how a particular status or comment will be received by an individual or employer, then don’t post it! It’s better to be safe than sorry and a seemingly innocent comment about a co-worker or boss will reflect poorly on your professional image.
Use different social networking mediums to attract an employer’s attention
Job applications need not be boring; if anything the opposite is true, especially if you are willing to ‘think outside the box’. You need not only use text-based communication to grab an employer’s attention through social media, other options are also available. For example, ‘video CVs’ using Youtube such as this one are a great way of showing your creativity whilst communicating with companies which, if used in conjunction with traditional CVs and/ or resumes, can be incredibly effective. Also, using other forms of visual media such as photographs may also enhance your job search effectiveness; Instagram is of course a wildly-popular social media site mainly based around sharing photos and videos in a creative, clean manner. Used in addition to your ‘traditional’ forms of job search documents could yield impressive results on the job front!