The Importance of Social Media for Job Seekers
Competition for jobs is fierce. That much is in no doubt. It’s hardly surprising when we consider that, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the unemployment rate in the U.S. currently stands at 7.9% with more than 12 million unemployed persons looking for work.
Naturally job seekers are looking at ways they can tweak their job hunting approach as a means of differentiating themselves from competing applicants. The importance of social media in this capacity cannot be underestimated. Social Recruiting 2012, a survey carried out by recruitment firm Jobvite, indicates that a little over 90% of employers currently use or have firm plans to adopt social platforms as an avenue for recruitment. Almost three quarter of employers have already done so.
These statistics have already inspired 88% of job seekers to set up at least one social media profile, whereas one in six credit their current role as being a direct result of social networking activity. Taking these figures into account, it makes sense for job seekers to consider social networking platforms as a viable avenue in their wider job seeking strategy. The key thing, of course, is to approach it in the right way in order to offer the most positive and consistent image possible.
Most job seekers using social platforms will be fully signed up to the fact that drunken pictures are not likely to win over any potential employers, but it goes further than that. Although around 50% of recruiters would view alcohol consumption negatively (particularly in excess), even higher numbers would take a dim view on content of a sexual nature, illegal drug taking, and, believe it or not, poor spelling and grammar. It might be time to spell check those tweets. On the flip side, those job seekers that are looking to stand out from other candidates will see great importance in the fact that almost 80% of recruiters would respond favorably to evidence of volunteering and membership of appropriate professional bodies.
The job seeker must also give due attention to the platforms on which they host their profiles. LinkedIn is the obvious one, with almost 90% of companies that have made social hires doing so via this platform. That’s not to say that Facebook and Twitter should be ignored. Although fewer companies have hired through these platforms (26% on Facebook and 15% on Twitter), there is a strong likelihood that recruiters consult all profiles, before making the final hire via LinkedIn. In any case, having more than one profile offers the job seeker a chance to provide a well rounded image and furnishes them with more chance of being noticed.
Of course, it might not be the case that the job seeker is “noticed” as such. Being proactive is most definitely the name of the game here. Thanks to these social platforms, the chance exists for job seekers to connect directly with the companies that interest them and that is an opportunity that should never be ignored.
Linda Forshaw is a Business Information Systems graduate from Lancaster University in the UK. A contributor to Degree Jungle.com, a resource for aspiring college students, she is also a full time writer and blogger specializing in education, social media, and entrepreneurship. Contact her on Twitter @seelindaplay