Profiting Online… Jobs or Your Own Business?

We’ve just launched series 2 of the E4S video series on student job hunting with the first episode “Social media in the student jobsearch”. Join Khai Trung Le as we discuss the importance of sites like Facebook and LinkedIn; not only the benefits students can receive but also how employers and recruiters are using it.

 

On the most basic level, you can use websites like Facebook and LinkedIn to look for vacancies. It isn’t uncommon for companies and jobsites like E4S to update with positions that might be considered of special importance or relevance.

Additionally, social media pages can support your research of the company you’re hoping to join. Showing awareness of the company ethos and the way it represents its public face can help you tailor your covering letter as well as the responses you give at interview to cover ground you already know they want to hear about.

There are dozens of social media sites out there, and we’re gonna focus on arguably the big three most relevant to your job search: Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. However specialist industry forums and sites such as Casting Call are also worth exploring.

Facebook isn’t really known as a professional network site but the number of recruiters and company profiles present means that it’s still highly valid. Some companies post job vacancies as status updates so keeping an eye out might just put the ideal position in front of you.

Twitter occupies a similar space in that it isn’t specifically a networking site for professionals but it is a great way to find vacancies and information, as well as connect with recruiters. You might also want to try a bit of outreach by using the hashtag function – tweeting about roles you’re looking for and adding hashtags such as #vacancy or #applying can help recruiters actively searching these tags find you.

However the most single-minded website has to be LinkedIn, now open to students. Unlike Facebook and Twitter, it is focused on the employment sector and is a great way of networking with recruiters and companies. It might also be considered something of an open goal – while 83 percent of people looking for work on social media are on Facebook, only 36 percent look on LinkedIn. This is in stark contrast to the number of recruiters on each website – 65 percent on Facebook compared to 94 on LinkedIn. It is also a easy-to-search place to host your employment background for employers to check. But more on that later…

It should be no surprise that social media is becoming an increasingly popular environment for young people looking for work, and in the 2014 Job Seeker Survey social media and jobsites like Employment students scored almost twice as highly as places to find work over more traditional routes such as careers fairs and classified ads. So, hopefully you’re convinced of what social media can do to help students, let’s have a look and see what employers are getting out of the equation.

So how many of you have considered the idea that employers and recruiters will check your Facebook profile pre- and post-interview? We mentioned that LinkedIn is a great place for you to host your education and employment background but as information becomes more freely available, employers and recruiters are taking to social media profiles to glean more information about you.

As many as 94 percent of recruiters use social media at some stage of their recruitment efforts, and as many as 78 percent have hired through a social network.

Employers claim that there is now a greater demand for information as competition for vacancies escalates, and what they have gleaned from social media has made significant changes to their evaluation of candidates. The vast majority of recruiters now confess to checking social media profiles and the content of your page may lead to both positive and negative re-assessments. Don’t underestimate how much importance your social media presence has – over two-thirds of UK recruiters have rejected candidates on the content of their pages.

We’re gonna close up by talking about what you can do. Ultimately, there are two options: you can either tailor your social media posts to appeal to recruiters or increase the security settings on your pages. It is very straightforward to ensure that only friends or acquaintances can see your discussions or to vary what kind of posts are visibly publically. But a number of employers have been known to ask for passwords to profiles.

This is a tricky situation to be put in, and far more applicable in the US than in the UK, but if confronted with the request, you can deflect it by asking them whether there was anything else they wanted to know about you and stating you would be happy to talk about it in person. You can also state Facebook’s own policy – section 4.8 for fact fans – that forbids sharing your password. If the recruiter persists, you should consider whether it is a company you would be comfortable working with.

If you want to tailor the pages to be more beneficial towards your job search, you’ll probably want to know the kind of things recruiters don’t like to see on profiles.

The kind of posts recruiters respond the most negatively towards include references to illegal drugs, sex and profanity. Poor punctuation, spelling and grammar also ranks higher than references to alcohol. Not surprisingly, promotion of charity and donations score positively although anyone hoping to impress candidates with their political perspectives will find recruiters ambivalent to your observations.

It’s also quite important to know what kind of information recruiters are looking for on each website – the difference between your LinkedIn account and your Facebook profile.

On LinkedIn, recruiters are looking for professional experience, the length of your professional tenure – basically, how long if at all you’ve been in the industry – and specific hard skills. These are all details that should feature in your CV, but a check of your LinkedIn profile should verify that.

On sites like Facebook and Twitter, recruiters are looking for more personal information, looking to glean whether you are a good cultural fit for the company as well as whether you often comment on the industry as well as relevant experience that might not be featured on a professional account.

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