3 Ways to be a Stellar Candidate On Social Media

Chances are, you’ve at least had one job search in the past few years. In our growing world of social media, being a applicant is much more than creating an impressive paper resume. In the 2014 Jobvite Social Recruiting Survey, Jobvite found that 69% of recruiters “expect competition to increase in 2015”. This means that companies need to figure out how to continue attracting and finding the best talent. To do so, 93% of recruiters are already using or planning to use social media in their hiring. If competition is increasing for jobs, how do you compare to the best of the best?

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Moreover, if almost all of recruiters are using social media in their efforts, what can candidates do to make sure they present themselves in the best way possible on social media?

1. Maintain a professional social media image.

If you are a fellow classmate of mine in #IS6621, you’ve already created a professional Twitter and WordPress account. Don’t stop there. A few companies are even using Pinterest as a way to recruit. LinkedIn is also a wonderful way to place yourself into a talent pool filled with recruiters who are searching for candidates.

On LinkedIn, make sure to spice up your profile by using a professional headshot (BC Career Fairs usually have a free LinkedIn picture booth), providing details in the volunteer section and filling up the skills & endorsements area. To take it a step further, consider going to your connections and endorsing them. If you’re lucky, they will see your support and endorse you back. You should not have to worry about what exactly they endorse you in since all your skills should align with your professional goals. Another opportunity to give some personality to your online resume is with your summary. Talk about your background, passions, and if you are an active candidate, make sure to include what you are looking for in your next position. Candidates can fill out the summary in the first person or the third person, depending on what you prefer.

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Not the best picture choice…

Far more professional!

Far more professional!

2. While ‘building’ your online self, consider what you shouldn’t have.

Although companies are not always checking your social media to find unattractive qualities, you want to make sure that your brand is consistent and positive. For instance, if you have a professional Twitter, you should also scan your Facebook profile to see if it works well with your brand. The second part of this is to Google yourself to see what comes up. Remember that social media is forever online; so don’t be surprised if something from 2002 appears. If you find anything that may not make you be the best candidate possible, consider requesting its removal on Google. Looking at all of your social media accounts with a professional lens is necessary to ensure that you are presenting yourself in the best way possible. Even if your account is intended for personal use, a potential employer can still view it.

3. Social media provides you with social networks- use them.

Every social media account you have is another opportunity to connect with a recruiter or to continue working your brand. The best way to use these networks is to make sure you are constantly making connections. On Twitter, spend a few minutes looking for professionals with your ideal career path or companies you are attracted to. Following brand professionals and other business accounts tailored to your interests will give you thought-provoking content in addition to giving you more potential connections. If an industry professional tweets something that you can intelligently respond to, engage in that conversation. You never know when someone will take notice of you. This also applies to LinkedIn. While it may not be recommended to connect with someone you do not know, you can always reach out to alumni or recruiters if you have a business reason. To make this a bit less creepy, you can customize your LinkedIn Invite. Talk about why you want to connect with them. If they accept, you can then send them a private message to expand further and ask for a meeting or phone call. Another option is to browse for groups that relate to your professional path.

If recruiters are using social media to find candidates, you should be following these guidelines to give yourself the best chance at landing that dream job.

Good luck!

References:

http://www.careersingovernment.com/tools/gov-talk/career-advice/3-social-media-dos-candidates/

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2015/01/3-biggest-mistakes-people-make-twitter-linkedin-fix/

http://www.jobvite.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Jobvite_SocialRecruiting_Survey2014.pdf

http://www.forbes.com/sites/learnvest/2013/03/04/8-mistakes-you-should-never-make-on-linkedin/

12 comments

  1. Something I have learnt in my own internship search process (Still not successful) is that I didn’t realize how important it is to network. Often, I have no idea how to start. Thanks to your post, I have realize that I can use social media in a way that I can reach out to alums and recruiters and show them a brand that I can’t show them in that very few seconds with them at networking events such as an information system. Praying that I will find something I’d like to do in the summer! Thanks for posting!

