April 30 ,2015 | by Claire Payne
Social media – the ultimate job hunting tool?
We investigate the ways social media can be used to your advantage when it’s time to join the search for employment.
Over the last decade social media has risen to the highest heights. From old favourites such as Facebook and Twitter, to the newly developed Bubblews and Sharebloc, there are hundreds of social media platforms to choose from. With so many options, it’s getting difficult to decide which are worth investing time into.
As the industry expands, developers need to make every effort to ensure that their social media platform has something unique to offer. The rapid growth of online platforms has meant that new social media must now offer something extra in order to succeed.
One common theme appearing across a variety of social media platforms is employment and professional networking.
The rise of LinkedIn
It may surprise you that business-orientated platform LinkedIn was launched in 2003, making it older than both Twitter and Facebook. Despite existing for more than a decade, LinkedIn has only just risen to popularity in the past few years or so.
In its first year, LinkedIn only managed to attract one million users; by 2008 this number had increased to 22 million. Now, the networking platform boasts over 300 million profiles, with people all around the world creating personal pages which include information mirroring that found on a CV.
Paddy Moogan, co-founder of digital marketing agency Aira, has invited people for interviews as a result of them contacting him via LinkedIn. He said: “LinkedIn [is comparable to] an online CV and, for senior positions in particular, I'd want to see that a potential employee’s LinkedIn is up to date and goes into some detail on their skills and experience outside of the CV. A polished, up to date LinkedIn account can help get applicants in for an interview.”
Following in LinkedIn’s footsteps are a number of social media platforms dedicated to assisting people in their search for employment. Jobr is a prime example of new social media invented for professional purposes. Founded last year, this mobile app allows you to browse job openings with ease, connecting with employees along the way.
Social media and professional innovation
With the internet so accessible, using social media platforms to get noticed and secure job interviews could soon become the norm. Should this job-seeking method pass on, people will have to consider more innovative ways to catch an employer’s eye online.
When asked about this matter, Mr Moogan said: “It would mean that candidates need to go above and beyond to stand out - not just apply or contact someone via social. It means that their personal social accounts need to demonstrate their passion above other candidates.”
Nina Mufleh is someone who did just that. Last week, Nina - a young woman living in San Francisco - landed an interview with Airbnb, a company she’d long dreamed of working for. The social media platform she used to draw attention to herself? Twitter.
First, Nina created an eye-catching website, showcasing to Airbnb her knowledge of the travel industry and what she could bring to the company should they hire her. She then tweeted a link to the website, which caught the attention of the company’s CEO and CMO. The effort she had gone to was clear, and she was offered an interview immediately.
Monitoring your media
When seeking employment, people are constantly reminded of the importance of contacts. In many cases, the old phrase ‘it’s not what you know, it’s who you know’ rings true. With the likes of LinkedIn and Twitter, networking has been made much easier than it ever could have been twenty years ago. Social media allows you to reach out to people who are otherwise inaccessible, as proved by Nina’s story.
Phil Sheridan, Managing Director at Robert Half UK, said: “Social media helps candidates connect to people - the more people you are connected to, the larger your network is for finding others to connect to, engage with and influence.”
With your social media accounts at the fingertips of employers all around the world, it’s essential to be selective about the information that you share. Any material you publish may or may not be used to decide whether you are the best candidate for a role.
The many previous cases of people being sacked due to inappropriate behaviour on social media act as sure proof of the importance of thinking before you post.
Claire Payne is a journalism graduate and News Writer for LSBF. She writes about SMEs, education and careers, entrepreneurship, women in business, and sustainability.
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