Gone are the days when social media’s sole purpose was to develop and maintain personal connections. In fact, recent research from Career Builder proves that 70 percent of employers use social media to screen candidates during the hiring process.
As social media platforms improve their accessibility, job seekers with disabilities have greater access to employment opportunities through these networks. While LinkedIn remains the primary social media platform for job seekers to look for jobs, each social network can help make you a desirable candidate for a recruiter or hiring manager. Actively developing your social media presence and showcasing your experience is a great way to build name recognition and compensate for employment gaps or lack of employment experience.
As you set goals and map out your plans for this new year, consider implementing the following practices to maximize your social media presence for a successful job search in 2019:
- Complete/update your profiles – Quite often recruiters use social media platforms to find applicants before a job has been posted. If your profile is incomplete or doesn’t match up to what they see in a resume, they may quickly move on. Completing and updating each section of your profile – including employment history, education, and skills – demonstrates that you’re serious about your job search.
- Join relevant conversations/groups – Across social media platforms, conversations are happening that connect to your career interest area(s). Joining and participating in relevant groups on LinkedIn and Facebook or participating in industry-specific Twitter chats will allow you to expand your networks and follow interesting discussions. This demonstrates your passion and dedication to a specific profession or field of study. There are also numerous disability-specific groups across social media platforms that often post job opportunities (i.e. Living with M.D. and the Blind and Visually Impaired Support Group).
- Refine your privacy settings – Many people dedicate time at the start of the year to “de-clutter” their social media, including pairing down their connections and getting rid of questionable content. It’s also a great time to make sure that your personal social network pages are set to “private.” Keep in mind that this doesn’t mean your posts can never be seen by potential employers, especially when you share mutual connections.Certain aspects of your profile may still be viewable, such as contact and basic info, work experience, and education.Use caution when posting content by asking yourself, “Would there be concern if my employer saw this?”
- Inform connections of your search – In addition to participating in groups and industry conversations on social media, directly informing your connections that you’re searching for a job is a great way to learn about opportunities. Ensure that your resume is uploaded online so you can share it. Platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook will allow you to house your resume within your profile. Otherwise, you may choose to send a link to your personal website where you should have a digital copy.
- Stay current – Staying up-to-date on current events that support diversity and disability inclusion, including relevant awareness campaigns and commemorative months/days, can lead you to the right employer. This comprehensive list is a great place to start. Also, consider following relevant hashtags on Twitter and Facebook, as these will often lead to potential connections that you can reach out to.
- Follow and engage with relevant employers – Use your social media presence to engage with potential employers, including commenting and sharing their blog posts and other activities. Additionally, lookout for media messaging that focuses on inclusive employer initiatives. By following these employer profiles, you have background and context for industry-wide priorities and can share insights and perspectives on your platforms.
- Maintain consistency – When it comes to the job search, be sure not to neglect or overlook one social media platform over another. Use consistent information across your social media profiles and on your resume. This includes your employment history, skills, education, and contact information. This eliminates confusion for potential employers.
- Add your profiles to your resume/website – An employer should be able to access your online profiles easily. Just as it is important to include email addresses on your job search materials (resume, website, etc.), it is equally as important to list your professional social media handles. Once again, this demonstrates your active engagement in your industry of interest and proves you have nothing to hide.
- Perfect your profile photo – Pictures continue to speak volumes, and an appropriate headshot can go a long way in demonstrating your professionalism and seriousness about your job search. While it isn’t always necessary for your profile photo to be business formal, it is important to ensure that it is high-quality (not grainy) and we recommend at least business casual.
- Don’t erase your profiles – Sometimes fears of a potential employer finding something negative or embarrassing can cause job seekers to completely erase their social media profiles. Research demonstrates that having a lack of social media presence often serves as a red flag for employers. In fact, a 2018 CareerBuilder survey shared that 47 percent of employers wouldn’t call a person for an interview if they couldn’t find them online. To many, it lacks professionalism and insinuates that there’s something to hide.
For more information about social media tips in finding a job in 2019, feel free to contact the Getting Hired team for more information.
Contributions to this blog were made by Andraéa LaVant of Solutions Marketing Group.