Most of us are familiar with the tried and tested ways to get a job by now, right? Usually you trawl the same old job sites and boards until you find something that interests you, then you fire over a newly-formatted CV and not-so-modest cover letter and wait in trepidation. But social media is slowly starting to change the job landscape and application process as we know it. (Not the trepidation part – that’s still going to happen whatever you apply for), as employers and recruitment agencies often use it in some way to source the right candidates, whether that’s putting ads on Twitter or checking the Facebook of candidates.
We asked a load of young people below, how they use social media for job hunts in this video, as well as an O2 Social Media Manager, too.
Take their nuggets of wisdom to score that next position using social media. Here’s what you need to remember…
Search your socials
Yeah we know stalking your ex-boyfriend’s sister’s profile on Insta is more fun than using the micro-blogging site for job-hunting, but don’t forget that your favourite networks an be used for sourcing paid opportunities, too. As Jennifer Schofiled, the Social Media Manager at O2 tells us, “increasingly we’re seeing companies advertise vacancies on Twitter and Instagram – but my go-to is still LinkedIn!”
Jennifer recommends “following prospective companies on social media for alerts for new job opportunities but also to stay abreast of company updates and developments.” She explains that when meeting an employer or brand, this could really work to your advantage. “If a company released a new TV ad or had a product launch and you manage to secure an interview, it provides a chance to show a genuine interest in the company by talking about it and telling them what you thought of it. I’d also recommend following competitor channels too as it’s always impressive to showcase that you’ve got wider industry knowledge.” (Bet you didn’t think of that one, did ya?).
Ray Tannor, community liaison officer at Mixcloud said he has turned to the ‘gram for jobs recently. “I found an opportunity on Instagram when I was just casually scrolling one evening” he said. “I watched the Insta story of a brand I follow and they were looking for presenters for their YouTube channel. After watching the video, you were asked to direct message them with your details and then they’d give you their email for a more formal application.”
Ray said it made sense for the brand to advertise their role like that. “There was no other way that message could have been communicated really – they have such large followings on socials that of course the way in which they communicate is the way they hire, too” he said. He didn’t get the role (he ended up at Mixcloud instead) but said he’s now more attuned to the way creative brands look to expand their teams.
Social network sites have become an essential forum to advertise your skills, and not just on LinkedIn. Nah, we’re talking about using your Twitter, Insta and Facebook to let those hiring know exactly what you’re about. We’ve written about being your own brand across social media before, and it basically means being consistent with the message you put out.
So if you want to work in engineering and you’ve just applied for a whole heap of positions, we can assume that a potential employer might have a little Google of your name before your interview. If they come across your Twitter and you’ve been posting a whole load of engineering articles and you’re communicating with all the industry big-wigs in your sector, they’ll probably be a teensy bit impressed.
Similarly if you’re wanting to work in journalism, make sure you have a blog and it can be easily found. Consider creating a Facebook page that links to said blog, and cram your social feeds with all things fashion and journo related. Easy.
Clean up your pages
According to a 2017 CareerBuilder survey, 70 percent of employers use social media to screen candidates before making a hiring decision, and 57 percent of hiring managers are less likely to interview someone they can’t find online. So basically it helps to have a social presence, but if it makes you look like a complete weirdo, it will probably hinder you in some way.
Obviously keep your personality shining through on your public pages (who doesn’t travel and enjoy the odd drink?!), but if your Twitter banner is showing you streaking through a Thai beach during that Full Moon Party of 2015, you might want to consider cleaning up your page.
Jennifer added: “employers understand that social media is ‘social’ media, and it’s a place to connect with friends and family. So just make sure your privacy settings are set correctly.”
Don’t underestimate the power of a professional social media stalk. As Jennifer notes, “social media can be a great way to find out company insights you may not always find on their homepage. For example, LinkedIn and Twitter can tell you who works there, what they’re up to, what news and topics they’re interested in and who’s in their networks.”
Instagram can also be used to your advantage when you get to an interview stage with a company as well. Use it to have a sneaky look at the office culture and consider telling them what you’ve snooped on during that awkward space at the end of the interview when they ask you if you have any more questions. “I’ve seen that you have Taco Tuesdays on your Insta page” you might say. “Who makes the best ones in the office?”. If that doesn’t spell out k-e-e-n, we don’t know what does.
In this day and age you can easily connect with your career heroes to find out not only their full names for those cover letter applications, but what kind of person they are and what kind of stuff they enjoy at work and beyond. Be careful not to reveal the extent of too much sleuthing though, you don’t want to look creepy.
Take it all offline
Jennifer also advises looking for social media to make plans in the real world. “Look out for great opportunities like networking events and career days, or even just chance meetings and conversations – these can create potentially beneficial professional online connections.”
She also said that adding people you meet on LinkedIn is also great. “That way you can keep all your useful contacts in one place, and you never know when you might want to get in touch with them in the future should a potential job opportunity come up.”
Don’t hassle companies on social media
As The Muse reports, personal pages shouldn’t be used to communicate with a company or brand after you’ve already been in for an interview. Why? Well a few reasons really. Firstly, it just looks a bit full-on and cringey and also, the chances of your message being read by the person who interviewed you are very slim. If you Tweet at, or post on, a corporate Facebook page post-interview with something like ‘Hey just wondering if you’ve decided on a candidate for the role yet?’ or ‘It was great to meet you yesterday for the position’ it also blurs the lines between personal and professional.
As The Muse argues, “a post-interview thank you, done well, tells the interview in a very direct manner, ‘I really appreciated this opportunity. It was so nice to talk with you’…This simply cannot be achieved via a wall post.” Very true. Keep it classy and wait for that follow-up email, folks.
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