Job hunting through social media, it’s a small world after all

Job searching can be overwhelming and frustrating and the fact that potential employers are now going through your social network profiles doesn’t make it any less stressful. This not only means that you should be on your best behavior at all times, but that you should also show your professionalism when interacting in these networks. So, your private life becomes your business life as well when employers and recruiters start browsing through your profiles.

A survey carried out in 2015 found that from more than 2,000 hiring managers and human resource professionals 52% used social networking sites to research job candidates. In fact, about 1/3 of those employers have found content that made them more likely to hire a candidate. By means of social media, recruiters can have a more clear idea of who you are and what you have done before they even talk to you. They can also get an overall idea of your personality and how you might fit into their corporate culture.

What you need to know is that social media has become a fast, cheap and effective source for background checks, often done before inviting a job applicant in for an interview. Employers search social media to verify the facts on resumes such as your education, work history and your industry knowledge; to check out knowledge and attitudes expressed publicly including your use of alcohol, illegal substances or even your use of profanity; how you spend your non-work time, and evaluate how well you communicate: for example your spelling, punctuation, and grammar as well as your ability to clearly communicate ideas.

But don’t worry, not everything will be used against you. You can protect yourself by using social media to establish your credibility by Tweeting, blogging and commenting about things you know. Then, when an employer searches, they will find a well-informed individual who can fit well into their company. Even if you are happily employed, keep building your network as a passive form of job searching, so that it is there for you when needed.

On the other hand, if you are not active in social media you may even be dropped from the candidate list before you even had a chance to be interviewed, just because you could not be found or because the information they found did not impress them. Properly managing your online personality should ensure that an employer will find you and see enough of your great qualities that they will want to see you in person for an interview.

Other benefits of establishing a solid and reliable digital identity is that you can expand your potential network. By following potential employers and recruiters and interacting with them, you are able to get their attention and make a more personal connection in a way that you wouldn’t previously be able to.

When considering to set up your professional social network, try not to “saturate the market” with an overwhelming number of different tools.  Some people might find it more effective to make a concentrated effort in only one or two strictly professional social networks, whereas others might focus their efforts on an industry-specific blog that highlights their specialties.  

Take a look at some social networks and how to use them as potential CVs for landing your ideal job:

LinkedIn

With nearly 400 million users globally, LinkedIn is the largest professional networking site in the world. It is the network preferred by most employers and the most business-oriented of the large social media sites. LinkedIn serves as a network of professionals where members connect with each other and participate in groups according to common industry, geography, specialties, career goals, ideas, and more.  

If this platform is used properly, it can convey the same information as a good resume and establish an entire host of relationships that cannot be targeted using traditional job search methods. So firstly make sure that your profile is professional, impressive and easy to find. To do this, be sure to frequently update it with new skills, make the text easy to read and include lots of catchwords that recruiters will be looking for in your field of expertise.

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Image courtesy of Nan Palmero at Flickr.com

Twitter

If you are going to use this platform to connect with professionals and find job opportunities remember to keep your activities strictly professional. Maybe it would be better to set up a separate job search account and make sure that your profile reflects your professional life by including your job title and even a link to your LinkedIn profile.

Be sure to follow anybody who may be relevant to your job search, such as companies you would like to work for, industry influencers and suitable job websites. By doing this, your Twitter feed will be flooded with advice and resources for your search, giving you updates on who is hiring, what skills are needed, what courses are available and what the latest industry trends are.

Blogs

According to Wikipedia, blogs “are usually maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. Entries are commonly displayed in reverse-chronological order. Many blogs provide commentary or news on a particular subject; others function as more personal online diaries. A typical blog combines text, images, and links to other blogs, Web pages, and other media related to its topic. The ability of readers to leave comments in an interactive format is an important part of many blogs. “

The content and style of what you write is extremely important to your image. What and how you say it shows who you are and the best way to show that is to put yourself out there and write. Use your blog to establish credibility and maybe share your perspective on other people’s blogs and articles. Don’t be afraid to allow people to see your personality and knowledge behind your online voice.

To start blogging effectively, you need to learn how to group your experiences, skills and viewpoints into a coherent ‘blog idea’ that can contribute to your field of interest in a unique and fresh way. Although blogging can be very time-consuming, keep in mind that many blog-hosting services offer a variety of templates and arrangements to provide you with quick and great design; the content is whatever you know about; and simply posting 2 to 4 times a week is enough to establish your professional identity.

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