social media for careers

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?

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:


Legal/Professional Services


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.

Back to top ▶


How to clean up your online presence



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:

  • Who can see or search for your online profile
  • Who can see posts or updates you make
  • Who can see photos you post
  • Who can ‘tag’ you in photos or posts
  • Who can see locations you have been to

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:

  • Photos depicting sexual, drunken or illicit behaviour.
  • Information about your support of any kind of drugs.
  • Updates badmouthing current or past employers.
  • Posts revealing plans and other private information from your current or previous workplace.
  • Posts with poor spelling or grammar.
  • Posts that have content showing prejudice against different races, religions, gender, sexuality, etc.
  • Posts and profile information that makes it obvious/seem like you’ve lied about your qualifications.
  • Drunk posts (you know the kind).
  • Anything about yourself that you wouldn’t want a potential employer to know or see.

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.


Back to top ▶

Social media for job hunting and networking



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:

  • #jobalert
  • #hiring / #NowHiring
  • #JobOpening
  • #JobPosting
  • #careers
  • #employment
  • #job / #jobs
  • You can also specify the industry you’re looking in, eg. #accounting #jobs
  • Check out #recruiting and #HR to both find jobs and to see tips being swapped by recruiters and HR people – know what you’re up against!

3. Engage

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:

  • Like/favourite their posts to show them you’re interested
  • Add a comment or reply to ask more about their post, or add your own insight/opinion (keep it relevant, polite and presentable)
  • If your profile is public or you’re happy to make a public post, share their post on your own profile and make a polite, relevant, insightful comment about the post.
  • Talk directly to them – message them a question to ask for advice or industry insights. If they reply you can even start a conversation!
  • Join in with conversations they are having already – without derailing it or making it all about you.

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:

  • Get a LinkedIn profile and fill out every section.
  • Use a nice, professional photo of yourself (not a selfie) on your social media profiles.
  • Use your real name.
  • Ditch the funny email address and get an account with your name in it (eg.
  • Use summary sections (eg. The ‘About Me’ bit on Twitter) to talk about what you’re studying, where you’re studying. and maybe something you’re passionate about.
  • Share content relevant to your industry.
  • Start conversations relevant to your area of study.
  • Put questions about advice out there, and use appropriate hashtags (who knows who might pick up on it!).
  • Participate in groups and conversations from accounts about your industry.

Who knows? You could find that one of your new friends or followers just happens to be your next employer!


Back to top ▶

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.

Back to top ▶

Free Job Alerts
Receive FREE emails about employment opportunities, career advice and other cool stuff for uni students!