Could social media get you your dream job?
Love it or hate it, social media is here to stay. We’ve all used it at some point, whether you’re an active user of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, or the neglectful curator of an embarrassing, yet thankfully forgotten 2006-era Myspace page; social media has been a part of most of our lives at some point or another, with Facebook notably reaching two billion users in June 2017.
It’s clear that there are no brakes on this train, so it’s no wonder that recruiters are flocking to social media in their everlasting search for promising job-seekers: 70 per cent of them in fact, according to a recent survey conducted by Harris Poll. So, how can this never-ending rise in popularity be utilised to help you find your dream job?
First things first: to successfully market yourself on social media, you’re going to have to decide which platforms you want to use. The obvious contender is LinkedIn, a social media platform specifically designed for professional networking. It sports features unlikely to appear on other platforms, such as the ability to upload your CV for everyone to see and receive a notification whenever a recruiter views your profile. Most importantly, LinkedIn has a function with which you can list your work-related skills and have your co-workers – both past and present – endorse them for all employers to see. This repertoire of references can be extremely attractive to employers. Even if you don’t have anyone to endorse you, a coherent list of your marketable skills is worth a lot, especially when used in conjunction with a strong CV.
Twitter can also be a viable option for job-searching. Many recruiters have utilised Twitter as a tool to post jobs listings in one continuous stream, while employers often use the platform as a means to advertise open vacancies. There’s little to lose and a lot to gain when it comes to following a few relevant job pages, with many of them also posting content to aid you on your venture, such as helpful tips and articles.
Using Facebook for job searching can also yield impressive results, although in this regard it’s not nearly as functional as LinkedIn and Twitter. However, Facebook does have unique advantages: customisation of business pages, for example. This allows recruiters to streamline their profiles and add sections specifically for job listings. Take a quick look around some of these types of pages and you’re likely to find a few that are almost completely identical to job boards. Pair this with the ability to receive notifications with every update and you have a versatile job-searching platform.
Whether you decide to try all three or focus your efforts on one, you should be turning your attention to these platforms.
With that in mind, what’s the best way to use them and how should you present yourself?
Presenting yourself well on social media can be tricky, especially if you’re using an account you’ve had for years. (It may be worth making another!) At the end of the day, it comes down to where you need to be professional and where you need to be yourself. Your LinkedIn profile should be 100 per cent safe for work, professional and orderly. Make it as dapper as physically possible. This is the place where you need to dot your ‘i’s and cross your ‘t’s. Make sure you use a good picture of yourself, the smarter the better. If you’re having trouble working out exactly how professional your photo should be, why not look at the pictures other people in the trade are using? What they’re wearing, their stances, that sort of thing; consider what impression you want to give an employer. Overall, you need to give careful consideration to how much of your personality you want to show. Many social media sites have the option to link your accounts on other platforms; this can be used to show off your personality with great effect, if done properly. For example, linking your Twitter account to your LinkedIn can be a fantastic idea, assuming your Twitter account is safe for employers to see. If it’s filled with controversial humour, swearing and drunk pictures… maybe not. It all comes down to moderation: you don’t want to make yourself look unemployable, sure, but censoring your personality too much can make you come across as robotic. Consider what you would be comfortable saying during a job interview. What stories you would be willing to tell, what jokes you would be willing to make, that sort of thing. If you wouldn’t say it during an interview, you shouldn’t make it viewable for the employer to see. It’s also advisable to use your real name wherever possible, no matter how witty your alternative username is. This not only looks more professional but also makes it easier for people to find your profiles – the last thing you want is to put a load of effort into your social media accounts just for nobody to be able to find them.
Now you have your presentation down, you can start thinking about how you’re going to use your social media accounts. First, you should consider what you want employers to think about you. Not so much in regards to how you look, but what you’re like; I’m talking about your branding. What kind of job are you looking to get, what are your interests, your industrial goals, your qualifications, your accolades? Find those things, and put them front and centre.
Branding is especially important on sites like LinkedIn, which are more business oriented. You won’t have to worry about branding too much for less formal platforms, like Facebook and Twitter, although their more casual nature does have some benefits. Before I delve into them, however, there is a point that has to be pressed: there is no shame in unemployment; whether you’re a graduate looking for your first job or simply moving on from your last, we’re all unemployed at some point or other. Just as there is no shame in unemployment, there is no shame in asking for help: if you have a Facebook and/or a Twitter account, there’s no harm in creating a public post asking for leads. Who knows? A friend of yours may just know an employer desperately searching for someone like you. While asking around can lead to some great opportunities, bear in mind that the numbers game can be a dangerous one. Don’t forget that your posts can be seen by anyone and the last thing you want is for an employer to look through your history and find dozens of posts to different organisations enquiring about different jobs. This will make you look desperate. Your post history is especially conspicuous on Twitter and for this reason, it’s probably better to use Facebook and Twitter for research rather than communication and outreach – leave that to LinkedIn, which is considerably more private.
Social media can be a powerful tool for research and it’s in your best interests to use it to its fullest. Say you’re invited to an interview: in most cases you can learn a lot more about an organisation by monitoring its social media pages than you could from its website bio. Dig deep enough and you’re likely to find answers to most of your questions.
Overall, social media is nothing if not versatile, providing a tool for almost every job. With employers and recruiters now using social media more often than not, it’s in the best interest of every job-seeker to do the same.