Like it or not, social media is here to stay and there are many benefits when it comes to looking for a new role – some advertisements are promoted only through social media and, of course, networking and making your CV visible has never been easier. But, it is also being increasingly used by employers to check out their candidates online and make recruitment decisions based on what they find…
According to an online survey conducted in 2017 by Harris Poll, 70 percent of employers used social media profiles to screen their candidates before making the decision to offer a role. This is up significantly from 60 percent last year and just 11 percent in 2006.
But what does this mean for you if you are considering applying for a new role? Should you simply delete all your accounts or make them completely private? Well, let’s not be too hasty… Here are some great ways to make this work for you:
- Social media can be used as your ‘shop window’. While employers expect you to maintain a professional image on sites like LinkedIn, they might look at Instagram, Twitter and Facebook to see what you’re really like. Forewarned is forearmed – you can use these sites to promote the parts of your life that demonstrate your rounded profile. Photos of you with family and friends, carrying out charity work, engaging in interesting hobbies are all great advertisements for you as the sort of person they might like to work with!
- LinkedIn is a great resource for promoting your online CV but the most valuable tool here is the endorsements you can provide. Ask your previous employers and colleagues to review you and help future employers see what you offer.
- It can reinforce your application. If you say you worked for certain organisations and have certain skills, these can be reinforced through your online profile. List the organisations you worked for and include them in your LinkedIn profile. You can go into more detail here than you might have room for on your CV and can really demonstrate your skills to an interested employer. Keep it consistent across all social media platforms.
- Showcase your talents. To some extent, this is role specific – but you might be able to demonstrate your abilities to perform well, not merely tell an employer you have skills. Linking to an online tutorial or lecture on a favourite subject might be a great way for an academic to sell themselves to a new university. If you are a website designer, give clear links to your most successful sites and allow your work to speak for itself. If one of the skills in the advertised role is public speaking, a video of you speaking on YouTube could be a great marketing tool.
- And finally, don’t forget, someone with no online presence might be seen as technologically outdated or give the impression that you have something to hide.
So, social media profiles are a great way to get a new role? Well they can be, but there are some things that you must never do:
- Don’t post inflammatory comments. Go back over your online history to check for this with great care. Things you might have said when you were younger and now regret, cast very long shadows.
- Be careful to check photos you’re tagged in and ask friends not to do this without your consent. It might have been a great night out, but those pictures of you dressed up in a costume, on holiday, with a pitcher of cocktail… well, they might not give the image you want to be shared with an employer.
- Never criticise a previous employer. If you wouldn’t say it in an interview, don’t post it online.
Above all, the key thing to do is to check out how visible you are. A simple way to do this is to open a private window on your browser and search for yourself online. What will an employer see? Once you know what’s out there, you can remove anything you don’t want to be visible and highlight the information which shows you in a good light.