Your guide to Social Media as a Job Seeker
As you probably know by now, social media can have its advantages, but it can also have a very negative impact depending if you use it correctly or not. Have you thought about using social media platforms to aid your job search? If so, there are some things you should consider before doing so. Different social media platforms have different benefits and should be thought about before creating a professional profile. Everyone’s job search should be tailored to them, so if you feel like it may or may not help you reach your goals, then that’s your choice to make. The correct way to use social media shouldn’t just be discussed when you’re job searching, because the negative effects can last a long time. For all the information you need on setting up your social profiles to using them effectively, read the guide below. In order to get something out of it, you have to put some effort in, and this is a great place to start.
Social media is a great place for you to keep up with your friends and family, but it is also a great place for you to share as well. So how does this help you with your job search?
Friends and family aren’t the only people using social platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter, there are plenty of employers and recruiters using these platforms for more than just personal use. Businesses use these spaces to give updates about their company, share news and even talk about recruitment opportunities. In addition to news websites, social platforms have become a massive space for people to share news and give their opinions, so businesses have grabbed onto this opportunity and share pretty much anything these days. However, social media is usually where companies only share the best bits about themselves. So do your research through rose coloured glasses but do look elsewhere for other news about companies! – You never know what they’re hiding, because they have full control over what they share with other users.
You can also use social platforms to search for recruiters that may have contacted you or that you’re interested in working with. Why not take this opportunity to see what they share, what they write on social media and if the recruitment agency or consultant has any reviews on these sites?
Social media is a great way to get insights on a company or person and people are doing the same thing with your profiles!
Googling yourself is a good place to start if you want to find out what others see when they search for you. Do it now. Do you like what you found or are you finally ready to put those social media profiles onto privacy settings?
You probably already know that once you upload something or write a post on the internet, it will always be there, even if you delete it. The internet is like one big storage box that keeps everything uploaded onto it, in servers. Once you put something onto social media, that specific platforms then owns that media. You can read all about this in the terms and conditions on social platforms. However, my point is, that you need to be really careful about the information you are sharing. If you can find it with just a simple google search, imagine what an employer or recruiter could find out about you when they really put time into it.
You want your social pages to reflect your true self. You want it to be a positive place where you can go to read, discuss and share updates. So, if you want to keep sharing with family and friends but don’t want others to see, work with your privacy settings and keep it to yourself. We’ll discuss how to do this in later chapters.
The internet and social media platforms are a very good resource when job hunting, but like everything else, it needs to be used with caution and a good understanding on how it can help you and how it can hinder you from reaching your goals.
If you don’t already have a LinkedIn account, now is the right time to make one. When I first started my job search, I had an account but didn’t really see the benefit in using it all that much or even adding it to my CV. Looking back, there are some great tools offered on LinkedIn that would have helped me along the way.
To start, you’ve probably heard how important it is to have a good network of people around you. When it comes to looking for a new job, this is exactly right. You not only need people around you that are going to support you, but it’s nice to have professional network around you that can share your posts, send you leads and just offer messages of support. A job search can sometimes be very lonely, because it’s something you are doing for yourself, but having a good support network can do amazing things for you.
Additionally, LinkedIn has its own jobs board. So why wouldn’t you give this a look when searching. LinkedIn offers a unique job board because you are able to see who has posted the roles. If it’s a recruiter, you are then able to connect with that person and if you feel necessary, can talk to them about the role and ask for advice. If it’s the direct employer that posted the role, you can then follow their page and see other roles they have posted that may be of use to you.
So how important is it to have a good profile?
To a recruiter or an employer on LinkedIn, your profile will act as a type of CV. This is where they can see your work experience, your current employer, skills and contact information. Much like your CV, you want to have your profile completed before doing anything else. Afterall, you wouldn’t send out an unfinished CV to employers. So where do you start?
Start with the basics – Make sure you have everything up to date and start with your profile photo. I advise having a good quality photo, suitable for job seeking. You’re probably not going to opt for a photo where you’re out with your friends, like on Facebook. So, try and stick to a photo with just you in it, a headshot style and one that you are happy for potential employers to see. It’s all about what you’re comfortable with and how you want to come across to employers. Choose one that works best for you.
Contact information – You have the option to upload your CV. Make sure this is the most recent version and all of your contact details are also updated. This means your phone number, address and email address. None of this information can be seen by anyone unless you send your CV to them, so there’s no need to worry!
About you – You have the option of adding an ‘about you’ section on your profile. This small bio is about you and is often used as a mini personal statement. Keep it short, simple and professional and ensure you are updating it as you see fit.
Experience – Like I said, your profile can be used as a CV for some employers or recruiters that find your page. The experience section should be used to list not only your job titles and dates, but the responsibilities you had in that job role (and your achievements of course). It doesn’t have to be as detailed as a CV but does give you the opportunity to shine a light on your experience.
Open to opportunity - If you are actively looking for a new role, you can change the settings on your profile to let employers know when you are open to new roles. This means when you are no longer job seeking, you don’t have to have recruiters constantly messaging you. It’s a great feature and can save a lot of time!
The key to any social media profile is to maintain it. Change things when necessary and communicate with the online community!
Twitter is something you may use on a daily basis, or may have done in the past, but did you ever think about using this platform to help you secure your next job?
Twitter can be a strange platform to use for a job search at first, but once you look past the jokes and the celebrity gossip culture, there is a gap for employers to reach out and for you to do some research. You do need to know how to use the resources and understand what they are capable of to make the most of it, but now is the right time for you to try something new.
Firstly, twitter is a very large network and a lot of people, including yourself, have a lot of connections that you don’t know in person. It’s usually a mix of personal connections, celebrities, news outlets and people you may have simply found online. It is a very vast and everchanging platform, so you need to ensure you are giving the right impression.
