How to Maximise Use of Social Media in Your Job Search

Kathryn Swan 02.08.2019

I read that a majority of people still don’t use social media for job searches – is that your experience and should they use it more?

As a recruiter I spend the majority of my day seeking candidates on LinkedIn and job boards to discuss potential opportunities. However, I am aware that this may not be the case for all job seekers. Even though a large proportion of people may have a LinkedIn account, I often will attempt to connect with someone and they may only have a handful of connections or may not have been active for a while. I am also regularly in contact with candidates who are actively searching for a new opportunity, but when I look at their LinkedIn profile there is a lack of information on there.

This would suggest that a lot of job seekers are not using social media effectively in their job searches. Nevertheless, having a social media job search strategy will greatly increase the number of opportunities you are aware of.  It is important to note however that as your online presence is so public, it is essential that you are using social media appropriately.

What are the best ways to use social media when looking for a job? And how can you advertise yourself as available?

If used correctly, social media and networking sites can be used for career research, job searching and to market yourself to future potential employers.  I personally think that the best way to use social media in order to advertise yourself is to build a complete and robust LinkedIn profile. 

  • The more information that you provide on your profile the better. Research has shown that having a complete profile makes you 40 times more likely to be made aware of job opportunities.
     
  • Make sure that you treat your LinkedIn profile like a CV – include major achievements, experience, academic accomplishments, awards and skills
     
  • Request recommendations from previous employers/academic supervisors  - their praise will impress those viewing your profile as well as make you appear more credible
     
  • Start growing your network immediately (even if you are not actively looking for work) – the more people that you are connected to that work in a similar field, the more likely you are to be approached about opportunities
     
  • LinkedIn will suggest positions to you that align with your interests, therefore follow companies and industries that you would be interested in working for/in. 
     
  • Facebook and Twitter, although traditionally used more socially than professionally, can also be effective in your job search. More and more companies are using these media for recruiting and hiring, therefore like/follow companies you may be interested in or retweet/share posts by these companies

 

What are the pitfalls?

As previously mentioned, one of the disadvantages of having an online social presence is the fact that anyone, including potential employers, is able to view the content that you put online.

According to a study by CareerBuilder.co.uk, over 50% of employers that had researched job applicants on social media found something that caused them not to hire the applicant. On the other hand, a third of those surveyed had come across content online that made them more likely to hire job seekers. Therefore, this study shows that you need to be extremely careful with the content you share online and who can view that content. 

Another pitfall may be that too many people have access to your information.

For example, many job seekers will post their CV on to one or multiple job boards. Once their CV is online, it is accessible to numerous recruiters. This CV may then unfortunately get circulated around the market without the job seeker’s permission or knowledge. When a professional recruiter speaks to the job seeker about specific opportunities and sends the CV to their client, the candidate is shocked to hear that their CV has already been sent there. Therefore, it may be a better idea to approach one or two recruiters that you wish to deal with directly and only let them have access to your CV and details. 

How is this likely to evolve in future?

There has been a huge increase in companies using social media as a recruitment tool and as a consequence I can only predict that job seekers will need to increase their online activity and become more effective at searching for jobs online. More recently, I have seen more candidates including their LinkedIn profile web address on their CV, and some companies even give job seekers the chance to simply provide a link to their profile as opposed to uploading their CV when applying for jobs. 

Are there any sector and or role specific variables in the use of social media for job searching?

I specialise in recruiting for audit and accounts roles into practice and I always encourage candidates to make sure that they use social media to find out as much as possible about the company; through their website, Twitter pages, blogs and LinkedIn profile, prior to attending an interview.

I also strongly recommend candidates to take a look at the LinkedIn profile of the person(s) interviewing them, so that they can go into an interview with a background into the career progression and interests of those that they are meeting with. This shows that the candidate is keen, has taken time to do their research and helps build up a quick rapport with the interviewer – all of which will enhance their chances of securing a role. I imagine that the same guidance would be provided to candidates from any sector. 

Kathryn Swan's picture
Associate Director
kswan@morganmckinley.com