BY ANTON LUCANUS
Once upon a time, the internet existed purely for research, communication or entertainment’s sake. The U.S. military funded a research network named ‘Arpanet’ back in 1969 and since, the number of devices with access to the internet has grown exponentially. Of course, with the growth in computers came a corresponding growth in the number of websites, platforms and applications accessible via the internet, and today there exist over 1 billion websites on the world wide web.
But not nearly enough jobseekers leverage the capacity of the internet when job seeking or when in the process of being recruited. Taking a smart and strategic approach to creating an online presence can help you network your way into a job even quicker than you would do via networking events, late nights with prospective employers and endless coffees with “the right people”. Studies show 92% of companies now use social media for hiring, with LinkedIn rated number one —and three out of four hiring managers will check out a candidate’s social profiles when considering their application. By creating professional profiles across LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook and by using them to network, social media can help you score the job of your dreams. Here are some tip tops as to how.
Firstly, while having social media privacy is important for security reasons you should always ensure you keep information that may appeal to hiring managers public, such as your location, professional skills and employment status. Ensure this information is always searchable – even if you have the job of your dreams you could still be scouted by a larger company with a larger salary offering. Sixty-six percent of companies use Facebook for recruitment and networking and, according to a 2017 CareerBuilder survey, 57 percent of hiring managers are less likely to interview someone they can’t find online.
Next: clean up your social media profiles. Having a brilliant online presence across Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook could push your application to the top of the ladder, but on the other hand posting questionable or inappropriate content on those same platforms could kill your chances of getting a particular job. It’s incredibly important to portray a ‘squeaky clean’ image via your public social media profiles – and that doesn’t only mean removing drunken party pics, drug references, photos of ex-boyfriends and profanities but also removing any updates, photos or shared media that express a potentially offensive or politically incorrect opinion. It’s worth noting that one in three employers reject a job applicant based on something they find on that applicant’s social media profile. There exist a number of tools and websites that can help you to remove questionable content. Delete or ‘untag’ yourself from any photo that may come back to bite you without hesitation, and for every post you have shared ask yourself “does this add to my personal brand?”.
On this note, it’s also important to recognize your social media profile is a reflection of your personal brand. You should portray a clear, consistent, professional image across all platforms – an image appropriate to the field you are seeking to enter. Consistency means ensuring your employment information, location and professional experience are the same across each of your separate social media profiles, as many hiring managers will cross check to establish whether applicants have lied about particular information. The articles, videos or comments you post should reflect your professional values, interests and opinions – to the appropriate extent, of course. For example, if you are seeking to enter into the environmental sector exhibiting support for Donald Trump online is not recommended, nor is sharing a photo or article celebrating the arrest of an environmental activist. Those may be unrealistic exaggerations, but you get the gist.
If you are going to leverage one social media platform in order to find a job, make it LinkedIn. Internationally recognized as the number one platform for recruiting and job seeking, Linkedin was used by a whopping 93 percent of companies even as far back as 2012. Spend some time really perfecting your profile, using specific headlines that correspond with your core skills, updating your professional experience (with details), volunteer experience, network of contacts and summary section, outlining your top accomplishments and your career goals. If possible, use a professional photograph – this demonstrates you are willing to invest in your future and understand the importance of having a professional image. It’s also worth using this same photo across your other social media profiles, to show a sense of consistency. It goes without saying you should make sure your LinkedIn profile is up-to-date with any relevant experience to the industry you are wishing to enter into. For example, if you are moving to the editorial industry from the non-profit one, ensure you have included any editorial internships you completed, published articles you may have produced in your last role and any other accomplishments that relate to communications. If you are interested in a particular job, it’s often worth reaching out to the individual hiring manager via LinkedIn as the response rate is generally higher than it is via email.
It is also recommended job seekers post valuable content on LinkedIn once a day, at around 10am. Shared media content will likely receive more attention than standard text updates, and if you are building your LinkedIn portfolio for work purposes you should ensure the topics you are posting on relate to your industry or field. Tagging other professionals will help generate activity and following for those posts. Most importantly, use LinkedIn to network effectively. Use the LinkedIn directory to find groups within your industry and reach out to potential contacts and employers. Lastly, ensure you are logging onto LinkedIn regularly to engage with those new contacts and networks.
When used properly and professionally, social media platforms are a great place for sharing professional experience, valuable contacts, major accomplishments and volunteer experience with prospective employers or companies. Many companies directly hire through social platforms as well. Social media is a vital cog for any organization looking to expand its branding power. Most importantly, it is what social media is all about – making meaningful connections. Active social media presence will help in better understanding the customer needs and demands. Measuring Social Media ROI for organizations is essential to further grow in this digital world.
Just ensure you do it the right way – otherwise it could harm your chances of success.
Byline – Anton Lucanus is the Director of Neliti. During his college years, he maintained a perfect GPA, was published in a top cancer journal, and received many of his country’s most prestigious undergraduate scholarships. Anton writes for The College Puzzle as a means to share the lessons learnt throughout his degree and to guide current students to achieve personal and educational fulfilment during college life.