The Rise and Rise of Social Media
The proliferation of social media specifically and the internet more generally, has changed the way that both recruiters and job seekers interact. Where ten years ago, social media channels were in their infancy, today there exists a boggling amount of channels, each with their own customs and rules of engagement.
Social media has also democratised the relationship between job seekers and recruiters. Candidates can use social media to portray their personal brand, highlighting their specific skill-sets and industry experience.
The sheer size and scope of the major social channels such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook mean that their ability to search and filter information from the internet makes them almost as powerful as Google itself. This pace of change has left many confused by the relationship between social media and job adverts/career moves. Many individuals have adapted from looking at new roles in newspapers and trade publications to online job boards, but the next step to social has proved a step too far.
This challenge has affected both recruiters and those looking for their next job role. While recruiters are busying themselves calculating what channels are the most efficient for them in terms of click through rate (CTR) and engagement, job hunters are studying where jobs in their respective fields and matching their skill-sets can be found in the most time efficient manner.
Research is consistently being produced outlining the benefits of social media for both recruiters and those looking for jobs. Unsurprisingly, recruiters are focusing their energies on LinkedIn. As “The World’s Professional Network” with a bespoke job searching function, this is to be expected. Jobvite have reported that 87% of recruiters are now on LinkedIn.
Job Searching Through Social
We are also now seeing how other social channels, particularly Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest are beginning to be recognised for their ability to search and find available positions. Facebook, for example, has a worldwide audience of 1.65bn. Job searchers should recognise it is highly unlikely that their next employer will not be on Facebook, either through a company page or in a personal capacity. Moreover, the power of the Facebook search bar means that organisations and individuals can be found in mere seconds, allowing job searchers to target and vet their next employer online.
As well as searching for a new role, candidates should also be aware of the influence that social media has over recruiters looking to reach out to candidates in regards to specific roles. Having a well fleshed out presence on social media can make the difference between being contacted by a recruiter and not. For those working in professions such as marketing or media, not having a presence on social media is particularly detrimental in the eyes of some recruiters. Adecco reported that 29% of employees have been approached in some capacity by a recruiter through social channels with 9% ultimately being offered a position.
LinkedIn was launched in 2003, acquiring 4,500 members in its first month. It has grown since then to 433m users. In June 2016 it was acquired by Microsoft for $26.2bn which will allow for some ground-breaking developments, including integration between Microsoft Office and LinkedIn contacts. LinkedIn lends itself to job searching because it is the most “professional” of all the networks. Its tone is business-like and users are expected to present themselves as such.
There are two major advantages to using LinkedIn as an individual looking for a role. The first is that it allows you to build up a personal profile and brand, highlighting past roles, experience gained, highlights, key skills, education, and individual sections for recommendations from colleagues or clients. This “online CV” means that recruiters can very quickly gain a sense of an individual without ever having to meet them, or even have a conversation with them. Needless to say, the most beneficial thing that a job seeker can do here is to have this section as fleshed out as possible. Top tips include:-
· Use a professional head and shoulders photograph – not one taken on a night out.
· Fill out your past job roles including employer and position held. Then think of the text box as you would a CV. Rather than citing every detail within the role, put down your accomplishments. If you have any presentations, training materials, or videos that you have used within past roles, insert them in also.
· If you do not have any on your profile, ask for endorsements from past colleagues or employers. When asking, make it easy for them by including some bullet points that you would like them to use as a prompt.
· Use your headline to illustrate your key skills, eg, “John Doe – Social Media & Content Strategist – Using the power of social to help B2B companies win sales”. This will increase the opportunity for you to show up in search results.
· Intersperse key words that you would like to be found for within your profile. This will further help you show up in search results.
· Fill out the summary section showing what you are passionate about and how you will benefit your next employer.
· If you have a list of companies you would consider working for, follow their company pages and keep abreast of news and announcements.
· Further enhance your profile by participating in groups relevant to your industry or skill-set, asking and answering questions, and participating in discussion.
· Search your connections to see if they are connected to anyone you would like to reach out to. Politely ask your connections if they can introduce you.
· Job seekers can also share their thoughts and opinions and show what they are passionate about through LinkedIn Pulse, LinkedIn’s bespoke publishing platform. Write some content that shows what you care about and that highlights your skills and experience. Lacking inspiration? Look at the Pulse channel; there is literally millions (of varying quality!) to read.
The other major benefit that LinkedIn has, and the reason it is central to many job seekers approach to finding a new position, is that it has a bespoke jobs board. Clicking on the “jobs” tab at the top, will take you through to the LinkedIn jobs board. (This is also available as an app on both IOS and Android). LinkedIn job search works in a similar way to a jobs board, with the option to filter by geography, sector, seniority, or job title. There are 6.5m jobs currently posted on LinkedIn, an opportunity for anyone, regardless of experience or sector, to find their dream position.
Facebook is the most famous of the social networks, currently utilised by almost 1/3 of the world’s population. Founded in 2004, Facebook has as its central tenet “to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected”. In 2014 Facebook acquired instant messaging service WhatsApp for $19bn. The internet giant, which acquires over 7,000 new users every 15 minutes and in 2015 boasted 22% of worldwide internet advertising revenue should be considered by anyone searching for a job. Nor is Facebook being ignored by recruiters. Over half are currently active on Facebook, looking at their next potential hire. Like LinkedIn, for job seekers, Facebook has as its major advantage the opportunity to search for roles and companies with its vast search potential and for job seekers to influence the possibility of being found by recruiters through their personal profile.
