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Using social media in your job search

Social media, as we all know, is the ‘next big thing.’ Until now, social networking sites may have proven useful to reconnect with old work colleagues or view the holiday snaps of various far-flung family members, but increasingly an awareness of social media during your job search is what can set you apart from the crowd.
 

The stats

 
More than half of employers use social media to screen job seekers, according to research undertaken by CareerBuilder.co.uk in January 2010. At that point, 53% of the companies surveyed said that they had already used social media to check out potential hires, with another 12% reported to be considering adopting the practice. Worryingly for job seekers, 43% of the same organisations questioned said information that they had uncovered online had caused them not to consider a candidate for a role.
 
Job advertising on social media resources is also on the rise. 92% of employers actively hiring “currently use or plan to use” social media to recruit new staff, according to the latest social recruiting survey conducted by recruitment software provider Jobvites in July 2010.
 
So it's likely that social media will influence your job search, whether you actively pursue it or not. Michael Page Ireland can suggest a few simple steps to ensure that you use the social media trends to your benefit in your quest for new employment.
 

1. Perfecting your online profile

 
The primary reasons that employers decided not to hire a candidate as a result of online research, according to the CareerBuilder.co.uk survey were:
 
  • Candidate lied about their qualifications (38%)
  • Candidate displayed poor communication skills (31%)
 
If you type your name into a search engine, it will be apparent where potential employers can locate you online. Ensure that any information available for public consumption matches what you’ve stated on your CV. Also check the spelling and grammar of any online profiles and ensure that the information is presented in a coherent and professional fashion.
 
Nine percent of hiring managers also stated that they had discounted a candidate based on provocative or inappropriate photographs or information available online. The easiest way to ensure that the first impression you make is a good one is with the use of a smart head and shoulders shot for online profiles, appropriate within a professional context.
 

2. Sell yourself

 
Employers don’t only search the internet for reasons to discount potential candidates, but also to actively seek out their strengths within a particular market.
 
So if you’ve excelled in your industry or job function, shout about it! Mention any awards and accolades in your online networking profiles. Or write a blog to showcase your thought leadership and demonstrate your passion for your industry.
 

3. Connect online

 
Creating a professional online presence leaves you prepared, but passive in your job search. As a large majority of employers and recruiters now report that social media is a key channel to market, it is crucial to be active with your new and improved online persona.
 
Investigate where the key players in your industry congregate online. LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter are all popular networking tools of choice, especially as the line between networking and purely social media is ever blurring. As recruiters often announce new vacancies using social media as a priority, connecting with us online often allows you to be one of the first in the know about a new role.