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How Important Is Social Media for Getting a Job?

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Do recruiters and employers look at your social media profiles? You bet they do, and they use social media to help evaluate and rank potential candidates. To avoid misrepresenting yourself, consider how social media impacts your job search and what you need to do to stay ahead of the game.


How Important Is Social Media for Getting a Job?

In its infancy, social media gave birth to a new form of communication among friends, family, and people around the world. It quickly became a fun way to connect with others and share photos, jokes, and links to websites. As it matured, and as businesses began to understand its value, social media evolved into a sophisticated platform for branding and marketing. However, companies aren’t the only one to reap the benefits of these free online services.

Job seekers can leverage social media to strengthen their resumes, position themselves as industry experts, and establish personal and professional brands. However, job seekers must also take precaution to avoid giving recruiters and employers the wrong impression.

How Social Media Helps You Land a Job

Management Recruiters International (MRI) performed a 2017 Recruiter Sentiment Study to understand how recruiters and employers use social media when evaluating potential candidates. It turns out that during the hiring process:

  • 73% of recruiters view social media profiles all the time
  • 86% of employers view social media profiles at least sometimes

Plus, as far as the importance of social media profiles goes:

  • 50% of recruiters say social media profiles are extremely important
  • 86% of employers say social media profiles are at least somewhat important
  • 70% of candidates say social media profiles are at least somewhat important

Thus, as a job seeker, it’s essential to create and maintain a few profiles to increase your online presence and communicate who you are, what you’re capable of, and where your career is headed.

Consider social media as a free, global platform to establish yourself as an industry professional. Platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram can help you showcase your skills, personality, and interests all in a look-see. A few headshots, well-constructed “about me” section, consistent activity feed related to your industry, and BAM – you have yourself a professional brand.

Social Media Action Items:

  • Set up a LinkedIn account. LinkedIn is like Facebook for professionals. If you don’t already have an account, sign up for free access and start building your profile.
  • Consider your professional brand. Think about the impression you want to give to recruiters and employers. As they say, you should dress for the job you want, not the job you currently have. Consider “dressing” your LinkedIn profile in the same manner.
  • Share your LinkedIn profile. Include a link for your LinkedIn profile on your resume, email signature, and business cards. Give others a quick way to check you out and connect with you online.
  • Connect with professionals. LinkedIn allows you to connect with people from every industry all over the world. Take advantage of this online networking opportunity and send invites to people you know and individuals who align with your professional interests.
  • Sign up for the Getting Started with Telecommuting e-Course. The Virtual Vocations’ Getting Started with Telecommuting e-Course includes tips on how to build an outstanding profile that recruiters can’t ignore.

Related Helpful Resources on the Virtual Vocations Blog:

When Social Media Backfires

Do you have very different personal and professional lives? For example, are you a straight-laced, obedient worker by day and a wild party animal by night? If so, then you need to crack down on your social media habits to ensure that you don’t mix business with pleasure.

Using social media for both personal and professional reasons can get messy. There’s nothing wrong with sharing party pics with friends to relish the memories and show off your beach body, but your current and potential employers don’t always want to see those shots. Instead, employers look for evidence of technical knowledge, industry involvement, and your ability to connect and get along with others. They are also looking for well-constructed thoughts, proper grammar, and correct punctuation.

In fact, any hint of unprofessionalism is a big red flag for many recruiters. As Jobvite found in their 2017 Recruiter Nation Report, recruiters frown upon posts and profiles that contain the following:

  • Drug and alcohol consumption
  • Political diatribes
  • Poor spelling, grammar, punctuation
  • Physically revealing images

Therefore, if you want to impress and please potential employers, you need to clean up your web presence and draw a clear, thick line between public and private information.

