Using social media for your job search
Jenna Alexander, National Head of Internal Recruitment for Hays UK, has some handy tips on how to get your job search started using social media.
You’ve now graduated or are on the road to graduating and have begun to think about entering the world of work. You’ve structured your subject and degree choices around your career aspirations, and have probably undertaken some work experience towards helping you achieve them.
Making these career aspirations a reality is heavily dependent on how smart you are in your job search. You might have been top of the class or already have some industry experience, however if you don’t effectively promote yourself and grab the attention of employers and recruiters then you’re probably not going to land that dream job. So how do you promote yourself? Through proper use of social networks.
Compare and contrast: Facebook vs. LinkedIn
Only 28% per cent of graduate job seekers plan to use LinkedIn in their job search.
As a recruitment professional myself, I’m often dismayed by the disregard for and misuse of both Facebook and LinkedIn from entry-level job seekers. Despite the fact that LinkedIn is a bustling hive of hiring activity, only 28 per cent of soon-to-be graduates and recent graduates plan to make use of it in their job search. Equally bemusing is the conduct I see of some candidates on Facebook; 69 per cent of employers reject candidates based on their social media activity, and I’m one of them.
Both networks can be of great use to you in your job search, but only if you understand the differences between the two and how to make the best use of them. In this article I’ll be detailing three principal benefits of each Facebook and LinkedIn, helping to clarify the various benefits of each to you in your job search – starting with Facebook.
Eighty three per cent of job seekers are active on Facebook; however few appreciate its usefulness when job searching. LinkedIn might be the more conventional network for all things business, however Facebook can be of great use to you in your job search too. Here are three examples of things that you can take advantage of:
Colour in your personality
First and foremost, it should be reiterated that Facebook is a common destination for recruiters and employers looking to gain a greater insight into a candidate. Every day there are over 300 million photo uploads, 55 million status updates and 4.5 billion likes on Facebook – and we’re watching all of it. The second most common reason recruiters and employers cite for rejecting a candidate is that they’ve been posting inappropriate photos or comments online.
If you’re going to make your profile accessible to the wider public, then make sure the content you include on there enhances your job prospects rather than hinders them. Tidy up your profile and let it fully display all the positive aspects of your personality.
LinkedIn is regarded as a more professional, sanitised source of information on candidates, so Facebook can be a good place to show off your interests and ambitions outside of the workplace. When employers are considering you as a candidate they’re not just considering your accolades and achievements, but your attitude too – Facebook provides a much greater insight into this than LinkedIn.
Engage with your favourite brands
Facebook is a great place to keep up with employer brands that you admire.
Facebook is a more collaborative medium than LinkedIn, and as such it’s a great place to engage and keep up to date with pages of employer brands that you admire and hope to some day work for.
I’d recommend liking these employers’ ‘Pages’, as well as those of the recruiters that hire for them – you can find Hays UK page here. Engaging with these pages where appropriate, in much the same way as you would on LinkedIn, can help get you noticed by recruiters, all the while increasing your knowledge of the business as a fresh stream of that brand’s content is fed onto your news feed.
With 25 million business pages on Facebook (over six times the amount found on LinkedIn) there is ample opportunity for you to find your next move through the network.
Word of mouth
Finally, word of mouth is one useful facet of Facebook that isn’t replicated on LinkedIn in quite the same way. A close and trusted friend is more likely to refer you for a lucrative position than someone who might share the same interests as you but who you don’t personally know. We know the power of word of mouth from experience; one in three in-house referrals are successfully placed in our business, compared with one in 24 who apply via online adverts.
Purging your friends list and shrinking your Facebook network is quite a popular activity for Millennials however I always advise against it. There’s little harm in having a vast Facebook network of friends; you never know, that person you played hockey against when you were 13 might one day be able to provide you with the job of your dreams.
Facebook has many of its own benefits and uses when job hunting, however it’s LinkedIn which reigns supreme. Consider LinkedIn a living, breathing version of your resume or CV; available for recruiters and potential employers to discover even when you’re busy elsewhere.
Build a robust profile
Recruiters are as much as 14 times more likely to view your profile if you have a picture.
LinkedIn allows you to build a far more detailed and insight-filled profile than Facebook does. In fact, building a robust LinkedIn profile is the first thing you need to do before beginning your job search.
A professional photo is the first thing that is expected; recruiters and employers alike are as much as 14 times more likely to view your profile if you have one. You can also customise your profile URL to smarten up your profile. It’s all about creating a memorable brand; a bright photo and a condensed profile URL will help you to achieve this.
One way to make yourself instantly forgettable is to use trite buzzwords such as “dynamic”, “passionate” and “motivated”. Be original with your profile summary. Let it demonstrate your expertise and ambitions but also give a glimpse into your personality at the same time. Including rich media on your profile is another great competitive advantage that LinkedIn has over Facebook. Whether in the form of pertinent recent projects or a highly graded paper, this is another effective way of displaying your competence in a more interactive manner.
What’s really important for entry-level jobseekers, who may not have held a full-time position before, is to assert your validity and credibility as a working professional. LinkedIn allows you to do this by having other users endorse you for certain skills or write you a personal recommendation. A few kind words from a respected and successful individual can go a long way in reaffirming your employability – much more so than a comment from your friends on Facebook about how much you drank last weekend.
Show off your expertise
Facebook has not had much success in trying to replicate an on-site blogging platform (remember ‘Notes?’), however LinkedIn has. It’s called Publisher and it became available to all users in 2014. It’s since been joined by ‘SlideShare’, an interactive online presentation medium. Both of these tools allow you to publicly reflect on industry developments and/or share your expertise, all the while helping you to get noticed by employers and recruiters within your industry. Make sure, however, that your focus is on quality and not quantity!
It's better to be the best connected than the most connected.
One significant competitive advantage that LinkedIn has over Facebook is the ability to find and connect with other professionals. On Facebook you’re unlikely to accept a connection request from someone you don’t know, whereas on LinkedIn each one of these could be an exciting job opportunity.
Aside from connecting with individual members you can also join LinkedIn groups. The top five most popular LinkedIn groups amongst students and recent graduates are: Social Media Marketing, Harvard Business Review, Digital Marketing, Banking Careers and Finance Club. Hays have a variety of our own groups across a range of industries and countries where you can discuss the latest industry insights and find job opportunities.
When networking, it’s worth heeding the advice of LinkedIn’s founder, “It’s better to be the best connected than the most connected”.
Bringing it all together
The more active you are across LinkedIn and Facebook the more likely you are to secure your big career move. Build a strong personal brand on LinkedIn, making sure you’re sharing relevant content, building a robust network and actively engaging in pertinent LinkedIn groups. At the same time make use of Facebook to show off the more personal, softer aspects of your personality, as well as following and engaging with companies you admire.
Millennials have grown up online and spend a large portion of their waking day on social media. There is a lot of untapped potential for you to be using social media, not just for personal purposes, but professional too. 73 per cent of 18-34 year olds found their last job through a social network, so the proof is in the pudding. Make social media a central tenet of your job search strategy and get yourself out there in the right way!
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About the author
Following a career in Insurance, Jenna Alexander joined Hays in 2006 as an associate recruitment consultant on a start-up Contact Centre desk. By 2008 Jenna managed the contact centre, banking and wealth management teams based in Brisbane, Australia. In 2013, Jenna moved into Internal Recruitment managing the internal recruitment and training function for the state of QLD. In January 2013, Jenna was offered the opportunity to relocate from Hays Australia to Hays UK&I to manage the national internal recruitment function under Nigel Heap and Sandra Henke.
This article was first published on the Hays website.