Employers have invaded social media and it doesn’t look like they’re leaving anytime soon. Forty-three percent of employers use social networking sites to research job candidates and an additional 12 percent plan to start soon, according to a recent CareerBuilder survey. But that doesn’t mean that it’s time to deactivate your profiles — in fact, employer involvement in social media is great news for your job search.
With an influx of recruiters, hiring managers, career coaches and human resources professionals saturating social media, it’s time to embrace their presence and glean the best advice and resources they have to offer. Even better, you get to browse social media all for the benefit of your job search. Just save the cat videos and web comics for after you check out these employment-related social media sites.
Blogs and Twitter
Twitter has been hailed for its real-time communications and capturing the moment in 140-character Tweets. However, the micro-messages don’t always have the room to tell a whole story, so they’re often accompanied by links to blogs or news sites to offer follow-up information. This information curation makes Twitter and the blogs they’re often promoting excellent resources for your job search or career advancement. Natalie Bidnick is the digital strategist for Elizabeth Christian Public Relations in Austin, Texas. She says, “For millennials, I recommend reading the Life After College blog and following founder Jenny Blake on Twitter (@jenny_blake).” The blog offers articles and videos on real issues that college graduates face as they transition to their new professional life, and Blake’s Twitter account often points to view-worthy webinars and job-search tips that any young professional will find useful.
For job seekers and workers at all stages in their career, “Brazen Careerist provides more tongue-in-cheek advice,” says Bidnick, both on their blog and Twitter account (@BrazenCareerist). Topics like work-life balance, on-the-job success and job-search advice are explored on the blog, and the Twitter account frequently points to job opportunities and advice for interviewing and networking.
Professional networking sites
While most social media sites originated for personal use and have since expanded to include professional commentary, networking and opportunities, there are some sites that are frequented primarily by job seekers, recruiters, human resources professionals and hiring managers. Professional networking sites like LinkedIn or more niche message boards that are industry-specific allow you to brand yourself as the kind of job candidate that’s perfect for the job you want. They also allow you to tap into industry resources and get the best and newest information available.
In addition to creating a professional presence on social media, you can use these sites to network and interact with industry leaders, stay in touch with past co-workers, garner recommendations and share your own ideas.
Personal profiles and Facebook
If you have a Facebook account, you’ve likely done your fair share of snooping. After all, if you meet somebody new, finding them on Facebook and learning their background quickly is an easy way to see what you have in common and also accelerates the relationship. Little did you know that this sleuthing was preparing you for your job search, too.
Besides following pages that offer advice and resources for your search, you can use Facebook for company research, which usually offers a more entertaining read than the company’s “About Us” page on their website (but don’t forget to read that, too, if you’re seriously applying). You can even pose questions on their page, like asking what’s the best part of working there or what direction the company sees itself going in over the next few years.
Just remember to keep your Facebook page, along with any other social media profiles, clean and professional if you’re using them in your job search. That same CareerBuilder survey found that 51 percent of employers who research job candidates on social media said they’ve found content that caused them not to hire the candidate.