As technology and culture continue to evolve, so does the way people find jobs. A 2019 study showed that more than 1 in 10 recent hires found their current role through social media. Could you be next? Let’s walk through: 

  • Why social media is important for your job search
  • The type of jobs recruiters fill from social media
  • Which platforms recruiters use most
  • How to make your social media profiles recruiter friendly
  • 8 ways to use social media in your job search
  • How to separate between personal life and work-life on social media

The truth is, in some cases, social media could literally make or break your chances of landing the job. The 2020 Harris poll surveyed 1005 hiring managers and found that 70% believe that every company should screen potential candidates’ social media profiles when considering them for a job opportunity. And if a candidate has no social media presence? 21% said they would no longer consider that person for the job.

What type of jobs are recruiters trying to fill on social media?

If you’re thinking that social media only applies to “other people’s” jobs or industries, think again. In a study from SHRM, 87% of the hiring professionals surveyed said they used social media when recruiting for nonmanagement roles, 82% used it for management roles, and 55% took to social media for upper management or executive-level positions.

While it was less commonly used for executive roles, an overwhelming majority of recruiters use social media for all other types of positions. That means, chances are, someone is taking a scan of your social media profiles.

Which social media platforms are recruiters using?

These days it seems like there’s always a new social media platform popping up. But don’t worry – you don’t need to join them all. In 2017, 87% of recruiters reported using LinkedIn to source candidates, and 55% reported using Facebook. Next up, are Instagram and Twitter

When it comes to deciding which social media platforms are right for you to focus on, however, it’s important to do some research on the businesses you’re most interested in applying to first. The social media platforms they are most active on are likely a sign of the ones you should focus on, too.

How to make your social media profiles “recruiter friendly”

A survey conducted by CareerBuilder found that 54% of employers ruled out a candidate due to finding something on their social media profile that they didn’t agree with. To avoid being one of the 54%, follow these guidelines to help make your social media primed for recruiters.

First, you’ll want to audit your existing social footprint. This means doing a Google search of your name and taking a peek at any existing social media accounts you have. Make note of anything that pops up in a public search that might not paint you in the best light and consider removing or hiding it during your job search.

Now is also a good time to adjust your privacy settings on any social media channels you’d like to make completely private. On certain platforms like Facebook, you have the option to make some posts public and others exclusive to your friend’s list. Get familiar with these settings. 

Next, you’ll want to select the primary social media channels you’d like to use in your job search. Spreading yourself thin across four or five social media channels could actually weaken your efforts. Instead, pick two channels to focus your efforts on. Finally, be sure to add key links to websites, portfolios, or resumes in your social media profiles or bios. This will make it easy for recruiters to learn more about you and connect with you. 

8 ways to use social media in your job search

The recruiters aren’t the only ones leveraging the power of social media. In a 2018 survey, 79% of job applicants reported using social media in their job search. Using social media, and using it as a helpful tool, however, can be two very different things. Here are 8 ways to use social media in your job search.

  1. Follow companies or individuals you’d love to work for. You’ll be able to keep tabs on open positions, opportunities, and get a sense of the company’s personality and culture. All useful to your job search.
  1. Follow thought leaders in your industry. Every industry has “thought leaders”, or professionals who create and share cutting edge information on social media. Following these folks will help you stay ahead of the trends, up-to-date on your industry, and can alert you to new opportunities.
  1. Network and build connections consistently, even if you’re not actively searching for a job. What does this really mean? Comment and interact with posts from people in your network and industry and offer to connect with friends and colleagues when needed. It never hurts to befriend a recruiter or two, either!
  1. Consistently share original industry-related content. Establish your own personal brand by creating your own posts about job and industry-related topics. This helps you stay fresh in the minds of your existing contacts and expand your reach to new ones. 
  1. Use relevant hashtags on Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn posts to make yourself more visible. On these platforms, hashtags can help new recruiters, hiring managers, and existing employees take notice of your posts. This can get you on the radar of new connections. Not sure what these hashtags might look like? While they vary depending on your content and industry, use these for some inspiration:
  • #opentoopportunities
  • #jobsearch
  • #gethired
  • #remotework
  • #marketingmanagerjobs
  • #softwareengineerjob
  1. Search Instagram and Twitter for job leads via the relevant hashtags. Those relevant hashtags that you’re putting on your own posts can also lead you to other posts that can help you in your search. Simply type in the hashtag in the search box and scroll through.
  1. Participate in Live Chats on Twitter, or Instagram or Facebook Live streams to increase your visibility. Each social media platform offers unique opportunities to connect in a real-time way with people in your industry.
  1. Research your interviewer on social media before you meet. Just like the company might be taking a look at your social media, so should you prepare by researching theirs. This can help you better understand the personality of individuals you’ll be interviewing with as well as the company culture on a broader scale.

How to separate personal life and work life on social media

For many people, social media isn’t something they are comfortable with bridging the gap into the professional world. That doesn’t mean you’ll be automatically counted out for a position, but there are a few steps you can take to help eliminate the discomfort.

First off, if there are any social media accounts you absolutely do not want a potential employer to see, it’s a good idea to make the entire profile private. Your basic profile might still come up in a search, but the details and content will remain hidden for people you haven’t approved to follow you. 

You can also consider the option of creating a public “business profile” that is intended for professional use only while also maintaining a private profile only for friends and family. It might require a little extra work but can help with maintaining separation between work and personal life.

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