Employment: How to Use Social Media in Your Job Search

A recent Forbes article written by Jacquelyn Smith entitled: How Social Media Can Help (Or Hurt) You In Your Job Search, provides some interesting insights into the world of employment opportunities through Social Media.

Most people know that Social Media is not just for connecting with one of your childhood or high school friends you haven’t seen for ages, and sharing what has been going on in your life. Nowadays you can use this on-line tool to maximum advantage to your career prospects.

In addition to a résumé, cover letter, or interview, many employers successfully use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+ to get a more objective impression of a potential candidate or to connect with their current and former colleagues. These websites are also good resources for you to learn about companies you are interested in and hear about job openings at once.

This explains why nearly half of all job seekers are active on social networks every day, and more than a third of all employers and hiring managers use these sites in their hiring process.

According to Lee Hecht Harrison, a career transition and talent development consulting firm, 48% percent of job seekers are active on social networking sites on a daily basis, 19% log on about two or three times per week, 22% use social networking sites one to three times per month, or less. Only 11% of job seekers never use social networking websites.

Helene Cavalli, Marketing Vice President at Lee Hecht Harrison, and Greg Simpson, Senior Vice President at Lee Hecht Harrison, stated that Social Media is an increasingly important tool in a job search strategy, and job seekers must understand how hiring managers and recruiters are using social media in all phases of the selection process.

Last year, CareerBuilder.com surveyed 2,303 hiring managers and human resource professionals throughout the U.S. via an on-line poll asking if, how, and why they include social media into their hiring process.

According to the CareerBuilder survey, nearly two in five companies (37 %) use social networking sites to research job candidates. 15 % of the employers, who do not research candidates on social media, said their company prohibits the practice. 11% report they do not currently use social media to screen, but plan to start.

Though 12% of hiring mangers said they are using Social Media to uncover reasons not to hire a candidate, most said they are trying to dig deeper than the traditional interview to find out: 65% whether the job seeker presents himself or herself professionally, 51% whether the candidate is a good fit for the company culture, 45% want to learn more about the candidate’s qualifications, and 35% want to see if the candidate is well-rounded.

So, Jacquelyn Smith advises those job seekers who use social networks to be careful.

While candidates may be aware that their social profiles are public to employers’ watchful eyes, they may not realize their on-line personas are costing them a job. 34% of employers said the following social media discoveries led to a candidate not getting the gig:

“If you choose to share content publicly on social media, make sure it’s working to your advantage,” says Rosemary Haefner, Vice President of Human Resources at CareerBuilder. “Take down or secure anything that could potentially be viewed by an employer as unprofessional and share content that highlights your accomplishments and qualifications in a positive way.”

Brad Schepp, co-author of How To Find A Job On LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Google+, says: Make sure any profiles you write are free of typos, the information is coherent and applicable to your industry [or job you’re trying to land], and your photos present you in a favorable light. You can verify the applicability of the information by checking profiles of others in the same field.”

Not all employers use social media to screen candidates out. 29% of hiring managers said some discoveries have led to them extending an offer:This means the job seekers shouldn’t just focus on hiding or removing inappropriate content. They should work on creating on-line profiles that do a really good job of representing their skills and experience in the workplace.

Brad Schepp shared tips for finding a job using social networking sites. Here’s what he suggests:

1. Create Relevant Profiles

Convincing, professional profiles, which include your job history, should demonstrate not only what you’ve accomplished, but where your strengths are and what you can offer future employers.

2. Network

Connect with others in your industry. LinkedIn’s Groups are an excellent place to do this, Schepp says. Join those groups that appear especially active and vibrant, and then introduce yourself to the other members.

3. Be Engaged

Follow companies in your field on LinkedIn and Twitter so you’re automatically notified about new hires, product developments, and other news. “Like” companies you’re interested in and join the conversation about industry trends on Facebook. This is a great way to demonstrate your expertise and value to a potential employer.

4. Be Known As A Resource

If you regularly answer questions on LinkedIn and provide links to great content on Facebook and Twitter, you are building your social capital.

5. Don’t Ask For A Job

Keep your name in front of people in a position to help your career. And instead of asking people outright for a job, make connections with the right people and let them see you are an intelligent, qualified candidate by updating your statuses several times a week, providing content to the groups you join, and tweeting about that interesting article you just read.

6. Search For Jobs

Websites Simply Hired, CareerBuilder, Monster and Indeed provide access to millions of job postings and are used by a proportionate number of job seekers. Improve the odds in your favor by looking for jobs on company Twitter feeds, on their Facebook pages, and in LinkedIn Groups.

7. Make A Plan

It’s also important to have a plan in mind when you set out to use these sites as part of a job search. Don’t try and do too many disparate tasks all day, every day. You’ll waste too much time and not do anything as well as you could have if you were more organized and disciplined. Work on your profile one day, join groups another, and follow companies a third.

Our Legal Bistro website is a great platform for lawyers’ career prospects. So, we hope the information above will be useful not only to our blog readers but also will help our lawyers become more attractive for their future clients.