You may have heard the saying that the “web is your resume, and social media is your references”. It is a very true and powerful statement. According to SHRM, 56% of organizations are currently using social media to recruit future employees. Is it fair? Is it legal? All those questions will be answered but as a job seeker, is this something you even care about?
Employers (especially larger companies) must be extremely careful (legal concerns) on how they use social media to help screen a candidate. It is the reason that most internal human resource departments don’t even allow it. However, in smaller companies (where you send your resume directly to the hiring authority), staffing firms and headhunters, odds go up that when they see a “match” from your resume, their next step will be to look you up on LinkedIn followed by Facebook then Twitter.
The good news is that for 95% of you, this is a great thing! Trust me, if you are qualified for the job, the only reason the employer is looking you up (and the only time) is to gain more knowledge about you to support your resume. Think about it. You probably spent hours putting together a resume that shows exactly what you do. Each word is specifically chosen. If an employer can then look at your LinkedIn and see examples of your work or your Facebook to see you socially, wouldn’t those things together make you stand out?
Also consider that any employer checking your social media typically has participated in social media themselves. They get it. Believe me, they want to hire you and fill the job with the right person.
Many job seekers are still concerned (and some should be) about employers poking around. The best way to deal with this is to lock down all your social during the job search. I will tell you however that most of the time, this is not even necessary.
In my experience, these are the top three things employers are looking for in your social profiles:
- Make sure your resume and LinkedIn profiles match. Over 50% don’t and will throw a huge curveball in your chances of getting hired. Most of the time it is dates of employment and missing employment on the resume or LinkedIn.
- Looking to see normal. In the ten second scan of your social profile, they just want to make sure they don’t see anything that would concern them. Having a picture of yourself with a beer in your hand is not a bad thing (unless it is in your LinkedIn profile picture). However, numerous pictures of parties and craziness may throw up some concerns (which is not the case most of the time but that is all you hear about in the media).
- Communication and Professionalism Skills. They want to see how you communicate with friends and peers. They know your resume is a prepared document but your LinkedIn posts and Facebook reactions are usually your own thoughts.