Move Over Farmville: Using Social Media to Find a Job

by Linda Forshaw
You’ve spent the last four years with your nose to the grindstone at college. You’ve graduated with a decent GPA and you’re ready to earn some money. The only trouble is - so are thousands of other students from your graduating year. Competition is fierce and you need a way to stand out from the crowd. Could the first step on the road to your glittering new career be via a social media platform?

According to the Jobvite Social Recruiting Survey 2012, recruiters leveraging social media to reach candidates is at an all-time high with 92% of responding companies stating that they use or plan to use social networks and social media for recruitment purposes. It’s not just fancy talk either - some 73% of recruiters have already hired a candidate who was introduced or identified via a social channel. The majority of businesses (89%) have made a hire through LinkedIn, with hires through Facebook and Twitter standing at 26% and 15% respectively. 

With these impressive figures in mind, it makes sense that social media form at least part of your job hunting plans. The key is to do it right. You should always aim to project the most positive image possible. Think of yourself as a brand and try to present a consistent view across the various platforms. If you “must” post pictures of yourself after one cocktail too many, be sure to set the relevant privacy permissions to avoid putting off a potential employer. Don’t be fooled into thinking that you’ll come across as “outgoing.” Almost 50% of the companies surveyed by Jobvite reported that they would respond negatively to pictures of consumption of alcohol. References to illegal drug taking, posts of a sexual nature, profanity, and poor spelling and grammar on posts and tweets attracted even greater numbers of negative feedback. The quickest and easiest way to make a good impression, it seems, is through membership of a professional organization and evidence of volunteering. These two attributes gave a positive impression to up to 80% of the companies surveyed. 

When your various profiles have been tidied up in line with the above guidelines, it’s time to be proactive in your search. Don’t assume recruiters will start banging down your cyber door desperate to offer you a regular paycheck just because your profile makes all the right noises. The two most important things you can do to progress your job search is to firstly identify the companies you’d be interested in working for and connect to their various profiles. This opens the door to future conversations. Secondly you should look for an opportunity to be introduced. Companies consistently report that their highest rated candidates come from referrals. 

Posted by Steve Brady