Social media can now be used to target and understand the culture of organisations, apply for jobs and network with individuals.
Employers commonly use social media for marketing, conducting interviews and recruiting. Increasingly, students and graduates are turning to innovative ways of searching for a job so that they stand out from the crowd. This page looks at the possibilities and issues with using social media in your job search.
Your guide to using social media in your job search – PDF Version of this page.
Types of Social Media
Social media is a broad term and there are many different types available. We are going to focus on the most common social media platforms:
- LinkedIn – This is a professional business related social networking site where employers and employees can stay in touch and network with each other. It also acts as an on-line CV and is a way to recruit and search for a job.
- Build your Linkedin profile takes you through how to build your profile get the most out of Linkedin.
- LinkedIn Jobs – Search for jobs on LinkedIn, and read advice from thought leaders, view presentations, see examples, find experts, and browse other resources on finding a job.
- LinkedIn for Students – Help from LinkedIn specifically designed for students.
- The Student’s Guide to LinkedIn –
- Facebook – Extremely popular social networking site that was used mainly by individuals, however it has become increasingly used by businesses and organisations as a useful marketing tool, for networking, customer service and recruitment.
- Twitter – An online social networking and microblogging service that enables its users to send and read text-based posts of up to 140 characters, known as “tweets”. Very popular in the business and marketing world and commonly used as a real time news feed, networking, marketing and customer service tool.
- YouTube – A video-sharing website, on which users can upload, view and share videos. This is a powerful marketing tool and can be used to sell yourself or to gain insight into an organisation.
- Skype – The service allows users to communicate with peers by voice, video, and instant messaging over the Internet. It is increasingly being used for job interviews, particularly overseas.
- Google + – A relatively new social networking site that is similar to Facebook however addresses some of the downfalls and offers ‘Circles and hangouts’ where by only chosen information is shared.
Social media can create opportunities and open doors, however it can also ruin your chances of employment if professionalism is not maintained.
- Sites like LinkedIn will give you the opportunity to outline your professional experience and direct employers to the information you’d like them to see. Make sure your information is current and error-free. A good place to start is Build your Linkedin profile which takes you through how to build your profile and get the most out of Linkedin.
- Don’t put a photo on your Facebook or Twitter account that may give a bad impression. Remember, even if your profile is private they can still see this.
- Be aware of what you are posting and how you may come across to potential employers.
- Where possible keep your profiles positive.
- A very handy tool is Reppler. It offers a way to manage your image online across multiple social networks and gives you the option to fix any inappropriate content.
- Check your e-mail address or username. Is it professional? or one you created when you were 14?
Privacy Settings on Facebook and Twitter:
- Learn how to use the new Facebook privacy settings . You can control who sees what posts by selecting the ‘Custom’ button.
- Twitter – Remember that anyone can view your present and past updates. However a private account on Twitter will limit your accessibility and availability to employers.
- Keep an eye on what other people post to your wall and your tags. It’s easy to control those settings within Facebook and Twitter.
- According to the Reppler survey, the most frequent reason for rejecting a candidate based on their social media profiles is a discovery that the candidate lied about his/her qualifications (13%). Make sure they match up.
- Most employers will at the very least search your name in Google.
- Set up a Google alert for yourself or your business.
Job Searching & Research
Never in the past have you been able to get so close to a company and its culture. Social media allows you to interact with and research a company from a different perspective, creating opportunities for employment and networking that were not previously possible.
- Linkedin Student Jobs – Search student internships and jobs for graduates on LinkedIn.
- Twitter – Find companies you are interested in, follow them, follow individuals who are employees. Follow good job search sites.
- Facebook and Twitter – You can use these powerful tools to research not only organisations but individuals in the organisations. The CEO or director of marketing may well have a Twitter account. You may be able to find this from LinkedIn or their website. This information gives a much more in-depth reflection and real insight into the culture of the company and its employees.
- Corporate blogs and accounts on Facebook and Twitter – Follow these to find out up to date issues and news. Use Twellow to find companies.
- Employee blogs and social networking accounts – Many employees and CEOs tweet and blog as individuals. You can gain an extraordinary insight into a company.
- Video/Interactive CVs – There are many new ways in which people are selling themselves as an alternative to the traditional CV. Video as well as social media are increasingly popular. Beware! This can have a negative effect if done unprofessionally. Always maintain professionalism. Read a recent BBC news item showing some examples.
Related links and info
- Build your Linkedin profile – Takes you through how to build your profile and get the most out of Linkedin.
- Develop Your Personal brand – IdeasByBlog Article looking at social media in your job search.
- Creative choices – Status update: new job – Article looking at how to build an online presence.
- The Unilife Social Media Page – looks at social media from a legal perspective and offers advice on bullying, your career and more.
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