Social Media and Your Job Search
Social media plays a huge role in the way that we live our lives today; it has become entwined with our social lives, our businesses and our leisure time. It has also become entangled in our job search, offering us an unprecedented opportunity to network, market ourselves and look for work. However, it’s important to ensure that the social media you put out as part of your job search will actually be helpful in finding work; otherwise, you should really leave it off and don’t give the employers reason to poke around it! What are some good social media sites to include in your resume and interview (when asked) and what ones should be left well enough alone? And how can you ensure that your social media presence is squeaky clean?
Social Media that Can Benefit Your Job Search
Not all social media is created equal so far as job search is concerned. The heavy weight here is definitely LinkedIn; in fact, it’s heartily recommended that all job seekers, students and the currently employed have an active LinkedIn profile, showcasing their skills, knowledge, education, volunteer experience and a personal profile about themselves. LinkedIn also has some great resources and is a fantastic way to network. Finally, it looks good to have a link to your profile on your resume and it may well be something employers will look for when they do some research on you before deciding whether to bring you in.
Another good one to have is Twitter, so long as your Twitter is active and you avoid tweeting about anything too controversial. Twitter shows a great snapshot of your personality, your humor, and all around the type of person you are. It also can be used to display your ability to handle concise writing and information flow.
Other social media outlets can be heaped into the ‘maybe’ pile: Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, for example. These are great to use if they are used properly; but if they are not, they can be disastrous.
Using Social Media Properly In the Job Search
So how can you use social media properly to ensure that it is helping and not hindering? With something like LinkedIn, it is easy: fill in the blanks, update regularly and make sure to connect with other people and businesses that you are interested in. However, when it comes to things like Facebook, the protocols get a little murkier.
- Pay close attention to your security settings! Facebook has a large range of security settings you can use so that the public only sees what you want them to see and no more than that. You can also set up different levels so that other professionals can only see one part of you and family can see another part. That picture of you partying? That may have been a fun time that you do not regret, but your prospective boss may not be so thrilled, so set your security so that the boss will never see it. It does not take long to do, nor does it take much expertise, so there really is no excuse.
- Include it if it is relevant. Instagram and YouTube may be great sites to showcase things like art, photography, video and many other skills, but if you’re not going for a job that is related to these things in anyway, there’s little point in bringing it up on your resume. And again, pay attention to security settings and take down anything that could be seen as controversial. Remember: it’s the perspective of the employer that matters here, not yours.
- Set up professional accounts and only use those ones for job seeking. Some people have found more success simply sitting up new accounts on the social media they want to target for their job search and handing those out to prospective employers, thus dodging the worries about employers seeing personal social media. The potential downfall of this is that there is nothing stopping the employer from googling you and if your personal accounts aren’t properly set with privacy settings, they will pop up anyway.
- Use it to follow industries and businesses you are interested in. Remember that social media is networking and if you’re not following the businesses you want to work for, it will be a bit harder for the business to believe that you are passionate about working for them. If you do follow them, make sure to interact a little too: ask questions, leave reviews, and so on. Be engaged in other words!
There are a few social media platforms you should be very careful about including your resume or anywhere else professionally, not because they are inherently bad, but because they are difficult to manage in terms of separating personal from professional. These include sites such as Snapchat and Pinterest, both of which tend to be very tangled up in our personal lives. But any of the social media platforms, save for LinkedIn, could fall under the ‘do not use’ flag, depending on how you use them.
Social media can be a great tool to use in order to add some personality to yourself and to build a rapport with businesses. But it has to be used appropriately, otherwise it could end up completely ruining your ability to get a job in the first place! Consider a clean-up of your social media to prevent problems from coming up as the result of a Google search and make sure that your online presence reflects your job seeking reality.
How do you use social media in your job search?