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Social Media Takes on Larger Role in Job Hunting

November 14, 2014 | Career Blog

Social Media Job Hunting

If you thought social media was just for sharing food photos, selfies and funny cat videos, think again. It turns out social media is playing an increasingly large role in job hunting.

Global HR solutions company Adecco recently published #SocialRecruiting, a global study looking at the role of social media in job hunting and recruiting. The survey polled job candidates and recruiters from 24 countries. The results showed that in 2013, more than half of all recruitment activity involved the Internet – with a large focus on social media. And it’s expected that percentage will rise to 61% this year.

In addition, seven out of 10 recruiters said they use social media for human resource activities while five out of 10 job seekers said they use social media to search for job opportunities.

In the United States, specifically, LinkedIn was most used for job searching, followed by Facebook and Twitter.  Men and women as well as all ages of candidates are adding social media tools to their job hunt arsenal. Education level was one distinguishing factor; those with a higher education levels are more likely to use social media for job searches. 

If this many people are using social media to search for jobs, that means potential employers are looking at social media for job prospects as well as checking out candidates. Think of it as a digital background check. Is your online presence professional and polished? Or is it something straight out of a frat house photo album?

Some things to consider:

  • What we share online lives on forever. Even items you think you’ve deleted have a way of hanging around on the Internet. Think before you post. This doesn’t mean you can’t post fun photos or showcase your personality – just use good judgment. A good rule of thumb is to think about whether you’d want your grandma seeing your post, tweet or Instagram selfie. If Grandma would disapprove, a potential employer probably would too.
  • Is your LinkedIn profile complete? You should have a thorough LinkedIn profile complete with professional business photo and past employment as well as recommendations from colleagues and clients. If you’re just starting your career and don’t have as much to post, that’s OK. Make sure you include everything you can and ask college professors or the boss you had for a summer internship to write a recommendation touting your skills.
  • Set up a Google alert for your name. This way you can monitor your online presence and see if anyone is posting about you.

If used wisely, social media can be a powerful asset in looking for a new job. But just as reputable companies conduct background checks on potential employees, know they will most likely be checking out your online life as well. And you want to make sure that crazy Saturday night from two years ago doesn’t come back to haunt you.