How can job-hunters use social media to their advantage?
Well it’s no lie; social networks are becoming the next big thing when it comes to Recruitment and HR practices. As a Master student, nearing the end of my research in Social media for the use of marketing purposes within the SME in Ireland, I am on the hunt for a job and I find myself using Social networking sites, primarily LinkedIn.
You hear people saying that social media is a “FAD” but what does this mean. A Fad is usually associated with an intense and widely shared enthusiasm for something especially one that is short lived, a craze. However, the structures are already in place for social media and personally I don’t think it will go anywhere to soon. Social networking sites now reach 82% of the world internet population aged 15 and older and can be accessed through multiple channels, PCs, laptop, mobile devices; tablets etc. People in today’s world are more connected than ever before. There are over 800 million users of Facebook, just over 2 million of this are Irish users, Twitter has 177,000 Irish profiles and LinkedIn 120 million users worldwide. It’s amazing to read that Ireland ranks as having the second highest market penetration in relation to LinkedIn usage at a rate of 21% with up to just under 500,000 profiles. Every year the figure keeps growing. This is just a snippet view of the supposed “Fad” that is social media.
In my own opinion, I think LinkedIn is the key social network for recruitment and job hunting. From using LinkedIn myself I have found it to be valuable. By using LinkedIn you are, basically, uploading your C.V to a online platform, therefore I would advise that you have good recommendations, whether it’s from a lecturer in college to a previous/current employer. You can find out a lot about a person from a profile before initial contact is made through an interview. The best thing about LinkedIn is that this service is free you can get all of the above on a basic package. Watch out for job posts on the site and be ready to send your profile as an application for the job, this profile is representing you for the position being offered. Have your profile presentable and professional.
I never realized the full power of twitter until recently. I have been using twitter, for the past number of years, mainly for celebrity stalking!! But I have now turned it around for business/employment opportunities. A lot of recruitment agencies are now Tweeting job opportunities. Watch out for recruitment agencies on Twitter and follow them. Tweet them on occasion or respond to one of their tweets, get your name familiar with the agency because the recruitment agency will have followers, who may use this agency, and as a result they can follow your tweets and connect to you. So if you are using this be very careful not to tweet inappropriately to celebrities, friends etc!!! The good thing about twitter is that you can engage with agencies/businesses.
If you have applied for a job beware that your Facebook page may be looked at as part of a background check. So no pictures of you to be tagged on a night out, watch your wall for posts from your friends that may harm your chance. Personally i do like Facebook, however I would never use is to hunt jobs. Facebook to me is a social aspect for friends, family etc whereas LinkedIn and Twitter have become very business oriented. But that’s just my opinion. However if you come across a company on Facebook that you are interested in, add them as friends/acquaintance or simply “like” their page. Job opportunities will be posted on their page and it’s a great way to express initial interest in it, but again make sure your profile picture is up to standards.
It is important to get the balance right with social networking, network amongst friends, peers and now businesses, entrepreneurs etc. Use social networks to your advantage when it comes to job hunting, engage with the companies on a regular basis, and write posts, tweets, blogs etc so your name will reoccur time and time again. This expresses your interest in the company and your determination as an individual to become employed in the area, whether it be marketing, IT, HR whatever you hold your major in.
Social networking is here to stay!!
By Helena Carroll