We’ve all heard that unprofessional social media posts can hurt your chances with employers. Luckily, your social media presence can help your job search as long as you know how to curate a strong and professional online image. Get familiar with what employers want to see on your social feeds, and you’ll be able to adapt accordingly.
The Benefits of Social Media on Your Job Hunt
Even if you only use social media for personal reasons, it can boost your career. Let’s explore how.
Having a Presence
These days, a potential employer is more likely to look you up than not: a 2018 CareerBuilder survey found that 70% of potential employers search their applicants online. But perhaps even more shockingly, it also found that 47% of them don’t contact a job applicant with no online presence.
Considering how difficult job-hunting can sometimes be, you don’t want your lack of social media presence to give your resumé a 50-50 shot into the trash bin.
Showing Who You Are
Contrary to popular belief, your resumé and cover letter are not made to show who you are to the company; they’re a truncated, polished version of your work history designed to upsell yourself.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with that, but hiring managers know that the person they see in your job application might not be the same person they see at work. An audit of your social media accounts gives them a stronger sense of your personality, how you act, and what you believe in (or what they might call your personal brand).
Showing Your Skills
You might think that being active on social media sites will only show that you can use that platform, but think again. Social media can also demonstrate various professional skills, even in non-professional contexts.
For example, a Twitter thread where you explain the mechanisms of cloud-based computing can display a strong background in your field of work and good interpersonal communication skills.
It’s not just for LinkedIn. Building your network on social media can provide you with a wealth of opportunities, whether that’s finding a job, learning something new from another professional, or simply meeting people in your industry that you otherwise wouldn’t get the chance to connect with.
Online networking also lets you connect to professionals in your field no matter where they are in the world, giving it a slight edge over in-person networking. Being active online, joining groups, and keeping tabs on your industry will grow your professional circle and potentially your experience.
Landing Better Opportunities
This goes hand-in-hand with networking. You can sometimes find interesting jobs on job boards, but your perfect job likely isn’t on them. However, with a strong social media presence and a good professional network, you’re more likely to hear of that perfect job by word of mouth; many great positions are never posted online, and the only way to get them is to know the right people.
Curating a Strong Social Media Presence
Social media presence plays a significant role in your professional life nowadays, which will not go away anytime soon. So how can you shine up your social media profiles to appeal to employers and help with your job search?
Keep Consistent and Up-to-Date Profiles
Ensure your job history is consistent and up-to-date across all your social media profiles. If your Twitter and Instagram bios contain your current job title, but your LinkedIn profile hasn’t been updated since your second-to-last job, it shows employers that your activity is inconsistent.
And while it might seem obvious, completely altering your work history between profiles looks suspicious. Remember: small details can have a big impact.
Adjust Your Privacy Settings
Many job-seekers want to protect their privacy and don’t want potential employers poring over their feeds. Keep in mind, though, that a hiring manager may grow skeptical if all of your profiles are completely locked down. It’s often better to adjust the privacy level of certain posts, keeping some of them public and some of them only available to select groups of people.
On some social media sites, you might also have the option of multiple accounts. For instance, it’s not uncommon to have a public Instagram profile and a second profile set to Private.
Show a Bit of Personality
Social media allows employers to see who you are beyond your application paperwork. How you show that is up to you: some people intersperse personal and professional posts, while others integrate their interests into their professional posts. If you have a sense of humor or love of playing the violin, don’t be afraid to show it.
Of course, there are limits: you may want to steer clear of posts discussing controversial subjects, like politics. Be mindful of the standards and unspoken rules of your industry, too. Mentioning The Sex Pistols during a discussion about punk rock won’t get a second look if you’re in the music industry, but if you work with children, you may want to discuss bands with less provocative names.
Be Your Best Self
No matter your social networking sites, put your best foot forward. Be polite, friendly, and somewhat professional. And avoid posts that can be read as rude or hostile, unprofessional, or actively trash-talk. You may have strong feelings about something, but that doesn’t mean you should inadvertently share them with the hiring manager.
Improve Your Job Search with JobsFuel
A strong online presence is essential for your job search, but it’s only one piece of the puzzle. At JobsFuel, you can find plenty of tips on our blog to help you strengthen your applications and interviews. Once your resumé is strong, your interview answers are bold, and your social media is at the top of its game, you’ll be more than prepared for the next step in your job search.