Social Media and the Job Search
Social media has come to penetrate almost every part of our daily lives. When you are looking for a new job opportunity, your online presence can both help and harm you. Few understand just how many recruiters and HR teams rely on social media to clue them in on deciding factors. Companies are placing more emphasis on culture and values now than ever before. Social media profiles of applicants shed light on how a person could help balance or create chaos in a well-kept environment. Let’s make sure your social media habits are not hurting you in your search for the right opportunity.
The Ways Social Media Can Help You
LinkedIn was created to be a virtual resume and to be a platform for professional networking. You want to make sure your entire LinkedIn profile is filled out completely so that hiring managers and headhunters can see your work history and goals. It is also important to make connections. Companies want to hire people with a network behind them, it lends to your credibility. Start by adding people you know, coworkers, former classmates, etc. Work your way out to interacting on the posts of people you do not know, especially individuals who work in your industry. Send them a connection invitation and build your profile. These connections can introduce you to opportunities you may not find otherwise.
What companies post on their pages across various platforms says a lot about their culture, goals, current and past projects. You can research companies you are interested in working for through Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. The more knowledgeable you are about a company and everything they do, the more impressed an interviewer will be.
After you land an interview, if you are given the name of the interviewer, you can use social media to research them a little too. Do not overdo it and come off as creepy and be careful not to press the like button on a 54 week old post! Make note of their work history and common interests to find subjects to talk about. Making a personal connection to your interviewer is always a good way to start off an interview.
Facebook recently introduced their job application system, you can apply for a job directly through your Facebook profile now. It is not commonly used yet, but we may just see this take off (before you apply this way, make sure you edit your work history on Facebook carefully). LinkedIn also allows for applications to be submitted directly on the site and you can even search for jobs on LinkedIn filtering to find specific types of positions. LinkedIn is a great way to look for job opportunities.
If you have a list of companies you want to work for but they are not hiring at the moment, keep an eye on their social media pages. Companies often post when they are looking to hire new employees on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or even Instagram. These posts may not be on their website, so keep your eyes peeled.
The Way Social Media Can Hurt You
Not showing you in good light
Social media is a common host to rude, overly personal, vulgar, or sometimes drunken posts by users. Even if your profile is hidden to the public, be careful what you allow on your page. Hidden profiles can be worked around relatively easily and is one post really worth the risk?
Hiring managers and recruiters often search through an applicant’s profiles before making a decision, sometimes before even setting up an interview. This is becoming more commonplace and should be seen as important as keeping your resume up to date. Companies are keeping a closer eye on what their employees are saying online, it reflects on them too.
Be sure not to post negative things about a current or former boss/company. Everyone understands the desire to complain about a horrendous boss (we have all been there), but a public platform is not the place for it. These posts come across whiny and immature to a hiring manager and could lose you an opportunity.
Do not post inappropriate photos or comments and be careful not to use vulgar language. It should be obvious that these posts do not show you in your best light. A good rule of thumb is think about what your stereotypical grandmother would think about what you are posting before you hit send. This will save you a lot of grief.
There are plenty of things to avoid on social media. Keep in mind that private settings are not enough to protect you from being excluded from an opportunity. Here is some more helpful tips about common social media mistakes.
Tips on editing social media profiles
LinkedIn is probably the easiest platform to make quick edits on your profile. Make sure to display all of your relevant work history and include job descriptions. Be careful to edit and check for spelling and grammar issues in the descriptions and titles. This is a bad place for a simple mistake to be found
Facebook allows you to see what someone outside your friend group can see, start there. Delete any pictures that show you in an unprofessional or immature setting (party pictures from college) and edit or delete any inappropriate words. Do not feel like you have to scrub away your personal life from Facebook. Social media is understood to be a platform for personal things, those pictures of Christmas morning are fine. Though, do be concerned with the over-personal sharing. After you have cleaned up anything a non-friend can see, go back over every post, even the ones a friend can see. Facebook changes its privacy setting regularly and sometimes previously hidden things become public, or a recruiter may know a friend of yours. It really is worth it just to clean up your page now.
What about the things people tag me in that show up on my timeline? There are ways around those. For one, you are always given the option to remove a tag on someone else’s post. Or you can simply set up timeline review. It asks you to decide before anything someone else posts is viewable on your timeline. Your friends can still tag you, but it will not be on your timeline for a recruiter to find later.
Instagram and Twitter will require a little more time to clean up. Obviously, delete any inappropriate images or tweets. Instagram lets you change the text of a post if you need to clean up the language or rewrite some oversharing. Twitter on the other hand does not, the guilty tweets will have to be deleted.
This is a lot to keep in mind
Yes, there is a lot to remember about social media. Eventually it will get easier and you will start thinking through things before you hit post. The initial difficulty is cleaning out old posts, especially for those of us that have been online since middle school. This subject is only getting more important and recruiters are using social media more often to screen candidates than most realize. Do not miss your next opportunity for a few likes.