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.