Using social media in your job search

LinkedIn profile

LinkedIn profile

Last saturday 22nd November, I attended the event “Employability Day” for students and recent graduates in the Marketing, Creative, Digital and PR Sectors in Manchester organized by companies Creative Resource and Havas Lynx. Among the various topics presented, which caught my attention was the following: Using social media in your job search, presented by Phil Cookson of Creative Resource.

Before, I had not thought about the importance of having an updated and relevant profile on social networks in order to get a new job, also taking advantage of the great potential they offer to approach employers and companies of our interest. However, potential employers can view your photos and posts on social networks, so you have to be very careful with these ones.

It is important to build a social media “fingerprint” (Chandler cited in Adams, 2013), it means that “an ongoing media presence can boost your career and is especially useful if you’re either passively or actively looking for a job.” While, Adams (2013) highlights the idea of building a brand for yourself, through your website, blog, with links to your social networks.

“In a 2012 Jobvite survey, 92 per cent of recruiters reported using social media to recruit candidates (a 10% increase since 2010) and 73% have successfully hired a candidate who was identified through a social network/social media” (Brand and Arasteh, 2013, p. 33).

Not all social networks are suitable for the job search, in the case of Facebook it is not the proper channel to look for a job because is more to share and socialize with family and friends, you can not post I am looking for a job in Facebook because this will not give any results (Jacobs, 2013). But you can check the pages of companies that interest you in order to get more information about these ones.

In contrast, Cookson emphasized that LinkedIn is the perfect social network to look for a job because it is professional and designed for business purposes. “It would not be appropriate to share anything too personal (“I’m pregnant.”), controversial, negative or mean spirited (“My boss is such an idiot!”) or to conduct repetitive and blatantly promotional selling (Brand and Arasteh, 2013, p.35).

Also you can create a Google+ profile, but keep in mind that having multiple accounts in social networks is not enough to find a job, instead you have to work hard in the messages you want to convey. (Jacobs, 2013).

I focus the attention on LinkedIn because “of the major social media sites, 89% of hiring professionals have made a hire through LinkedIn, compared to 26% on Facebook and 15% on Twitter (Jobvite, 2012 cited in Brand and Arasteh, 2013, p. 33). Brand and Arasteh (2013) suggest to look for and follow companies because you can find in their profiles valuable information and also posts about jobs.

LinkedIn Global Membership

LinkedIn Global Membership (LinkedIn Press Center)

Cookson recommended the following tips to make a good use of LinkedIn:

Create a strong profile
Your profile should be similar to your CV, highlighting a description of yourself, your professional skills and your interests on career development. Also, pay attention and be careful with grammar, spelling and punctuation. Use a professional looking picture.

Join to relevant groups
Brand and Arasteh (2013) suggest that it is important to join groups that are relevant to your area and participate in them by asking and answering questions, and share interesting information. These are ways to start conversation which can lead to getting a job (Bender & Oryl, 2013). Also, there are discussions about careers where you can take part, but before posting a comment, be sure to read the information properly so that you can contribute with something constructive and avoid repeat questions.

Be proactive and contact potential employers
You can find contacts related to the industry you want to work in on LinkedIn and you can send them a personalized message, but not generic messages because these go unnoticed (Jacobs, 2013). To get the attention of the employer, it is important that your message is relevant, for example ask an interesting question. Also, do not be afraid to contact potential employers, the worst that could happen is that they do not accept your invitation. If there are no vacancies available at that time, you might be considered for future roles.

Update your profile
Always keep your profile updated, if you are a student or worker, this information must be clearly shown. It is also important to make clear which is the geographical location where you want to work and use appropriate keywords in our profile, so the recruiters can easily find you (Brand and Arasteh, 2013).

Ask for references
It is advisable to ask your tutors or previous managers to write a good reference about you highlighting your specific skills. Many potential employers check the references section when they examine candidates.

Twitter is also important to keep you updated on what is going on in areas of your interest. You can follow people and companies who are relevant in your industry, sometimes they post job vacancies. To start a conversation with them, you can retweet and respond about a relevant topic (Bender & Oryl, 2013). Likewise, you can send private messages to potential employers, explaining that you are looking for a job, but you should do this after having interacted with them on Twitter (Finnigan, cited in Adams, 2012).

Sometimes companies do not update their website, but you can find information about them in its Twitter account, for example this is useful before a job interview (Bender & Oryl, 2013).

Currently, many professionals have a digital portfolio, which enables them to show their work and skills online in a professional way.

Finally, as mentioned above, always remember to be careful with pictures or comments you post on Facebook or Twitter because potential employers can see them. Today recruiters are using social media to find out and learn about candidates, prior to making a decision to hire them (Bender & Oryl, 2013). So if they check your profile, will they have a good or bad image of you? (Hori, 2012).

References

Adams, S. (2012) 4 ways to use Twitter to find a job, Forbes.com, p. 1, Business Source Complete, EBSCOhost [Accessed 27th November, 2014]

Adams, S. (2013) An expert’s seven tips for using social media to get a job, Forbes.com, p. 2, Business Source Complete, EBSCOhost [Accessed 26th November, 2014]

BBC News (2014) Using social media to find a new job. [online video] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3DpKd8nMhvQ
[Accessed 28th November, 2014]

Bender, S. & Oryl, C. (2013) Use social media to enhance your career, Pennsylvania CPA Journal, 83, 4, pp. 4-5, Business Source Complete, EBSCOhost [Accessed 26th November, 2014]

Brand, P. & Arasteh, S. (2013) Using LinkedIn and Twitter for job search and career management, Career Planning & Adult Development Journal, 29, 3, pp. 33-44, Education Research Complete, EBSCOhost [Accessed 26th November, 2014]

Hori, R. (2012) Cleaning up your social media presence, Businessweek.com, p. 5, Business Source Complete, EBSCOhost [Accessed 26th November, 2014]

Jacobs, D. (2013) How to use social media to find a job, Forbes.com, p. 22, Business Source Complete, EBSCOhost [Accessed 26th November, 2014]

LinkedIn (2014) Grow Your Opportunities | LinkedIn Celebrates Success. [online video] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IKwjgcuftbg
[Accessed 28th November, 2014]

What is your opinion about it, do you use social networks to look for jobs? Do you think that is fair that potential employers are checking your Facebook when this is a personal space?

6 thoughts on “Using social media in your job search

  1. I am totally agree with you about the importance of social media in helping to find a good job. I found very useful your advice on having an updated profile. Also I think you are right that we have to be careful with the comments and pictures we post on social networks, because these can affect positively or negatively our futures employer’s perceptions of us.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Maricela, currently thanks to the Internet (websites, social media) we can easily access to companies where we want to work, and we have to take advantage of this but always taking care of our “image” in social networks. When we post on Facebook or Twitter we have to think that our future employer may read these posts. Thank you for your comment.

      Like

    • Dear Ruth, LinkedIn ask your contacts if they want endorse you with some skills, but not necessarily you have to accept these ones. Also, you can choose your skills on LinkedIn and according to these ones, your contacts can endorse you in a proper way. Thank you for your comment.

      Like

  2. Dear Macarena, many people do not know that potential employers review our profiles on social networks before making the decision to hire us. But I wonder if it is fair because for example Facebook is a personal social network to share with friends and family. Thank you for your comment.

    Like

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