To The Upcoming Graduation Class Of 2020


I was speaking with my daughter and her roommate today about how their job hunt is going? Her roommate said she is having a very  hard time landing anything after the first interview. I asked her a few questions on her interviewing skills, how she presents herself, the format of her resume, and also about how her social media. My daughter and I had to discuss these questions prior to her last year in college at Georgia State University. 

Now Big Brother may or may not be watching you, but there is an increasing likelihood that prospective employers are at least when it comes to your social media profiles.  With graduation season upon us, many former students are posting their grad party exploits, much to the amusement of their friends on Facebook and other platforms. Many are also demonstrating their social media prowess with political rants, complaints about bosses or intimate Instagrams.

But these posts can have serious ramifications for job searches once the parties are over and it’s time to pound the pavement. Like I explained that employers aren’t just looking at social media but most of them are using online search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing to research candidates as well.

In today’s time most workers have some sort of online presence today and more than half of employers won’t hire those without one. 

This scrutiny on the part of employers can result in rejection for job applicants, with over 40% of hiring managers reporting that social media content has caused them to reject candidates. I had to deal with this a few weeks ago with a client of an accountant firm. On paper and letters from the candidate college counselors, professors, former employers. and internships had great reviews and a sure fit for this position from having scoring really high in his class. 

The top reasons for these rejections include postings of provocative or inappropriate photographs or videos, racist rants, information about drinking and/or drug use and complaints about previous employers.

In addition, posting too frequently and posts exhibiting poor communication skills are also “red flags.  

So these are my tips for how to really use social media. 

Most of us are already using social media in our personal lives. You could even say we’ve come to rely on it as a primary method of communication for keeping us in touch with a wider network of friends, family, and acquaintances that would be possible without it.

While you might not be able to go an entire day, or even a few hours, without checking in on your social accounts, there’s an untapped potential of social media that you might not be aware of.

We’re talking about the potential of social media to help you lose or land the job of your dreams or at least one that will move you out of your current career rut.

It’s estimated that most recruiters turn to social media to discover new talent. But, there’s a little bit of preparation that needs to be done on your part if you want to be one of the people they discover.

To help you out, I put together a few tips to help you use social media to get the job you want and deserve.

Build Your Audience

You have built your brand, now it is time to build your audience by connecting with the right people. Research influencers in the industry you wish to work in and connect with them or follow them. Once connected, engage with them and share their news.

Employers understand the importance of using social media as part of their recruitment strategy too and are investing in creating their online recruitment brand. They will be utilising social media channels to highlight their corporate values to attract the best talent. Check out the social media platforms your dream companies are using and engage with them. You may think that employers won’t be on Instagram and Snapchat, but think again! Employers are starting to understand the potential of the untapped pool of talent that are using these social media platforms. They are using relevant hashtags and are beginning to use “My Stories” to inform their target audience of their company culture. Even McDonald’s recently used Snapchat to recruit young employees. Therefore, take a look and see if your dream company is doing this and use their tactics in your social media strategy too.

There are groups, circles and hashtags that can be joined and engaged with for everything these days, so search and find relevant ones to the career you want. Here you will be able to keep up-to-date with industry news and join in the discussions. Always try to ensure that you are posting relevant and insightful posts though. You want to come across as being knowledgeable, not just someone posting for the sake of it. Remember, you are not always trying to attract the attention of those higher up the career ladder than you. Your peers will also be interested in what you have to say. They could easily become aware of an opportunity in a company, think you’re perfect for the role based on their previous contact with you and may subsequently put you forward for the job. 

Get Noticed With The Right People

Next, we’re going to talk about how you can be the one that stands out in the crowd. The first rule of the game is to engage. Meet people in the industry you are putting all of your energy into, and find out who the people are. Find experts in your Linkedin pages and trust me it’s never hurts to ask them questions and ask for feedback about the company they work for. Now it can be intimidating approaching a job search through social media, especially if you’re starting with a nonexistent professional network.

Google, Yahoo and Bing Yourself

You need to google yourself and see what pictures or even information about you are on the world wide web. Companies are going to do it, so you have to clean your online presents up fast before they see it. 

Clean Your Social Media Profiles Up

You may have some friends and family members that are just embarrassing and those are the people you need to keep out of the viewing eyes of potential employers. My mother always said, “Birds of a feather flock together.” So dont look like one of those birds that you feel will hinder you from getting your dream career. This is called Listening to the old folks, trust me it works.

 We live in a digital world that has made it far more convenient to find the job of your dreams. Not only can you easily research your employers online, you can watch their recruitment videos and have a video interview via tools such as Skype. With the development and growth of social media, you can now even use this to your advantage within your job search too.

There are lots of different social media platforms that can be used to aid in your job search, but the important thing is not to get overwhelmed. Stick with what you know and what you are comfortable with. There are many ways that you can use social media to boost your chances of securing your dream job, but here are 3 key pointers to help you get started:

Position Yourself to Be the Candidate Recruiters are Looking For

There are no two ways about it, you need to treat your job hunt as a marketing campaign. Before you start conducting your search online, carry out a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threat) of yourself and compare it to what you need for your dream job. This will help you to create your online profile and help you identify your Unique Value Proposition (UVP). This is your unique combination of skills, experiences, accomplishments, behavioural competencies and attitudes that create the value you can add to potential employers.

LinkedIn is considered the world’s largest professional network and is the most frequented platform for recruiting, so it is worth investing some time in getting your profile on here right:

  • Profile photo – Choose a photo that represents the professional you. Now is not the time for a selfie! This is the first time a potential employer will see you, so it should reflect how you would look in a job interview.
  • Compelling introduction – Be concise in introducing your potential employer to your abilities, key accomplishments and your career goals. Take a look at how people you admire in the professional world describe themselves and a few drafts of this very important introduction before using your final version. Think of this introduction as the online advert for you.

Facebook and Twitter are also used in the recruitment space and it is worth remembering that a fifth of employers have rejected candidates because of their online behaviour. Facebook is usually the first place employers will go when deciding if you are the right candidate or not, again, so clean up your profile and carry out the listening to the old folks – Ask yourself “Would you be happy for that post or picture to be displayed on a billboard for everyone to see?” If the answer is “no”, delete it!

 Always Be Engaging

It would be worth considering setting up a website for yourself, or a blog, so that you can then write insightful articles. You can then share these articles across your social media platforms. Social video generates 1,500% more social shares than text and image combined. Therefore, creating videos to share, or even creating a showreel of yourself and adding it to a YouTube channel, would allow you to stand out from all the usual posts and tweets.

So, embrace social media as part of your career hunting strategy, get your profile right, make good connections, share compelling articles and comment insightful thoughts and then make sure your work experience speaks for itself on your CV and the job of your dreams is there for the taking.

About the Author: Tandricus R. Thomas (Founder & CEO 5 Points Recruiting & Staffing Agency, LLC)

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