How important is social media to job hunting? In the Graduate Outlook Survey (GOS) 2013, we interviewed graduate employers from a range of industries and found that at least a third of them use social media to check up on candidates. Here’s how you can use that to your advantage while you’re looking to get into a grad program, or any other avenue to start your career.
On this page:
- How many graduate employers use social media …and how?
- How to clean up your online presence
- Social media for job hunting
- What employers say about social media
We asked Graduate Employers for the first time in GOS 2013 if they used social media to check on candidates – 36.5% said they did. We broke down their responses by industry for you:
It’s good to keep in mind that even in sectors where employers who check social media are in the minority, your dream job could be in that group!
Of the employers who said that they looked at social media, we asked how the things they saw influenced their final recruitment decisions.* Over 50% told us that a candidate’s social media influenced them in some way:
|Used as an insight into personality/cultural fit||
|Used as an insight into networking skills||
|No influence on final decision||
*Numbers do not add up to 100% due to rounding
What to take away from this? Make sure that your social media and overall online presence is reflecting an image you’re happy for potential employers to see.
1. Search Yourself
Run your name through search engines and social media to see what comes up. Then put yourself in an employer’s shoes – does the person you see in this search seem professional, interesting and useful to them? If not – it’s time to go to work.
2. Clean out the old
Deactivate any old profiles (Myspace, anyone?) that appear in your search. Delete or update old posts on accounts you still use which feature old information. Sometimes you might find things about yourself on other websites – be sure to contact the webmaster if you need information taken down.
3. Get to know your privacy settings
Most social media platforms feature privacy tools which can range from everyone seeing everything you do, to only a select few people. Most privacy settings are found by clicking on a lock or gear icon to get into your account settings. Here are some things to look out for and think about:
Be sure to check what you have already posted and who is currently following those posts too!
It’s important to remember that anything you’ve posted on a public feed – whether it be to your friend’s account or an official account for a company – this can be seen by anyone no matter what your privacy settings are. This includes photos on your friend’s account that you have been tagged in – stay aware of what you put out online.
4. Keep your posts clean
No matter how private your profile is, try and keep in mind that it’s difficult to control anything you put online – be mindful of what you post at any time, and don’t rely on your social media platform’s privacy and security settings. Here’s the kind of things to avoid:
With an ounce of common sense and self awareness, you can still have fun on your social media while keeping it presentable enough to get that job.
1. Get following
Not only are many of the employers you’d like to work for on social media, a lot of them even have profiles specifically for careers in their company. Search the name of the company along with ‘Careers’ and see if anything pops up. Even if nothing does, you can follow their main profiles and keep an eye out for any posts about job openings.
There’s plenty of places on social media that will post career opportunities from all sorts of employers too! These are great value as they will often post plenty of career advice as well… For instance, our Facebook and Twitter accounts!
2. Use #hashtags
Now that Facebook has introduced hashtags, you can use both it and Twitter to search for a wide variety of job hashtags. On Twitter, you can refine your search by ensuring that after you have searched a Hashtag you click ‘Near You’ – as long as you aren’t using a VPN, you will only see posts in your area.
Here are some common hashtag searches to look at:
If you’re comfortable enough with your social media profile, get out there and approach employers. Their social media profiles are online because they are trying to engage with people like you, so go ahead!
If you’re using LinkedIn, you can also use your connections to reach out to people – use this with caution, as not everyone likes to be contacted out of the blue. Remember to be polite and ask to start a conversation, don’t just go straight to asking for work. LinkedIn even lists some great examples of people who’ve used it for networking!
Some things you can do to engage with employers online:
4. Get out there
It’s one thing to be cautious online, but you could be missing out on some great opportunities if you’re invisible. If you’d like to keep your personal social media profile private, why not think about setting up a second, professional profile?
Here are some tips on building a professional presence online:
Who knows? You could find that one of your new friends or followers just happens to be your next employer!
What employers say about social media
Find out more about how employers look at candidates on social media (and a bunch of other stuff they look for in candidates) on our page about What Employers Want.
The 2014 Graduate Outlook Survey will also reveal even more about how employers use social media to recruit graduates, and what exactly they look for in their candidates on social media – we’ll be updating this page when they’re out! Don’t miss the news and subscribe to our mailing list, or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.