Over the past decade, social media has become a primary way to interact with others. While posting dank memes and videos of wild fraternity parties may entertain friends, it pays to keep social media pages employer-friendly.
A 2015 Recruiter Nation survey polled over 1,400 recruiters and human resource professionals found that 92 percent of employers use social media to learn more about potential hires. The survey said “social media is a goldmine for recruiters.”
“Social media plays a vital role in the hiring process,” said Betty McWillie, owner of McWillie Career Directions, a career counseling company. “Employers will go to those pages to look and see an individual’s qualifications and what they can learn about them.”
People who are looking for a career should make sure their social media clearly reflects their aspirations, McWillie said.
“Your social media needs to identify your career goals, your qualifications,” McWillie said. “In other words, it should be targeted to the job you want to attain, but it needs to be written in clear concise language.”
Networks like Facebook and Twitter contain a treasure trove of personal and professional information, but the first place recruiters go is LinkedIn.
Mike Esposito, a certified LinkedIn coach, volunteers with the Career Transition Group, and he said being on LinkedIn is extremely important.
“Recruiters who are looking for people almost exclusively use LinkedIn as a resource to find the next candidate,” Esposito said. “It’s really important whether you are in college or a professional to have some form of presence on LinkedIn.”
Social media can serve as both a window into who you are and a tool to help land a good job. By knowing what employers are looking for and want to see, a Facebook page can be made into free personal advertising.
Commonly available information hiring managers look for include length of the applicant’s average job tenure, how long the applicant has been at his or her current job, mutual connections and professional involvement.
The key to making social media is branding, Esposito said. By using personal, professional and career branding, a person can market themselves, their accomplishments and their goals to potential employers.
“Be careful about making sure you’re posting the right stuff on the appropriate sites to avoid mixing your brands and causing confusion,” Esposito said.
Sharing details about any volunteer or social engagement work shows employers the applicant is involved in the community. Professional work can be uploaded as well, and the Recruiter Nation survey said 29 percent of recruiters like to see examples of written or design work. Following influential figures, credible news organizations and educational sources on social media is another way to boost one’s online profile.
More than of half of recruiters in the survey viewed alcohol negatively, so they probably do not want to see videos of their applicant shot gunning a beer. Job seekers should avoid posting the pictures of the last party they attended and instead try to keep their online presence clean, Esposito said.
“You certainly don’t want to come across as a drinker, partygoer (or) womanizer,” Esposito said. “That’s a personal brand, too, but you don’t want to be known for that.”