Is your social helping or hurting your job search? We spoke to top recruiters on how to use social media to help land your next job.
1. Discover open positions early and get the inside scoop on companies
According to Careerarc, 86% of job seekers use social media in their job search.
That’s because social media is a great way to discover open positions and build your network — and one of the best ways to get an inside look at the company’s culture and work environment.
When you’re looking into a company, make it a point to review all their available social media profiles — including their LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, X, and YouTube — to see if the company would truly be a fit for you.
For example, if you’re interested in a company that values team collaboration and social responsibility, their Instagram might reveal regular team-building retreats or their volunteer work in the community.
You can also check platforms like Glassdoor and Indeed, where current and former employees report on possible “deal breakers,” such as lower pay, poor work-life balance and a lack of workplace diversity.
Some companies even share new opportunities with their followers before posting job ads, so following them is a great way to learn about new openings as soon as they become available.
2. Remove any “red flags”
A 2023 survey by The Harris Poll found that nearly three out of four US companies review candidates’ social media, and nearly half of hiring managers say they’ve rejected applicants based on their social media.
That means you need to remove all red flag content from your profiles, either by deleting it or adjusting privacy settings.
The most common red flags that employers consider offensive or unprofessional are:
- illegal activity
- violent or aggressive behavior
- sexually explicit material
- inconsistencies with your resume
- offensive comments or public arguments on sensitive topics
As a rule of thumb, only post content you’re comfortable with everyone seeing and avoid complaining about your employer or coworkers online.
3. Optimize your LinkedIn for recruiters and employers
Remember, LinkedIn is essentially your online resume. You need to regularly update your profile to keep it relevant and attractive to recruiters — nearly all recruiters routinely use LinkedIn and almost half say it’s the primary way they find candidates.
To maximize the impact of your LinkedIn profile, follow these pro tips from Boston University:
- Use a professional and well-lit headshot
- Use an eye-catching backdrop image to express your unique professional brand
- Craft an original and creative headline
- Use the “About Me” section to tell your story and highlight the key skills that set you apart
- Just list your job title as your headline
- Leave your “About Me” section generic and boring
- Neglect to ask for recommendations from previous bosses
LinkedIn is also a great way to proactively reach out to recruiters to discuss your qualifications and get noticed for new opportunities.
4. Think beyond LinkedIn
After you’ve updated your LinkedIn, it’s time to optimize all your social media profiles.
In recruitment, evaluating a candidate’s social media is essential… For example, in marketing or creative fields, an active, professional social media presence is expected, showcasing a candidate’s expertise and creativity. This is especially true for health professionals, where an impeccable digital presence free from negative press is essential, reflecting their reliability and trustworthiness.
Based on a survey by Content Stadium, over half of recruiters and employers check candidates’ Facebook and Instagram — and YouTube, X, and TikTok are also often checked.
For example, you could create a professional Instagram account and post high-quality images of your latest project, along with captions that describe your work and relevant hashtags to increase visibility to potential employers — you can even use Instagram Stories to post “behind the scenes” content of your project!
Don’t Have a Project to Share Online?
Even if you don’t work in a “creative” field, you can still use your social media to show off your hobbies, volunteer work or personal brand.
5. Avoid deleting your profiles
If your social media feeds are problematic, clean them up by adjusting privacy settings or deleting content that you wouldn’t want employers to see.
According to Business News Daily, it’s better to clean up your social media profiles rather than taking them down.
Employers in many fields will expect to find a professional and active online presence, so taking down your profiles might hurt your chances of getting a callback.
However, talent acquisition manager Letticia Pierrez adds that “the absence of an online presence isn’t inherently negative, especially for roles not reliant on digital engagement,” such as construction and hospitality.
6. Network with employers and recruiters
Now that all your profiles look professional, it’s time to engage with potential employers and get noticed by hiring companies!
Start by connecting with leaders at companies you’re targeting, as well as recruiters, and then comment on their posts. These types of connections might seem less valuable than a “personal” meeting — but surprising research from the Harvard Business School shows that online connections can really get you noticed (and hired!).
I love it when candidates actively engage with me; it shows their interest and motivation. Also, it makes it easier for me to connect with them if they are already following me or commenting on my posts.
Just make sure your engagement is always positive and valuable, and that you don’t contact them too frequently.
“When commenting on our posts, it’s always best to be nice, kind, and respectful to others and to leave a positive impression,” adds IT recruiter Viviane Nguyen. “I’d suggest to avoid complaining or being mean to others on social media.”
7. Post high-quality content to build your professional network
When it comes to the content you post, Forbes recommends posting high-quality content that shows off your expertise. This content could include:
- recent professional achievements
- helpful professional tips
- motivational quotes
- news articles related to your industry
Always offer a brief comment on why you shared a piece of content, such as how a news article impacts your field. And when you post about your achievements, try to tie them back to industry trends or lessons learned.
It’s also crucial to maintain a consistent voice and style, and tailor your content to the platform you’re using. For example, LinkedIn favors professional insights, while X is perfect for quick, timely commentary.
You should also post daily if possible, and set aside a dedicated time for commenting and responding to followers to foster a vibrant professional network.
We’ve noticed an increased emphasis on personal branding and adaptability [in 2023]. Job seekers who strategically navigate social media, engaging thoughtfully and showcasing industry understanding stand out.
- Business News Daily, “Keep It Clean: Social Media Screenings Gain in Popularity”
- Boston University, “5 Ways to Make Your LinkedIn Profile Stand Out”
- Careerarc, “2021 Future of Recruiting Study”
- Content Stadium, “Social Recruiting: 2023 Statistics and Trends”
- Express Employment Professionals, “Social Media Integral to Recruiting as Most Businesses Use It to Source, Research and Screen Candidates”
- Forbes, “How To Use Social Media To Job Search”
- Harvard Business School, “Looking For a Job? Some LinkedIn Connections Matter More Than Others”
- Jobvite, “Jobvite Recruiter Nation Report 2023” & “Jobvite Recruiter Nation Report 2020”
- LinkedIn, “What Are The Best Practices for Creating a Professional and Engaging Social Media Profile?”
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