  2. George, thanks for reading! I’m glad I could help shed some light on the importance of networking. BC has an amazing alumni base who are always willing to help! Good luck with your summer search :)

  3. These are really great tips! I’m a bit ashamed to admit it but I was a very late adopter of LinkedIn and did not realize its full potential in the job search until this year. Going through the internship process last year as a junior, I did not have a LinkedIn profile and I did not see its real use as I assumed recruiters would only care about face-to-face interactions in an interview. However, during my internship this summer I realized that I was the only one in my workplace that did not have one. Even if I was hesitant to create a profile, the fact that so many others were on the site may have hurt my chances at landing my dream job.
    After creating my profile to begin the recruiting process for full-time positions, I was kicking myself for holding out on LinkedIn for so long. I saw exactly what you mentioned with the power of having a professional network. I would get messages from recruiters about open positions and was able to connect to people who have similar jobs to the one I wanted. It was a lot easier to network with an online presence. Additionally, I noticed that interviewers would look at my profile the night before or after my interview. Since LinkedIn contains more information than a resume as you mentioned like skills and interests, I felt like the interviewers could get a more complete view of myself using LinkedIn. In the end, I’m glad I came around to LinkedIn. It is definitely a useful tool, as well as the other social media sites you mention.

  4. This is a really great and relevant post. I think that sometimes we overlook the endless professional possibilities that social media presents us with–it is not just a fun way to communicate or share things with our friends or family, but a tool we can use to our advantage as we all start looking for jobs. I work in the Career Center, and we always talk about the importance of LinkedIn in the job search. I got one of my summer internships purely through networking on LinkedIn, so I can speak firsthand about the power of LinkedIn. It’s also a great way to search for BC alumni. People talk all the time about the great alumni network that Boston College has, and LinkedIn is a great way to connect with them. Oftentimes, I search for BC alums at a certain company, or in a certain position, or in a city/region that I’m interested in. Once you find them, it’s really easy to reach out to these people, and I’ve found that the statement that BC alum love helping other BC people is definitely true. I think our generation will really benefit from using LinkedIn throughout our careers.

  5. Great tips Hanna! I had an internship over the summer and nearly every employee I got lunch with or spent a few minutes talking to told me the best thing you can do during your job search is to network. Specifically, one employee told me to just check in every few months. He said, “It’s not my job to stay in touch with you, but it is yours to stay in touch with me.” This comment really resonated with me. He said that people in the work place are busy and many not respond, but that doesn’t mean to stop trying to connect with them. Additionally, I recently went to the Career Center’s “Jumpstart Your Job Search” session where people gave great advice on LinkedIn. You can easily use it to connect and message those you don’t know and ask to get coffee to talk with them about their career path. BC has groups where you can connect with alum. It truly is a great networking tool. Your last comment was right too, BC alum are always willing to help out BC students!

  6. In my own internship search I have learned the power of networking in person, but I am just now learning the power of leveraging social media as a networking tool as well. Before talking with a recruiter I can have looked up their LinkedIn profile and learned a few things about themselves to help the conversation flow a bit easier. Same goes for following companies on Twitter. Before going into an interview I have found it useful to have a few things in the back of my mind from the companies Twitter feed. Again this helps the conversation run smoothly and allows the interviewer an insight into your preparedness. One thing that I never considered, was aligning my professional accounts with my private accounts at least from a “public” perspective. Although I have a Facebook for personal use, I now know to keep the profile picture and everything that can be seen publicly (not friends) in line with a business Twitter account for example. Again great blog post. This was very useful for me as I am in the thick of the internship process. Who knew that leveraging social media would be the thing that sets you apart from the competition?… How millennial!

  7. I definitely loved this topic. The main reason is that it make much sense to me. Before moving to Boston, when I started the MBA in September 2013, I was a fairly frequent user on Facebook, but although I have my profile both on Twitter and LinkedIn, I was not making good use of them.

    LinkedIn is making a strong work to strengthen their brand image in Brazil. When I got here, I realized the importance of having a good LinkedIn profile and to network through it. This is essential to create linkages with influential people in your areas of interest.

    As for Twitter, it was a little harder to see, but thanks to Social Media for Managers course, I’m having the opportunity to change my view.
    Just a small comparison. My personal account was created in July 2009. Since then, I tweeted 207 times. Most of them were to complain about a product or service, hoping to get a response from the company. In addition, I have 46 followers, which are basically personal friends, and 6 likes. In the account I created for BC, where I post most relevant contents in less than a month I already have 21 tweets and 35 followers, including influential people in the market, and 3 likes.

    That way, I could clearly see the importance mentioned in this post to create engagement via twitter and I know I still have much to learn during the semester if the snow contribute.