A lot of us, including me, has had a twitter account for a very long time. It became popular when I was an early teenager, when it was normal to share pretty much everything online. It was a new culture, and it was exciting to share things, like posts and maybe say some things we weren’t meant to. Things we post online, never truly disappear and I would highly recommend making your profile private on platforms like Twitter, just in case there is something from the past, that may be slightly embarrassing! – We forget about things and maybe even missed something when you were doing a profile cleanse. So, for your own sake, click private and hopefully all the embarrassing stuff will stay away from potential employers!
- Pick a good profile picture - try and use the same one across all your social media profiles so employers and recruiters have a higher chance of remembering you.
- Write a bio – you only have 160 characters, but you can make it count.
- Follow careers pages for companies you are interested in
- Interact with the right pages – become a part of a community
- Know how to use the search function correctly! – use appropriate hashtags in the search bar and join Twitter lists
It’s important to know where to look. Search for companies you’re interested in and then see if they have separate pages for their career’s opportunities. Follow them and use these to keep up to date with company information and news.
Do the same with recruiters. They may post jobs they have on their social pages before contacting people directly. Sometimes if you want to be included, you have to find it yourself, so don’t be afraid to reach out and ask.
Facebook is another one of those more ‘personal’ platforms that is widely used to talk and share with friends and family. However, why would companies have pages and accounts on Facebook, if there was not a market for people to find jobs through this platform?
Facebook is a very good place to have a private account because you can control what you post, but you can’t control what other people post about you and tag you in. Yes, you can un-tag yourself from photos, delete comments and regulate it manually, but you can’t control what people put on their accounts and it can be hard to keep track sometimes. So, the best way to do this, is to privatise and only have people you know as ‘friends’ on Facebook. So back to job searching.
A lot of companies now have their own pages on Facebook, and these include career pages. Just like Twitter, they may post vacant jobs, news, and updates that you can keep track of by liking the page. Facebook, unlike LinkedIn doesn’t have the option to apply for jobs through it, so this platform should be used for research elements of your job search but can still be highly valuable!
Remember, that just like you, employers have control over what they share on these platforms. Social media often paints a very perfect picture, so use information from these sites to aid your research and not define it.
An online brand can be as simple as having the same photos across all platforms, using the same bio, and ensuring that you have your contact information ready for people that need it. You want to be recognisable across platforms and for people to be able to make that connection.
Your online profiles should be there to support any job applications or conversations you are having with potential employers. It gives them an insight on who you are, your experience and importantly, how you portray yourself online. The way you present yourself is important because employers may not want to hire someone that doesn’t act in the correct manner.
In order to build a good online brand for yourself you can:
- Have a clear message – Focus on your personal brand. What can you offer? Get involved in online communities and use this to back up the claims you make to employers.
- Be prepared to try again – Social media can be a tricky thing to get perfect. If you find something isn’t working, try again. Much like your CV, you can re-brand / re-write when needed.
- Let them know who you are – Make it clear what you do, what your position is, what makes you a good candidate and show them you are right for their company. LinkedIn is the best site to be able to do this, through your personal profile, but you can do it through other platforms as well.
Be consistent and make sure you are staying active. There can be nothing worse than a recruiter coming across your profile and realising you haven’t been active for months. They may think you don’t use that platform anymore and disregard it, so make sure you are keeping up to date with it.
Another good part of your online brand could be an online portfolio. Not everyone has the resources to do this, but you are able to include work and other online examples you may want to include on your LinkedIn page. You can link these through your work experience and could be a good conversation starter for employers.
Another way of creating an online portfolio could be through your own website. You can upload examples of your work, include your CV and have contact forms. It’s a good additive for your CV and means the employer has a chance to look through your work and really gain a good understanding of what you are capable of. It also means employers can reach out to you, giving you another way of finding new roles without having to search for them yourself.
You can include the link to your website or online portfolio on all your social media pages. You can include it in most profile biographies and again, LinkedIn is a good place to attach work. It might just be the thing you’ve been missing.
Mistakes happen, we’re all human. However, it’s easier to try and prevent mistakes happening when you know how to prevent them and what is at stake. When you decide to start integrating social media into your job search, you want to portray yourself a certain way. You want to ensure that you are staying professional, so you might want to think about what platforms you want to use and which ones you want to keep private and for your own personal use.
Just because you can use social media to job search, doesn’t mean that you have to. It really isn’t for everyone and your job search is unique to you and your goals. If any, I would recommend LinkedIn as the best platform for job seeking, but that is simply my experience and opinion. As shown above, you can utilise other platforms for a successful search, you just need to practice.
When you are posting online, there are people watching. You may feel like an opinion or a rant may go unseen, but you are putting it out there for people to see. What if the wrong person sees this? Facebook is easy to make private, you will stop people seeing what you post and what people post about you, until you accept a friend request. So be careful who you accept. The same goes for Twitter. Your profile is only private until you invite someone to see your profile. A big misconception is the belief that making your account private hides you from everyone and that isn’t true.
Once you have accepted a follow or friend request, people are able to see everything you post, like and comment on. So, ensure you aren’t being too controversial or rude, no matter how passionate you are about your opinion. This is a common mistake that can damage a lot of people’s online reputation, don’t hide behind the keyboard.
Social media has its pros and cons, but ultimately, it is what you make of it. If you put the work in and do the research, it can really aid your search. If it’s not for you and you are worried about the risks, then there are plenty of other things you can be doing to reach your goals. It’s meant to assist you and if you feel like it wouldn’t do that, leave it. You need to decide what is best for you and your goals.