Social Media Action Items:

  • Check your privacy settings. Log into every social media profile you have and configure the privacy settings to your comfort level. In many cases, you’ll want to turn off all public announcements and reserve sharing for only those currently in your network. However, you may want to keep your LinkedIn profile as public as possible so that recruiters and employers can find and research you easily.
  • Remove unprofessional photos from your public profiles. If you want to let the world see what you looked like on your first birthday, by all means, keep those sweet baby pictures up. However, you may not need to share your first beer bong experience in college. Be selective about what photos you share and conduct a photo audit periodically to remove images that do not reflect who you are now or who you want to grow into.
  • Set tagging rules. You may not want to let your friends and connections tag you without your approval. Check your tagging rules to ensure that posts don’t automatically associate you unless you manually accept and allow the tag.
  • Clean up your content. Write in complete sentences with correct grammar and punctuation. It may be okay to use industry-related slang, but lay off the curse words. Also, avoid political ranting or extreme negativity. Instead, emphasize what you enjoy and support to avoid posing as a social media bully.

Related Helpful Resources on the Virtual Vocations Blog:

When Your Freedom Feels Stifled

If all this censoring stifles your individuality and brings your career motivation to a screeching halt, have no fear. You can balance your personal freedoms with your professional aspirations without turning into a completely different person.

Social Media Action Items:

  • Google yourself periodically. The best way to know what recruiters see when they Google your name is to Google your name yourself. In fact, Inc. reporter Tess Townsend recommends Googling yourself on a monthly basis. To do so, search for your full name and click on all the search results categories, including videos, images, and news. Scroll through the first five pages of results and click on all the links to see what appears. Some of the links may not be related to you, but it’s important to know what recruiters will find if they visit the links. Also, search for your full name and location, full name and occupation, and full name and previous employers. Pretend you’re a recruiter trying to hunt down specific information. Then, go back to your privacy settings in each profile and update accordingly.
  • Consider using separate profiles. If you want to truly separate public from private information, consider creating profiles strictly for friends and family and different accounts strictly for professional networking. You can control the privacy settings for each so that you don’t have to sensor each post or restrict yourself.
  • Separate your platforms. If managing two profiles for each platform seems like too much effort, consider using a couple of platforms for personal use and a couple for professional use. LinkedIn is inherently a professional platform, but maybe you can leverage YouTube or Twitter for career-oriented posts as well. Then, you can save Facebook and Instagram for personal photos and conversations.

Related Helpful Resources on the Virtual Vocations Blog:

How to Leverage Social Media During a Job Search

So, you know what recruiters and employers don’t want to see on your social media profiles, but what do they want to see? What kinds of posts are they looking for to verify your expertise, confirm your industry knowledge, and determine whether you fit in with the company culture? Though recruiters and employers may look for different specifics, they all care about the same general things. According to Jobvite’s 2017 survey, recruiters perceive the following as positive indicators of a favorable candidate:

  • Samples of work
  • Philanthropic activities
  • Mutual social media connections

Therefore, you want to post less about your personal opinions and more about your accomplishments. Share fewer selfies that have nothing to do with anything and more photos of you at industry-related events. Check into volunteer centers, community events, and public meetings. Show recruiters who you are and what you’re worth by sharing relevant information that demonstrates your best qualities.

Social Media Action Items:

  • Post strategic content. Create and share content related to your career, knowledge, and skills. Share news articles that provide the latest evidence or trends in your field. Show the public that you’re up-to-date and in-the-know.
  • Connect with industry leaders, influencers, and recruiters. Make online connections with professionals who are steps ahead of you. Also, network with recruiters to stay on their radar and potentially dip your toes in their talent pool.
  • Engage with your network. Respond to friend requests and follows promptly. Like and comment on posts written and shared by others. Avoid spamming people but send direct messages to individuals who align with your career objectives.

Related Helpful Resources on the Virtual Vocations Blog:

Ready to Expand Your Virtual Presence?

As a Virtual Vocations member, you can create an online professional profile to accompany your resume and job application materials. Just sign up as a member to receive access to our online services and exclusive job seeker resources. Then, head over to the database and search through thousands of telecommuting jobs that are hand-vetted by our expert job quality specialists. Don’t wait for recruiters to notice you. Instead, align your online presence with your career aspirations and start applying for jobs that advance your remote career.

Are you interested in cultivating your social media presence to help you get a jobConnect with Virtual Vocations on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to share your tips. We’d love to hear from you! 

Photo Credit: 1. iStock.com/marchmeena29

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