  8. Great post Hanna, I think one of the very biggest advantages of having well established professional social media platforms is reach. I have been able to connect with recruiters and other individuals at a great deal of companies that have little or no presence at BC for instance. Taking the initiative to reach out to individuals at these firms has been extremely beneficial to me, as it allows them to put a face to the name of a resume in a pile of thousands (even if it is a digital face!). As Erin highlighted, this has been particularly true when it comes to reaching out to BC alumni at firms across the country, and even abroad. Having been abroad last semester, it was great to have the ability to search on LinkedIn for BC alumni in places throughout Europe that I would be visiting.

    I have loved LinkedIn since I got it freshman year, and it is obvious the professional benefits one can reap from it – but I have only in this past year realized how awesome Twitter can be in this sense as well. Many recruiters are very technologically/social media savvy, and having the ability to follow them, tweet at them, tweet about company news, and maybe even direct message them serves as yet another differentiator amongst endless resumes and qualified candidates.

    Also, I totally agree with your point about the benefits of maintaining a professional social media image overall. In addition, I think social media provides a unique opportunity to show certain companies/professionals what one is capable of creating. For instance, I wrote a blog while abroad and initially had the intention of mainly showing my family the link. However, certain professionals also found it very interesting and have given me very positive feedback on how much they enjoyed learning a bit more about me outside of the professional realm. After all, as interviewers say time and time again, they would rather hire someone they could genuinely see themselves being around, in both a professional and personal sense, over someone with a stellar LinkedIn and great grades but robotic personality. I have come to learn that something like a blog or website (still kept professional to an extent of course) can really serve to show one is well-rounded and personable without ever having to meet a recruiter face to face.

  9. One additional benefit to SM for job search, it helps you look for a job without actually looking for a job. By keeping an active social media profile, companies can find people with certain qualifications, even if you are completely happy where you are.

  10. Interesting and timely posts, especially for seniors! Social media can definitely both help and hurt your job search, as you point out. Linkedin has proved incredibly helpful for reaching out to alums and people you’ve met through internships. But, as you point out, it’s necessary to maintain a professional overall social media image. Overall, I do think that social media has proved and will continue to prove helpful for job searches. Thanks for sharing!

  11. Thank you to everyone for reading my post! A few responses…

    @michellekeilich I am so glad you gave in to LinkedIn! I think nowadays it’s likely that employers will look you up if you apply to something, and not having the online presence may hurt your chances. However, now that you have one and some more tips, you can use LinkedIn and other social media sites to help you land your post-grad dream job!

    @ehughes19 I’m glad to hear that you’ve used LinkedIn to secure yourself a job! A lot of people do not even know that it’s possible. I do the same thing with regard to the BC alumni network- and its so fast! Sending a message to an alumni you want to speak with can happen in only a minute or so.

    @epehota Thank you for reminding me about checking in with networking contacts! I should do that more often. In addition, I feel very blessed to attend a school where the alumni network is so caring about each other.

    @ryanbarney1 Millennials we are! I definitely agree about checking LinkedIn profiles and Twitter feeds to learn about a company’s public brand, mission, and business goals. Finding someone who may interview you is also wonderful…even if you don’t find any new information, I still feel better after doing some more digging. I’m happy to hear you enjoyed the post and are considering checking your personal accounts. You never know who will see what and it makes a stronger statement when your brand is consistent.

    @douekbc Thank you for sharing your statistics with me! I may go look up my own now :) I love hearing about how your accounts are helping you. I wonder if LinkedIn is making progress in Brazil- will you keep the class updated with this?

    @jreed0614 Did you use any of the BC alumni while you were abroad? That’s a great idea. I went to London last spring and loved the experience! I also wrote a blog, and have loved getting feedback on my own adventures. Plus, it stays online forever, so I can always look back if I feel myself forgetting something!

    @sanmartg Thanks for reading! I hope that with this post people can tell their friends about the power of social media for networking.

  12. @hannagreenstein In fact LinkedIn has many users in Brazil. But I believe the work being done is not only to increase the number of users, but also to make companies and candidates use the website more productively.

    In 2010 a version in Portuguese was developed. In 2012, about a year before I moved to Boston, they had about 10 million registered users in Brazil. In a year, that is, in August 2013, that number rose to 13 million users.

    With these number Brazil was the third country with the largest number of users just behind the United States and India.

    According to an article published in late 2013, it was expected that 13 million base would double in a period of two years. Just yesterday, I read another article that said that the number of Brazilians have reached the 20 million mark. So they will probably surpass the mark reserved for the end of 2015.

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