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There’s no question: most Australian employers will use and check social media channels to screen potential new employees.
So whether you’re an avid user of social media or not, it's important to check what platforms you can be found on - and importantly, which platforms will get you noticed for job opportunities or help you land the role.
Here are our top tips to ensure that you use social media to your benefit in your quest for a new role.
A whopping 97% of recruiters use LinkedIn to find potential recruits, so you definitely want your profile to rise above the competition. At the very least, you should keep your summary and experience sections up to date to showcase your accomplishments, roles and duties.
You should also add a professional-looking headshot as your profile photo. For more tips, read this useful piece on how to get your LinkedIn profile job search ready.
There’s a plethora of social networking sites and online forums on which you could have a presence on, and interaction. From a time management and effort point of view, it’s probably best to carefully select where you’d like to boost your professional profile.
Think about which sites recruiters, hiring managers and your industry peers use, and target those as a priority. The sector and role in which you work will play a part, but in general, sites like LinkedIn and industry-specific social networking sites like GitHub for software developers are more useful than Facebook in getting you noticed for a new role.
It’s important to keep your non-work accounts private: while social media and job search statistics show that 73% of people aged 18 to 34 found their last job via a social platform, a significant proportion of employers also use it to screen candidates – sometimes even before the interview stage. So make sure you review the content and its settings and availability, and keep private information private so that you’re not being knocked out of the running before you even get shortlisted for an interview.
Everyone loves to use Facebook to catch up with mates – but if you aren’t careful with your privacy settings, anyone could be seeing what you post. And while your friends might love that photo of you partying in Las Vegas, it may not be as impressive to a potential employer.
Of course, you have a life outside of work, and it’s understandable if you want to share your personal activity. However, you should switch your personal account to private, and think about creating a second public account for your professional contacts and industry-related updates. It’s quite common for business owners and leaders to do this. While it’s more work to maintain, it could be invaluable in the long term.
RELATED: Managing your online reputation – who’s watching you?
If you’re aiming to grab the attention of potential recruiters or employers, the more information you provide about yourself, the better. Present a full picture so that those viewing your profile are able to make informed decisions about your suitability. Include a full, succinct career history and mention any relevant awards and training. Make sure the profile picture that you choose is suitable in a professional context – think smart, professional headshot, as opposed to your favourite holiday snap of sipping cocktails on the beach. Most importantly, make sure that the facts you state are true; information in such a public domain is easy to verify.
Remember, too, that using your social media for job search purposes goes both ways: recruiters and hiring managers can come to you, but you can also be proactive and seek out opportunities. You can then direct new contacts back to your updated, informative profile.
If you’re doing a job search through social media, making sure you’re marketing yourself and your skills regularly. If you write a blog about what’s going on in your industry, link this to your profile. Likewise, if your Twitter account will add value, connect it there too.
Remember, potential employers want to see that you keep up-to-date with industry trends, so if you can provide a unique perspective on what’s happening in your industry, it will show that you’re engaged in your career and a critical thinker. If there is the opportunity to get involved in forum debates, do so, bearing in mind that once you say it, it’s out there. So think carefully about the viewpoint you’re sharing.
There’s no point in putting all your precious time and effort into creating the perfect social profile if you neglect to add a phone number or email address. A recruiter may like what they see – but if they can’t get in touch with you, you can forget about that job offer. 29% of job seekers have been contacted by recruiters via social media, so if you want to be one of them, add in those contact details.
It’s always a good idea to use social media to share relevant articles – it shows you’re involved with and informed about current trends in your industry, and that’s impressive to recruiters. However, it’s even better to share something you’ve written yourself to really demonstrate that you know what you’re talking about. It couldn’t be easier, and you don’t even have to build your own blog website. LinkedIn has a built-in blog function, and you can simply click on ‘write an article’ to create a post directly from your profile.
It's often said that getting a job is about who you know, and if you connect with key players in your industry, you’re likely to be closer to your ideal role. Networking isn’t a new phenomenon but the ability to connect with people online does make the process easier to manage.
Remember that even if you’re doing your job search with social media, online networking shouldn’t replace traditional face-to-face interactions where possible. Networking is a mutually-beneficial relationship, so also think about what you can offer your connections.
RELATED: 10 networking tips that will work for anyone
Testimonials endorsing your achievements play a big part in painting you as a desirable candidate, but some endorsements hold more weight than others. A glowing reference from a satisfied customer can be perceived as more valuable than the recommendation of a peer you worked with on a project. As with any marketing, third party testimonials (such as clients) also carry weight so if you’re planning your job search using social media, make sure you ask a few key people to write a recommendation for you.
Social resumes aren’t just for people in high-level corporate jobs. In fact, 87% of jobs recruited through social media channels are for non-management roles – so no matter what level you work at, you can benefit from paying attention to your social profiles. Use them to show your knowledge and industry expertise, and you could be in your next role sooner than you expect.
However, updating and maintaining your social profiles should be only one part of your overall job-hunting strategy. If you’re serious about finding new employment, you should also attend job fairs, continue updating and perfecting your resume, and keep reaching out to recruiters to maximise your chance of finding your dream job.
Looking for your next exciting career opportunity? Talk to a Michael Page recruitment specialist today.
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