When looking for a job, many are mainly – if not exclusively – using the Internet to search for vacancies. Company websites and job search portals such as Seek and Indeed are common places jobseekers visit, but social media is gaining popularity for its ability to easily view job openings and network with potential employers. So how can you put your best profile forward and leverage social platforms to secure the job of your dreams? Read on to find out…
The ability for social media to target job ads quickly and efficiently to an intended audience make it a popular choice for many companies and recruiters. In a 2021 study by CareerArc, 92% of employers surveyed said they use social networks to find talent, with many companies preferring to use social media over job boards and referrals to fill their vacancies. Conversely, 86% of job seekers were found to have used social media in their job search last year with a whopping 49 million people worldwide found to use LinkedIn’s online job boards weekly.
Social media platforms make sharing information easy by helping employers increase brand visibility, whilst job seekers can find vacancies they may otherwise not see. LinkedIn currently ranks fifth in Australia’s most popular social media platform, with approximately 6.5 million active users per month, and is targeted at professionals, businesses and organisations. In contrast, Australia’s number one platform Facebook focuses on personal connections with friends, family and other people who may share similar interests - but Facebook’s large user base (18.5 million active users in Australia) allow businesses to reach a broader audience and consequently reach a larger pool of potential candidates. Both LinkedIn and Facebook have job posting features, but choosing between the two will depend on your specific goals and needs as a job seeker or recruiter.
Once you have found a job post that captures your enthusiasm, you can get in touch with the named contact person if you have any direct questions about the advertised position – for example, the requisite key competencies and/or the expected level of experience. Always use professional language when sending a message and wait for their reply. Under no circumstances should you send a Facebook friend request to the decision-maker or to other employees of the company.
The web as a digital calling card – structure of a professional social media profile
Apart from being able to actively look for jobs on social networks, there is also the chance that a company will find you. HR people and recruiters regularly go hunting for potential new recruits, so informative profiles that highlight your professional skills are beneficial. Make sure your profile is complete and consistent; employers like to see that potential candidates have a good command of social media and a broad network. It therefore makes sense to emphasise your personality and your capabilities. Make regular posts, including serious and humorous comments or exciting vacation snaps. However, it is important to keep your profile invisible to strangers, so remember to make good use of the privacy settings.
Keeping your social media profile up to date also increases your visibility to recruiters. Failing to update your account from time to time could create the impression that you no longer use it. Don’t be shy about including even what seem to be trivial issues in your digital calling card. A weekend course on change management? A visit to a museum of technology? Publish the information! For an attractive job, it certainly upgrades your profile both as a person and as a potential candidate.
The Internet never forgets: Be careful about what you post!
Once your social media account is active, be careful about what you post and where - you do not want something you publish or comment on to become a career killer. Surveys have found that one in four HR managers don’t short-list or recruit candidates because of single entries found on social media. Vulgar and embarrassing photos, questionable gossip or inappropriate comments should be deleted. To find them, google your name and check the photos that appear in the picture search. If you find information that you can neither delete nor edit, do everything you can to achieve more positive than negative search hits. Use pictures to underscore your image. Join corporate groups, take part in discussions and share relevant and sensible content.
What are the advantages and drawbacks of applying via social media platforms?
There are many reasons to use social media to apply for jobs, but they may have drawbacks too.
One major advantage of this form of application is that it lets you quickly communicate details of your skills, personal information and updates with an extensive reach. It is much easier and more effective to position yourself as an expert on social media than via analogue channels. Another benefit is that merely having an up-to-date and well-looked-after profile makes others perceive you as a media-savvy person with good digital skills. Both attributes are in demand in virtually every line of work these days. It is also much easier online to build up a network of interesting contacts and engage in fascinating discussions. Better still, headhunters and recruiters who would not otherwise have found you are more likely to come across an informative profile.
However, the relatively large amount of work involved in maintaining social media profiles can be seen as a disadvantage. Moreover, it is almost impossible to completely avoid dubious and at times downright malicious messages and inquiries. Similarly, it can be frustrating to receive frequent contacts that never lead to lasting cooperation. Possible misjudgements in your public image can be corrected but may be widely circulated and could potentially damage your reputation before you remedy them. It is also important to know that your current employer (if you have one) could more easily learn of your efforts to leave the company.