Why Social Media has become one of the most important pre-employment research steps for companies for hiring employees.
Social media in its many forms has become an important element in our daily lives, both in business and private life. We have an insatiable need to be connected with each other at different levels. Fortunately for many of us, there are multiple venues where we can do this. The job search component is an important part of that connectivity.
Companies of all sizes have been using social media as a way to further screen applicants for their company positions for some time now. It’s sort of a new version of the background check method. Potential employers verify dates, employers, titles, roles, and other public information that they can find to verify information they have gathered about you.
What is Social Media?
Social media is a collection of websites and application enablement tools that empower the public to participate in social networking to let their voice be heard. With the introduction of new technologies, platforms and websites that cater to social media, it’s becoming easier to communicate with recruiters, hiring managers, friends, family and various business contacts that may have job opportunities, or know of people who are hiring.
There’s the inherent human connectivity factor that allows us to express our opinions, thoughts, and ideas that some organizations might be attracted to and might consider valuable.
Why is Social Media so important to your job search?
Social media is one of the most important forms of communication available to the masses. It offers a vast array of platforms to communicate your message to let people know that you are the candidate they should hire. Recruiters and business professionals have been using social media for years, and rely on it to source candidates for their job openings.
Here are some top social networking sites for job seekers
Let’s look at some social media platforms.
Largely used by business professionals. LinkedIn is a large professional network where you can connect with other business professionals. You can create or participate in discussion groups, or interact at a social level. LinkedIn has over 500 million members (2018) and is widely viewed as a business/professional social networking site.
Co-workers, friends, and clients are able to endorse the skills you list in your profile, and anyone who’s worked with you at your previous jobs are also able to leave you a review about the work you did for them or with them.
LinkedIn is being used more and more by employers to find qualified job applicants, and screen for potential contacts that could add value as a connection, and possibly a referral for a job applicant. Here’s how to get started.
- If you don’t have a LinkedIn account, you can go to linkedin.com to register and create a profile. Complete the basic and additional information sections of your profile.
- Update your work history, experience, education, accomplishments, certifications, or other relevant skills you have acquired that will showcase your skill set. Keep it professional.
- Start using job search tools on LinkedIn to generate interest from companies and recruiters.
- Include a professionally dressed headshot photo.
- Connect with business associates that you know, alumni, and new ones that you meet on a regular basis.
- Post your best work. (If there’s no copyright restrictions).
- Join groups in your industry, be active, follow organizations that interest you, and participate in discussions from thought leaders. The more connections you have, the better your chances of exposure to new opportunities.
A free microblogging service which allows registered members to stay connected via short posts with friends, family, co-workers, organizations, industries, and professionals. This form of communication is called “tweeting”, and you can include links, photos, and video. These short posts are limited to 140 text characters. Here’s how to get started.
- Create a Twitter handle and professional profile. Keep it simple.
- Build a respectable profile with your opportunity interests and any links to your website (if you have one), or social media accounts.
- Establish connections with friends, co-workers, and high value people.
- Share your content and expertise, opinions, industry knowledge, and samples of your work.
- Upload a professional headshot photo.
- Build credibility by answering questions or voting on polls of interest.
- Look up articles and tweets of interest, follow, reply, and retweet.
- Do a job search by title, location, company, or specific contact.
- Follow hashtags. You can type in a keyword then add a hashtag at the end. Here’s what they would look like: #Example.
Chances are, you probably use Facebook to connect to friends and family. Facebook has expanded its reach into professional networking, given it already has many of the professional contacts you would find in other social media platforms.
This is just another way to extend your reach out to professionals that could be of value to your network. When creating a Facebook account, you may want to keep your personal and professional profiles separate.
- Look for positions that you can apply for through Facebook. This is typically done through links that take you to external career websites with job postings.
- Most Social Media platforms have like buttons so you can like an article, photo, or posting. A good way to start is to “like” your own Facebook profile, and other social media sites where you are a member.
- Post a video that shows your professional presentation, speaking, and problem solving skills.
- Be real to your audience. Showing you are genuine and authentic shows character.
- Start discussions, answer questions, offer links with informative content, and comment on posts where you can add value, and at the same time build credibility.
- Customize your profile settings so you can have control over who sees personal content and professional content. This can be accomplished using the friend list feature in your privacy settings.
Google+ (pronounced Google Plus) is an interest-based social network platform owned by Google. You can import your contacts, assign them to circles of interest, and connect with communities of other Google users. You can also log into your Google account, do location check-ins, and instant uploads from your camera phone.
Google+ also offers Circles (personalized social circles), and Hangouts (video chat and instant messaging). Here’s how to get started.
- Circles and Hangouts…create an account for circles and hangouts, and include a resume/CV profile, and invite recruiters, friends, industry professionals and people of interest.
- Participate in conversations with interest groups, share content (articles, photos, and videos).
- Let your groups know what type of position or opportunity you are seeking.
This platform is content rich in the creative marketing, graphic arts and visual display space. It provides a creative way to showcase your talents and exhibit your creative side. Postings on Pinterest are called “pinning”. These can be displayed as a collection of pins with a common theme.
- Come up with a creative headline that highlights your top five accomplishments.
- Draft an infographic resume that includes images or illustrations of your body of work, and visual graphics that help illustrate messaging. If you have a difficult time designing graphics for the graphic version of your resume, there are applications that can help you with that like Kinzaa, Re.vu, Easelly, Visual CV, and CeeVee, just to name a few.
- Add links to your profile like photos, videos, and professional information.
~ Tom Dushaj