Social Media – a job seekers blessing or a curse?

When submitting a CV, chances are you’re going to get stalked online

We’ve all done it, haven’t we?

Whether it be meeting a blind date, sussing out a restaurant you’re booked into, or researching which service provider to go with, consumers and serial daters are going straight to their social media channels in the hope that they’ll find something that will make or break their decision.

It’s no different in the hiring process.

In fact, 92% of companies use social media as a hiring tool (Forbes) and jobseekers need to be very aware of this. It is all well and good ringing up the HR manager, politely asking for details on a current vacancy and then submitting a perfectly worded CV you’ve spent days slaving over, if you’re social media channels perfectly display you as anything but the consummate professional.

Similarly, it is now up to recruitment consultants to screen social media channels on behalf of the client. If a recruiter has a number of jobs to work during a five, six or seven day week and only has time to properly work and represent five or six applicants during that period of time, chances are the whittling down process is going to be determined by an applicants social media presence. The difference between you getting the full attention of your recruitment consultant and half their attention will probably come down to what your latest Tweet or update on Facebook looked like. Consultants can find out what you had for breakfast, what your favourite colour is and what you really think of your current boss and company you represent. However relaxed social media can feel, your thoughts and words are logged and stored in the depths of Google search for years to come and could come back to sting you when you least expect it.

We do like to stay positive here at Surge Recruitment House HQ, so on the flipside, social media can equally give you the edge over other prospective job applicants. Here’s how:

  1. Be professional but also be human: Whilst you need to maintain that you are a professional and successful individual who would be a pleasure to hire, equally the vast majority of companies (particularly in the property world where so much relies on networking and the ability to build and nurture relationships), want to see that you are actually a real human being. Don’t be afraid to post photos of you with a few beers in hand at your best mates birthday party, just maybe leave out the drunken garbled Tweets about how much you hate your current boss.
  2. Build your personal brand: Companies and organisations of all shapes and sizes are constantly trying to build their brand into their social media channels, whilst also getting across that they are human, have personality, and are not afraid of interacting and starting conversations. Follow industry professionals on LinkedIn and Twitter, and don’t be afraid to discuss the latest market conditions or interact with thought leaders in your chosen profession. This is going to illustrate to potential employers that you are genuinely interested and passionate about the line of work you operate within.
  3. ‘Look at me, look at me!’ :It’s a fine line between being self-assured and confident in your abilities, and boasting and basking in your own glory. Do mention work highlights and any outstanding achievements, but your timeline or homepage shouldn’t solely pay homage to yourself. Be personable, and shout about recent successes, but it’s best done in a quietly confident and low-key manner. Reading about another persons day to day achievements over and over again is not only boring, but it doesn’t endear you to your online audience.
  4. Silence is sometimes golden: Whilst it can be impressive to note down recent accolades, silence can often be just as powerful. Security and privacy settings across most social platforms allow all timelines, news feeds, and searches to be private and secure. The beauty of this of course is that nothing potentially incriminating can be displayed in online searches, and equally a profile that is private can lead to intrigue from prospective interviewers. If in doubt, lock out anyone who is not a direct connection, friend or follower.

 So there you have it job seekers, it’s time to take note and clean up your social media channels if you are serious about securing a new position. Whilst there are dangers to be wary of, if used correctly, your online presence can be more powerful than a CV and give you an edge in the selection process.

For more advice on how to tidy up your CV, how to develop your own online brand, and get yourself to the front of the interview queue, get in touch with Surge Recruitment House today on +44 (0) 121 647 3730 or contact us here.

You can also follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook and follow our company page on Linkedin.