How is your job hunting on social media?
Almost everyone is involved with some form of social media. You might be snapchatting, while your gran is using Facebook and your dad is using a fan forum to talk about his favourite football team.
Everything is social these days. And most importantly, people are being ‘social’, without realising it. That’s crucial to remember when you're looking for a job.
How private are you?
Social media has been around for a long time now and more and more people are savvy to the privacy settings on the likes of Facebook. Are you?
The majority of employers will now search for any presence you have online because they want to get a feel for the type of person you are, something that’s hard to obtain in an interview. You might think what you do in your own time is your own business, but if you publish it on the world wide web and don’t adjust your privacy settings correctly, you’re leaving yourself open.
As a recruiting organisation, we’ve multiple examples where a potential employer has been impressed with a candidate in an interview and then lost interest after viewing what they considered unsavoury material on the candidate’s social media profiles.
A lot of us have work friends that we’re connected to on Facebook. Social media has blurred the lines between work and non-work situations. Some of us may be connected with bosses, but even if we aren’t, you’d be amazed how the social ‘network’ can lead to our bosses coming across our posts.
Therefore, if you are considering moving jobs, it’s advisable to keep your thoughts and feelings away from social media until you get the job you want and have handed in your notice. In fact I’d go as far as to say if you have any negative feelings about work (even after you leave a company) you shouldn’t air them.
Ireland is a small place and you could cross paths again. Also, consider that you might need a reference at some stage, so refrain from any outbursts.
I know a recent case where someone announced they got a new job on Facebook, forgetting about the current work colleagues they were connected to. So by the time they were handing in their notice, the whole office knew they were leaving!
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Hiding the job hunt
There are lots of places to go looking for jobs online these days. For example, Twitter is popular for the IT, marketing and communications industries whilst Facebook and Pinterest advertise jobs as well. However, the most popular place to look for jobs is still the job boards.
Most of the job boards in Ireland, for example irishjobs.ie, prompt you to upload your CV to their database. It’s a way of being found by potential employers but it could also be a potential hazard if your employer uses these CV databases themselves.
Whilst LinkedIn is a very good place to apply for jobs, it is also the No.1 place if you want to be found. Recruitment consultants and HR professionals are well trained in searching LinkedIn for appropriate candidates and it’s common for people to be approached even if they aren’t looking for a job.
The tricky bit is updating your online profile when you are starting the job search, as LinkedIn will announce any changes you make. The key is to turn off your notifications until you have updated your CV and then present yourself to the world again. If your current employer doesn’t hire regularly, you’re probably ok, as long as you aren’t linked to anyone at your company.
But a word of caution, if you work at a large organisation or you know that your department is currently hiring, there is a good chance someone from work will be looking on LinkedIn and may come across you.
You might assume that I’m biased, but using a recruitment consultancy is actually one of the most discreet ways of job hunting. We can meet you before, or after work. We agree on what you are looking for and then we head off and try and match you up with a job that you want. We’ll also review your online profile and advise you if there any potential pitfalls out there.
How is your brand?
Social media has turned the broadcasting world on its head. BBC, CNN and RTE don’t own the message any more. We do. Whether it’s understanding a war crisis, picking a hotel or even seeking entertainment, we’re increasingly looking to other members of the public as opposed to professional organisations.
Equally, we are empowered to send our own messages as well and by sending those messages we are creating our own personal brand.
In my case, I post my opinion on marketing, recruitment, football and craft beer. So if anyone goes looking for me, that’s typically what they will find. If you’re looking for a job in a particular industry I would recommend building your brand towards that.
For example, if you are looking for a job/building a career as an accountant in Ireland, join LinkedIn groups for accountants in Ireland and get involved in the conversations. If you want to link in with someone make sure you personalise your message. Search for Twitter handles that relate to accountancy or look for accountancy stories and retweet them.
Write blogs about changes in the industry or economic situations that relate to the industry. Set up or review your LinkedIn profile to ensure you have a compelling bio, a professional looking picture and accountancy keywords throughout. And make sure your LinkedIn profile matches your CV.
Do a Google search of yourself and see what comes up. If there are a few photos or comments out there on the web that you think an employer would frown upon, get them deleted or adjust your privacy settings appropriately.
Social media can make or break you as far as getting a new job, but if you take due diligence you can use it your advantage.
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