The increasing use of social media, and the trend towards online job applications has fundamentally altered the way we apply for jobs. The internet now plays a huge role in the job application process, probably more than ever before, not only in the way we seek out vacancies, but also in the way that employers process applications.
The most tangible difference in using the internet and social media is in how you actually apply for jobs. Generally this falls into three main methods:
- Emailing CVs: Many employers very often they have a dedicated search facility on their own websites which allows you to see their current ‘careers’ or ‘vacancies’, and allows you to email a CV and a cover letter directly.
- Posting CVs online: Many of the big job websites allow you register a profile and post your CV online. Employers can then search to find individuals who suit their criteria.
- Online Applications: Increasingly employers are using online application forms which work as precision tools in the recruitment process. In this case a traditional CV and cover letter are sometimes not required. Instead, every candidate supplies the same information using the same online form, allowing the employer to easily compare.
Using the New Technology
You can now publicise yourself online very positively and in many different ways, whether this is through the use of Twitter, a well targeted blog, or your own website. Especially popular is Twitter, where you can express your interest in the sector or roles for which you are applying. It also shows that you are savvy and up to date with new technology. Employers are increasingly looking for skills in IT and social media, so having these can really improve your chances of getting an interview.
A ‘must have’ for serious professionals is a profile on LinkedIn. This is an excellent way of creating an online profile that is not so much associated with social networking but geared more towards professional networking. It is a good way of recreating your CV online and of cultivating a network linking you to the people you have worked with, the companies or institutions you have been associated with, and your colleagues, clients and business partners. It is also a good way of showing interest in relevant groups and organisations, as they invariably will have a presence on LinkedIn which allows you to ‘follow’ them or be a member of a group. All of this allows you to build a useful network of contacts and consolidate your career path, as well as boosting your credibility and demonstrating a genuine interest in your chosen sector.
You should be aware that whilst you are exploiting the new technology to your advantage, conversely the internet is also a tool harnessed by employers to check you out. This is where you really need to be careful about how much you share with the outside world. You might create a great sales pitch in your CV, but all your hard work could be undone by a few easy searches on the likes of Facebook, Twitter or Google. Make sure your profiles are completely closed. Any ranting blogs, especially about previous employers, will automatically get you discounted for an interview. This can be a very real issue, considering the many opportunities we have to ‘like’, ‘comment’ and ‘share’. You will be surprised how much your activities reveal about you.
Please note that Facebook frequently relaxes privacy settings without informing you, so your profile pictures are often viewable to complete strangers. This is a public domain, and employers really will utilise it. Be sure to take time to search for yourself online to see what they are likely to find. Good luck!
Peter Panayotou is the Founder and Senior Consultant at The Write Stuff