Facebook is traditionally known as a “true” social network, one that is used by employees in their own time rather than for work or within their career. That is not to say that it cannot be used as such however. One of the simplest methods for job seekers is to ensure that your personal profile remains “professional” at all points. This can be taken a step further by actively joining groups, and participating in discussion relevant to your career and industry. Job seekers can indicate professional interests and hobbies in their profiles instead of standard personal interests also. Most major brands will have a Facebook page which can be liked and followed for the latest news and announcements. It is worth remembering that news and announcements that come through social channels may well be announced before other channels. Moreover, it is certainly possible for news to come out that suggests that roles are about to be released such as a PR release stating a company is “expanding”. Use this information to your benefit by contacting the company early before other potential candidates.
Although Facebook does not have a jobs board as can be found on LinkedIn, with 1.65bn users, one of its main advantages is in the power of its search bar. Start off with a simple search such as “geographic location” + “job” and see what is returned. Then try narrowing the search until you have the results you want to see, such as “Java Developer” + “Birmingham, UK”. These searches will also throw up people. While some may not be relevant to your search, some may be recruitment consultants specific to your search (ie, “Java Developer” in this example) or individuals who may be relevant to your search, such as HR or Hiring Managers. Though not designed as a job searching network, the size and scope of Facebook means that any job seeker should consider utilising its massive search potential.
When discussing Pinterest, conversation tends to go one of two ways. Individuals either love it, and use it for everything from planning a wedding, to finding a recipe for dinner to what dress to wear at a wedding; or, they have never heard of it. A relative newcomer to the social media maelstrom, Pinterest was founded in 2010 and currently has around 100m active monthly users. It centres on the principle of “pinning” items of interest to boards that you create, much like an online pin board. With over 1bn boards having been created covering every subject matter imaginable, Pinterest clearly isn’t going away.
Pinterest’s big advantage over the other social networks is that it is the most visual and the most shared pins are those that are highly visual. As such, for job seekers it is perfect for those that work in creative or visual industries. Pinterest gives you an opportunity to showcase your work complete with links to websites or further information. Where it lacks the jobs board of LinkedIn, or the search power of Facebook, pins on Pinterest are extremely shareable, have a longer shelf-life and gain more interaction than Tweets or Facebook posts. Therefore for those working in creative industries, design, retail, fashion or media, it is an excellent tool to use. One overlooked feature of Pinterest is its ability to put an eye catching spin on the mundane; like a CV. Perhaps it’s time to spruce up your CV so that it is more appealing on the eye than the standard two sides of A4? Consider this board from Career Sherpa on how to give your CV more chutzpah.
Although Twitter has struggled to gain new members since its IPO, it still boasts 310m active monthly users. Twitter has been around since 2006, and was initially set up as a “micro-blogging platform”. While Katy Perry is the most followed person on earth with 87m followers, the average Twitter user has just 208. It allows users to share thoughts and links in a very confined character count – just 140. The beauty of Twitter is that it is instantaneous, meaning it is particularly beneficial for breaking news.
Twitter is possibly the most misunderstood of all the social channels. While it is simple enough for anyone to scrawl out 140 characters, its applications can be far more nuanced when it is used to full effect. To gain maximum impact on Twitter, some of the basic groundwork that work for the other channels equally apply, particularly in having a full profile. Other tips include:-
· Use the same professional head and shoulders photo for Twitter that you would use for LinkedIn. This makes you recognisable across different channels.
· In your profile, use hashtags (#) that you would like to be found for. Conduct a search for hashtags that are relevant to you or your industry.
· Follow prominent companies, HR managers or hiring managers that you would consider working for.
· Show your expertise in your industry. Send regular Tweets, using relevant hashtags.
· Engage in discussion and Twitter chats on your industry.
· Recruitment consultants are also increasingly using Twitter. Find out who the ones in your industry are and follow them/Tweet them.
· Follow specific handles (the @ names) focusing on jobs in your industry/geography.
· Research potential employers through their Twitter posts.
· Show a bit of your personality as well.
· Converse with industry leaders.
· Use resources that can help you, such as Jobvite.
· Use lists to stay on top of your follower list. Lists can be made private, so you can create lists such as “potential employer” or “top companies to work for” without them knowing.
Twitter also has the potential to be used as a job search function. Inserting any combination of words into the search bar at the top will generate a list of results, such as “jobs London”. Which will result in this screen:
From here users have the option of scrolling between the “top” results, looking at “live” results, or in “accounts” the handles of all those specialising in jobs in London. Moreover, by going to the “more options” tab, users can then save this search meaning it can be easily selected in the future. The “advanced search” function under more options will allow for job seekers to further define their search criteria. This list from Agilec gives a list of fifty hashtags that can be used in looking for jobs.
Regardless of whether you are looking for your first job, a step up, or career change, social media is a powerful tool for job searching. Social media has helped to democratise the web and as a result and regardless of what stage in your career you are at, social media is an extremely powerful aide. Social media allows you to brand yourself as you want to be found by employers, by specialising in certain sectors or industries, showcasing projects and engaging in communities and with influencers, you can be seen as you want to be.
Particularly on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter there are also to be found literally thousands of careers from across the globe and in every industry imaginable. Through the correct use of filtering and advanced search, you can filter out the noise and hone in the results that are specific to you. Oftentimes, jobs, or at least the suggestion of job openings, will be posted on social channels before they are formally released allowing job hunters to steal a march on other candidates.
Whatever your industry or career, your next role can be found with just a few clicks of the mouse.
Kenny Pattie is Content & Social Media Manager
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