Monday, October 6, 2014

This One's for You

Jobseekers, you are participating in social media marketing whether you like it or not. Your personal brand is likely getting pieced together right now by a recruiter combing through your social accounts and profiles. You, much like a brand, should be targeting your online efforts to achieve a desired outcome a.k.a. a full-time offer from your dream job.

Quite a few similarities exist between the consumer looking for information about a brand/product before purchase and a recruiter performing a background check on a candidate before offering an interview. Both the consumer and the recruiter will start with social media and their social networks. They'll also place a premium on friends' recommendations, so know that word-of-mouth counts. Like a brand, you should cater content to your intended audience, make logical and meaningful connections, and occasionally and gracefully toot your own horn.

According to CareerBuilder's most recent survey, 45% of recruiters use social media to research a candidate, and 11% plan to use social media as a background check tool in the future.

If you find yourself eager to land your dream job in a few short months, or at least break into the industry, here are some general guidelines about social media upkeep to help you with the process. (Keep in mind these will vary from industry to industry.)


Stay active. At least maintaining an online presence shows that you know how to use the platform, and it allows you to regularly monitor yourself. It also shows a bit of initiative if you go a step further to follow the leaders and people you admire in the industry. I retweet and favorite content from MSLGroup pretty regularly, and after a year of a consistent show of interest and active engagement I earned a follow from Pascal Beucler, the SVP and Chief Strategy Officer. A small, but mighty personal accomplishment.

Share. Blog posts, retweets, photos, check-ins... The content you share is a window into your likes, hobbies and aspirations. It humanizes your digital presence and helps create a more complete picture of who you are. Now a recruiter (or anyone, really) can connect with you on the basis of shared interests or qualities of an ideal candidate.

Use consistency of message. Make sure you are the same person across platforms. Your LinkedIn and Twitter accounts should have a little bit of overlap, in which a recruiter can verify the accounts belong to the same person. It's ok to let a little professionalism seep into your social accounts, and vice versa. All your social profiles should be facets of you and your "in-public" personality.

Think twice about posting content that includes...

Risky behavior. Yes, you may be applying to a company that boasts happy hours and booze carts, but err on the side of caution, you jobseeker you. Funny and harmless photos could be the deciding factor between you and an equally qualified candidate. That photo of you from last year on the beach at Georgia-Florida will be held against you.

Anything politically charged. Political statements tend to polarize people and usually lead to argument. You may alienate the recruiter or someone with which you could potentially work. It's a judgment call depending on your desired line of work.

Health issues. Many people turn to social media to seek solace or support in the midst of health problems. If you choose to post your health issues online, you will have a hard time proving health-related discrimination occurred should you be refused the job, since you made the comments public. The law gets a bit tied up on this particular point, so again it may be best to be cautious and aware.

Good Luck!

Personal Branding article here.

Build Your Brand article here.

Follow me on Twitter here.

Comments open to all.

1 comment:

  1. I think this very useful information that everyone needs to know. Some people don't realize that inappropriate pictures and comments made on social media can have a huge impact on finding the perfect full time job. I never thought about the health issues part but that definitely makes sense!