Social media is now an essential element for career success. You can of course still get a job without an online presence, but you are far more likely to do so and to receive many more opportunities if you do have one or more social media accounts focused on your career.
The three most consulted social networks for recruiters are LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.
Other networks can be important, depending on your field of work. If you are a fashion designer for instance, Instagram or Pinterest are essential networks to be on. Recruiters may well search for you on Facebook to get a better idea of what you are like. But we will focus this post on LinkedIn and Twitter, as they are the two most important networks for career in general.
Let’s look at the key benefits of using social media and why it is essential for your career:
1. Establishing an online presence
The simple reality is that recruiters search for you online to help make hiring decisions. In fact, a massive 92% of recruiters use social media when headhunting while 52% of them will look you up online when considering applications.
As technology advances and the world is changing quicker than ever, companies want to know that you are tech-savvy, adaptable and open to change. A sure sign of being so is a strong online presence, which you can build up through social media.
On the other hand, should you fail to have active social accounts and you are essentially invisible online, this may be enough for a recruiter to reject your application – you might come across as tech, internet and change-averse.
LinkedIn is the leading platform for networking. It allows you to connect with professionals you know but also, importantly, with people you don’t.
You can build up an impressive network over LinkedIn by joining groups; participating in and starting discussions with people in your city or around the world; writing blog posts; following companies and interacting with their updates; and by reaching out to people who could help your career move forward.
Twitter is also a great way to follow people and companies. You can expand your network and online clout through tweeting updates, commenting on your industry and interacting with other people as well as groups and companies.
3. Applying for jobs
Many companies exclusively use LinkedIn to publish job posts. They may also post links on their Twitter or Facebook feeds regarding new job posts. Social media is a deeply ingrained part of the recruiting process now. You must, as they say, be in it to win it. Failure to have an online presence means that you are locked out of accessing such opportunity.
Job hunting the traditional way takes a long time as well as being costly and requiring significant effort.
With LinkedIn for instance, you can apply for a job with literally a few clicks on your keyboard. You also put yourself in the shop window, so to speak, opening you up to head-hunting prospects.
Make sure that your social profiles are consistent with each other. Recruiters will cross-check them and any inconsistencies may work against you. On sharing, I advise you to stay within the same area of focus – develop a reputation for knowledge and experience in a niche that helps your career – and leave personal posts to Facebook. Twitter and LinkedIn are channels to develop a reputation for yourself within your chosen industry.
When fleshing out your profiles, highlight your most important achievements and focus on conveying the value that you offer to potential companies. And lastly, social media takes time and is an on-going commitment. My advice is to concentrate on maintaining profiles on two or three networks well so you don’t spread yourself too thin.
The final word
The bottom line is that social media is a powerful, largely unrivalled way to market yourself. Social networks are free, and so they are completely accessible. If you invest the time in learning how to master each network for your job hunt and on-going career progression, you will be in a much better career position. One thing to bear in mind is that social media is constantly evolving, with new networks springing up and updates to the current household names such as LinkedIn.
Keeping up to date with these changes – in recent years some have included Facebook Live and LinkedIn’s Slideshare – will ensure that you are positioned to take advantage and crucially, not to fall behind.