10 Ways Social Media Can Help You Land a Job

Improve your chances of being the selected job candidate by using social media.

Companies are checking you out online, so why not use social media to enhance your qualifications? A 2015 CareerBuilder survey of more than 2,000 hiring managers and human resource professionals revealed that 52 percent of employers use social networking sites to research job candidates. In fact, about one-third of those employers have found content that made them more likely to hire a candidate. Here’s how to build a positive, professional online presence to help you stand out.

Show your personality.

Almost 40 percent of those surveyed said that a candidate’s personality on social media seemed like a good fit with company culture. How often have you thought: “If only I could get in front of someone and prove I am a good fit?” With social media, you can inject your style in status updates and even your LinkedIn summary. Sure, your skills and experience qualify you for jobs, but your personality is one more way to seal the deal.

Be who you say you are.​

When employers see how your background information supports your qualifications for the job, you look like the real deal. Forty-two percent of employers liked the idea of being able to validate a candidate’s experience by checking him or her out on social media. Make sure your LinkedIn and other social network profiles are consistent and match your résumé.

Project a professional image.​

What you say in your bio and on social profiles provides hiring managers with a glimpse of your professionalism. Thirty-eight percent of employers were impressed with the professional image presented by a candidate’s site. Use a high-quality photo (preferably a headshot) with a neutral background that’s free of distractions, such as pets or people. Wear work-appropriate clothes – no prom pictures or beach shots. And pay attention to small details, such as grammar, punctuation, capitalization and spacing.

Demonstrate great communication skills.

You say you have excellent communication skills, but how can you further provide proof? Thirty-seven percent of employers said social network profiles and status updates offered evidence of great communication skills. As with your profile, punctuation, spelling and grammar are important in tweets, too. And remember to behave appropriately online. Avoid arguments, profanity and negative rants.

Present a wide range of interests.​

In a similar CareerBuilder survey of more than 2,000 hiring and HR managers last year, 40 percent of employers selected candidates who seemed well-rounded on their profiles and social media updates. Share your volunteer involvement and other activities that show how you enjoy spending your free time. However, avoid mentioning controversial or extreme interests.

Show your creativity.​

Employers often seek candidates who can think outside the box. Thirty-six percent of the employers in last year’s survey said a candidate’s creativity on social media made a difference in the hiring decision. Show off your creative abilities online by displaying an infographic résumé, using new technology or posting clever status updates.

Post great references.​

Thirty percent of companies liked seeing references posted about a candidate, according to the 2014 survey. Unsolicited or nonreciprocal recommendations are powerful. LinkedIn allows you to display recommendations within your profile, so be sure to ask a boss or happy customer to write one for you. You can make it even easier for them when you provide suggestions or key points you believe are worth mentioning.

Display awards and accolades.​

In your cover letter or résumé, you may have said you were a top performer or gained recognition for your stellar accomplishments. In the 2014 survey, 31 percent of employers found proof of such recognition online and said it worked in the candidates’ favor. Snap a photo or grab a screenshot to capture your success. Then share it for all to see, and embed it in your LinkedIn profile.

Interact with the potential employer.​

Companies with social media accounts want to engage in conversation. Twenty-four percent of the employers in last year’s survey said they liked it when a candidate interacted with one of their social media accounts. Check the company’s website to see which social networks are listed, especially the accounts related to careers. Always be positive and complimentary, and ask questions beyond: “Did you get my application?”

Build a large following.

Fourteen percent of employers see a large following or subscriber base as a positive, according to the 2014 survey. If people are following you, then you might just have something interesting or valuable to say. Thought leadership and community engagement can benefit the company. Build your following organically by providing information that is valuable to your target audience. Interact with like-minded professionals online. Gaining a following isn’t easy. But, if you are a good social community citizen, it could be an asset to your future employer.

How to Deal With a Co-Worker Who Won’t Stop Talking

Here’s one of the questions I hear over and over from people: “How can I get my long-winded co-worker to stop talking to me?” Our workplaces are apparently rife with co-workers who prattle on about their relationship troubles, diet challenges, wedding plans, the movie they saw last weekend, work complaints – anything and everything – without realizing that other people are trying to work.

Co-workers who won’t stop talking aren’t just annoying; they can also impact your productivity when you can’t get them to leave you in peace. And they can strain relationships by making you feel like there’s no way to tell them you need them to be quiet without you being the one who comes across as rude.

The good news is that you can politely assert boundaries with chatty co-workers, as long as you’re willing to be reasonably direct. Here’s how:

1. Explain you’re busy. If it sounds obvious, that’s because it is – but surprisingly few people try just speaking up and letting a talkative co-worker know that now is a bad time. If you haven’t done this already, it’s the first thing to try. Say: “I’m on deadline, so I can’t talk now,” or “I’m right in the middle of finishing something. Sorry I can’t chat!” or “I need to get back to this report.” It’s also perfectly fine to use a white lie, like: “I’m about to get a call that I need to prepare for.”

2. Be straightforward about the problem. If your co-worker doesn’t start to get the hint after you’ve tried to address it in the moment a few times, move on to addressing the bigger-picture pattern. That means explaining to your co-worker that this is happening regularly and making it tough for you to focus on your work. For example, you might say: “I’ve noticed you like to chat during the workday, but it’s really hard for me to do that. I’m often on deadline, and it’s hard for me to take a break to talk.” Or you could say: “I’m finding that I’m having trouble focusing on my work because of how often we’re talking during the day, so I’m going to try to be better about resisting socializing when you come by. I hope you understand!”

If your co-worker rambles more about work topics than social ones, you could instead say: “I’m finding that it’s tough for me to focus when I have too many unscheduled interruptions. Could we schedule a time to meet each week and save up the items we need to discuss for then?”

3. If you’re willing to, offer to connect with your co-worker on your own terms. If you do enjoy talking with your co-worker (perhaps in more limited doses), suggest an alternative, such as occasionally grabbing coffee or getting lunch together. You don’t need to do this if you don’t want to, but if you like your co-worker and just want to funnel the interactions into a different form, this can be a good way to do that.

4. Keep reinforcing the message. If the problem continues after you’ve had that big-picture conversation, realize that it may take some time to “retrain” your co-worker, but it can be done. If she drops by to chat, say: “Sorry, I’m on deadline” or “Remember how I’m trying to be better about not chit-chatting during the day? I’ve got to shoo you out and return to this report.”

5. If all else fails, consider talking to your co-worker’s manager. If none of the above works, and your co-worker is significantly impacting your productivity, it’s time to consider giving your colleague’s manager a heads up about what’s going on. Depending on the manager and the dynamics in your office, that may or may not make sense, but know that it’s an option and that a lot of managers would want to know that an employee was spending so much time distracting others. And if you do decide to say something, be sure to mention that you’ve tried to address it directly with the co-worker yourself, which will likely be the manager’s first question to you otherwise.

Alison Green writes the popular Ask a Manager blog, where she dispenses advice on career, job search and management issues. She’s the author of “How to Get a Job: Secrets of a Hiring Manager,” co-author of “Managing to Change the World: The Nonprofit Manager’s Guide to Getting Results” and the former chief of staff of a successful nonprofit organization, where she oversaw day-to-day staff management.