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Working Wise - Social Media Job Search

Dear Working Wise,

How important is social media in job searches today? Do employers even look?
Signed, Skeptical

March 29, 2017

Dear Skeptical,

Every employer and industry is different, but surveys show that many organizations are using social media to find and evaluate employees.

The Jobvite 2015 Recruiter Nation Survey found that 92% of the 1,400+ recruiters they surveyed use social media to recruit new staff. And, 78% of them said they find their best candidates through social and professional networks.

CareerBuilder.com’s 2016 Social Media Recruitment Survey found that 60% of the 2,000+ hiring managers surveyed said they are using social networking sites to research candidates.

You might be tempted to delete your online presence so they don’t find anything negative, but 41 per cent of respondents to the CareerBuilder survey said they are less likely to interview a candidate if they can’t find anything about the person online.

Obviously, you want your social media channels to be free of embarrassing and controversial content like: provocative photos, excessive drinking or drug use, discriminatory comments, criticism of current or past employers or co-workers, or poor grammar or spelling.

More interesting is that recruiters told CareerBuilder that they like seeing social media content that

  • conveys a professional image
  • reinforces your job qualifications
  • demonstrates you have strong communication skills
  • shows your personality will fit in well with their corporate culture
  • shows that you are a well-rounded person with a variety of interests

If you want to know where to focus your energy, Linkedin, Facebook and Twitter remain the top-three social media channels searched by recruiters according to the JobVite survey.

Don’t let a poor social-media profile cost you your next job opportunity. Use these tips to start using social media to your advantage:

  • Google yourself and scan your social media for compromising content and remove it.
  • Separate your personal and professional social media lives into using different pages, groups or circles.
  • Use privacy settings to limit access to your personal channels.
  • Avoid blogs and forums about controversial topics like politics or religion. Use an alias if you can’t resist participating.
  • Create a Linkedin profile and start connecting with professional colleagues that you already know. Be sure your profile is consistent with your resumé. Endorse your contacts’ skills and they will likely endorse you.
  • Participate—social media is about interaction. Follow professional blogs, join industry groups or circles on your social media sites and contribute opinions, interesting articles, news and trends.
  • Post projects you’re proud of and link your social media profile to the web pages or YouTube channels of groups, teams or projects that you are involved in.
  • Follow your local Alberta Works social media channel to get the latest job postings and job fair news.

Check out these articles for more social media tips:

Good luck!

Photo Credit: © iStockphoto/hjalmeida

Working Wise is a syndicated newspaper column prepared by the Government of Alberta to answer work-related questions from Albertans. Do you have a work-related question? You can send it to Charles Strachey (charles.strachey@gov.ab.ca), a manager with Alberta Community and Social Services.

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