Are Your Social Media Habits Hurting Your Job Hunt?
Between Facebook likes, Instagram pictures, retweets and the endless flow of memes and cat videos, social media seems to be everywhere… and, it kind of is. As of October 2015, 65% of all Americans used at least one social networking site and companies are taking notice.
People are using social media for virtually everything. From planning their weekend to shopping for a new outfit, and yes, even to search for a new job. Likewise, recruiters are using social media to scope out and contact qualified job candidates BEFORE the candidate even shows interest in the company. Recruiters also use social to research candidates before bringing them in for an interview.
So what does this mean for you and your job hunt? A lot! It’s important to understand the role that social media can play in today’s hiring process – and how you can put your best foot forward so you don’t lose out on potential job opportunities. So how can you ensure your habits aren’t hurting your job hunt?
4 Ways to Use Social Media to Help Your Job Hunt
1) Show off your best self
A focused personal bio is crucial to have on your social media profiles when job hunting. Set aside time to write a short paragraph that summarizes your professional interests, previous work achievements and future goals. Don’t be afraid to add things that will showcase your unique personality – just be sure it’s appropriate for professional use.
Once your bio is done, display it on your LinkedIn profile (more on this below) and your personal website if you have one. Take your time on this and revise, revise, revise, as many employers will read it before deciding who to contact for an interview. After you have perfected your bio, use it to create a condensed version (1-2 sentences). This is great for sites that have a limit on bio length, like Twitter or Instagram.
Ready, set, smile! An appropriate profile picture is just as important as a polished bio. Don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be taken by a professional. Dress up like you are going to attend an interview and take a picture from your chest up against a simple background, and voila – you’re all set!
What not to do:
Jane’s profile picture doesn’t look professional and her bio does not tell future employers anything about her previous work experience or professional interests. Even though Jane is currently unemployed, her current title should reflect the industry she would like to work in. For example, she could have chosen, “Recent graduate seeking sales position” or “Experienced saleswoman seeking account executive position”. Additionally, Jane has zero connections because she has not invited anyone in her network to connect with her. She should reach out to past co-workers, people she went to school with and even family members.
2) Consider adjusting your privacy settings
You’ve heard it before – “everything you put online is out there for everyone to see,” or “don’t post anything you wouldn’t want your boss to see.”
While this advice can grow tired, it is crucial to understand. With social media being so prevalent in many aspects of our lives, most hiring managers are adding a quick social media sweep to the list of hiring steps. They’re taking this precaution because they want to find candidates whose values align with their company values.
If you don’t want to censor everything that goes out on your social media profiles, strongly consider adjusting your privacy settings so only your friends can see the content you post. Then, make sure all content that is visible to the public reflects your best self.
What not to do:
Jane has not adjusted her privacy settings and is posting unprofessional statuses to her Facebook wall. If future employers examined her profile as part of their hiring process, they would not want to hire her. Note that your cover photo will always be public, so make sure to choose one that represents your best self!
3) Are you LinkedIn?
Too many people have the perception that LinkedIn is only for those with a robust work history, but this can’t be further from the truth. Think of this social site as an online resume without the one-page limit. LinkedIn encourages you to include anything that could help with your job search in your profile. In addition to professional experience, this includes volunteer work and extracurricular activities that could add value to a future employer.
If you don’t have a LinkedIn profile, you can easily make one for free. LinkedIn has step-by-step instructions that will help ensure your profile is complete. Filling out as many sections as possible will help bring recruiters and hiring managers to your profile!
Once you have a LinkedIn profile, be sure to follow companies and industry leaders that interest you. Keep up with relevant industries by reading articles that companies share, and if they align with your values, share the link with your network. Be sure to connect with people you have met or worked with and to follow and interact with groups that align with your professional interests.
What not to do:
Jane only has one position listed on her LinkedIn page despite having a lot of volunteer and extracurricular experience. Additionally, the description of her past position is unprofessional and does not show any value to future employers. Can you catch the typos in the description? She should have triple-checked her spelling and grammar or asked a friend to edit before posting.
4) Get tweetin’!
Twitter doesn’t get enough credit. While it is not as widely used as Facebook and is not typically thought of as a professional networking site, like LinkedIn, it is a useful tool for those on the job hunt! If you don’t have a Twitter account yet, create one and get started by following thought leaders in industries that interest you. Engage with their content by tweeting at them or retweeting articles they post. Connect with people in your personal network as well. Share content that interests you and aligns with your values daily and always use hashtags. After a while, you will organically build a following. Also, be sure to follow companies that you would like to work for, as they will often tweet their open positions!
What not to do:
Jane made a Twitter profile a few months ago to help with her job hunt but has not logged in since. To top it off, the things she was tweeting about were not professional. Not being an active user and posting about inappropriate topics will only hurt Jane’s job hunt. If you don’t have time to maintain a Twitter profile, it may be in your best interest to forego this social site.
It’s very important you’re doing what you can to ensure that your social media habits aren’t hurting your job hunt. In other words, don’t be like Jane. When your social media profiles represent your best self, recruiters and hiring managers will get a good impression and will be more likely to reach out to you about job opportunities. As you connect with industry professionals and companies on social media, your exposure to potential job opportunities will increase and it will become easier for recruiters to find you amongst other job candidates.
Do you have any other tips for making the most out of your social profiles? Let us know in the comments!