With the rise in numbers of social media usage worldwide, some have begun to effectively use social media as a tool in advancing their careers and businesses. The numbers speak for themselves. Recent figures estimate that there are about 332 million worldwide users on LinkedIn, 232 million active users on Twitter and a whopping 1.39 billion active monthly users on Facebook, which also happens to be the largest social network in the world. Smartphones now come with at least one app pre-installed for one of the major social networks. The devices themselves now integrate seamlessly with social networks and identity tools such as business cards and email signatures now contain some form of a link to the owner’s social media pages.
The world is now more connected than it has ever been to the point where some would consider that you simply do not exist if embarrassing teen photos of yourself from your Facebook profile cannot be found via a simple Google search. It’s pretty evident that social media is here to stay and that it will become part of our daily lives, if it hasn’t already, but is social media just a tool used to post “selfies” and opinions or is it much more?
Recruiters have now taken to the busy and bustling Internet streets in order to identify, recruit, attract and in some cases as far as selecting potential candidates using social media and social networking sites. The websites themselves provide a vast amount of information about the potential candidate by just a simple click of a button. That may sound utterly frightening and uncomfortable to some but it’s the way in which the world works today. The ease at which people can access such an abundance of information about someone could have advantages when recruiters are harvesting potential candidates thus greatly increasing the job seeker’s chances of being employed and drastically reducing screening time but there is a dark side to this. Social media has the potential to make you but also had the potential to break you. We’ve all heard stories of how some employees have lost their jobs over controversial tweets or posts. It has now become increasingly important to be conscious of what you post or say on social media.
Research indicates that approximately 94% of recruiters now use LinkedIn as a tool to vet and screen potential candidates. Some HR heads are now going as far as bypassing traditional recruitment agencies and taking it upon themselves to find suitable candidates over social media sites such as LinkedIn. More and more organisations are advertising posts on their and Twitter and Facebook pages in order to access a larger talent pool and to attract the best candidates possible.
This is where it becomes extremely important that those seeking jobs or career opportunities pay careful attention to the quality and content of their LinkedIn profiles as recruiters use the search function alongside search engines such as Google to aid in finding suitable candidates.
As a job seeker, ensure that your online profile is up to date, contains an adequate amount of information and keywords that will make your profile more searchable. Some organisation’s websites have now integrated a function that allows you to apply for a vacant post using your complete LinkedIn profile.
The 4C’s of Social Media:
One should make use of the 4 C’s of social media in order to greatly increase the effectiveness of their interactions online especially when one is marketing themselves. The 4 C’s are:
Customise – so make sure that you customise your online profile to reflect you and this is also an opportunity to show potential recruiters what makes you different. Be bold within reasonable boundaries in order to stand out from the massive crowd.
Communicate – use social networks for what they were intended for, to be more social and to communicate. Make use of the LinkedIn message function to communicate with people within your network and recruiters. Be sure to also post industry relevant information on your profile regularly in order to keep your profile as current and engaging as possible. Write a few well thought out pieces of your own if need be.
Connect – connect with relevant people within your industry as well as recruiters. This will allow you to always be in the loop when relevant posts become available or as a source of information about newly hired HR leaders in organisations that you might have a connection or close tie with.
Cultivate – make use of your network and cultivate it in order to take advantage of the opportunities that may arise from it.
The process of using social media as a tool can seem complicated at first but once mastered, it is the most effective way of advancing one’s career or business. It has even emerged as a career opportunity on its own with many organisations now employing a Social Media Marketing Manager. Remember, your social media feed can help determine whether you would fit the culture of a company.
Job seekers are encouraged to use social media as a tool but should always remember that nothing beats face-to-face interactions and that people are always watching so be vigilant about what you post online and conduct yourself online as you would offline.