Social media has revolutionized the way the world interacts and connects with each other. Many people see the effects it has on everyday life, but do not realize social media isn’t just “social” anymore- now it has a huge impact on business. Like any useful tool, social media can propel your career to the next level or detour your journey. It all depends on how you use it. Whether you are looking for the right job or are trying to hold on to the one you have, social media can have a huge impact on your success.
In 2013 the Pew Research Center revealed that the majority of social media users were working-aged diverse individuals. Facebook boasted a following who was majority women, with 76 percent African American users and 73 percent Hispanic. Twitter had 29 percent African American users and 16 Hispanic. Instagram users were 34 percent African American and 23 percent Hispanic, and LinkedIn had 30 percent African American users and 13 percent Hispanic. For diverse professionals, correctly utilizing social could catalyze career success.
Understanding the impact
Social media has changed the ways employers and potential employees interact. “Ten-fifteen years ago the way you would find a job was to work really hard on your resume and cover letter, then send them out to as many companies as you could find in the newspaper, hoping that maybe one day a hiring manager would see it and bring you in for an interview,” said Ramond Walker, Founder of DreamStart, an organization that helps underserved entrepreneurs and young professionals develop clear vision, a strong foundation, and a practical action plan for their startups, projects, or personal life goals. “Social media has completely changed the way that companies find employees. At one time you would be the one looking for the particular job, now companies are scanning social media to find the perfect person they need.”
Many potential employees forget that their friends and family members are not the only ones looking at the things they post on social media. According to Jobvite.com’s 2014 Social Recruiting Survey, 93 percent of recruiters use or plan to use social media to support their recruiting efforts.
“Just about every company I know looks into social media when they are about to connect with someone,” said Nancy Roberts, Owner and COO of Trak-1, a background and screening company. “You can tell a lot from a social media feed in the same way you would if you were sitting down asking someone questions. Social media helps to expedite the connection process.”
Take a look at some of these Jobvite.com stats:
- Ninety-three percent of recruiters will review a candidate’s social profile before making a hiring decision.
- Fifty-five percent of recruiters have reconsidered a candidate based on their social profile, with 61 percent of those reconsiderations being negative.
- Seventy-three percent of recruiters have hired a candidate through social media.
- The most popular sites being
- LinkedIn 79%
- Facebook 26%
- Twitter 14%
- Candidate blog 7%
- The most popular sites being
Social media not only helps the employer
Social media has not only changed the way employers look for you, but the way you can find the right employer. “Social media has greatly helped potential employees find a job they love,” Walker said. “At one point you could only find out about a company by going to their website or going in person for a sit down interview. Now you can go to their Facebook page and find out what their campaigns are, what their culture is like and what things are most important to them by what they broadcast on their page.”
According to the 2015 Job Seeker Nation Study by Jobvite, 67 percent of jobseekers that use social media use Facebook for their job hunt, with 45 percent using Twitter and 40 percent using LinkedIn.
Knowing how to maximize the benefits of social media to catalyze your career is a must. Check out these tips to make social media work for you.
First things first
1. Have a social media account
“In today’s world if you do not have a social media account companies are wondering more and more why you don’t,” Walker said. “Most companies have a huge social media culture so if you want to be competitive, you need to show you understand the basics of how to use it, what to post and why. This is critical in an ever-changing technological world.”
2. Know your boundaries
In using social media it is important to decide the personal boundaries of your comfort zone. “You have to determine how much of your life you want to share,” Roberts said. “Deicide how you want to live your life- Do you want part of it to be hidden behind some wall or do you want to be fully transparent. Decide how you want to present yourself. Think about what that says about you, the career you want, if it matches with where you are going in your life and the things you are trying to accomplish.
Things to remember
3. Brand yourself
It is important to remember that your social media accounts may be the first real introduction an employer has to you, so use it to showcase your brand and make sure it is an accurate representation of who you are. Display the diversity in your life in a way that is easy for them to see how you will benefit their company
“Use your social media as an extension of your resume to create a voice for yourself and showcase your skills,” Walker said. “Share your thoughts on issues that affect the industry you are interested in. It is important for potential employers to see that you have an understanding of your industry and are passionate about it. If you use your social media to effectively brand yourself you can use it to get a job you love.”
4. Understand what kind of company you want to attract
It is imperative that you understand what companies look for when they are trolling the social media pages of potential candidates. According to jobvite.com’s survey, companies are turned off by:
- Profanity- 63%
- Spelling/grammar- 66%
- Illegal drug references- 83%
- Sexual posts- 70%
- Alcohol- 44%
- Guns- 51%
And turned on by:
- Professional experience- 97%
- Length of professional tenure- 96%
- Industry-related posts- 88%
- Mutual connections- 93%
- Specific hard skills- 95%
- The right cultural fit- 80%
- Examples of written or design work- 83%
It is also important to understand what you are looking for in the right company and how to attract them. “Finding the right company and culture is all about finding the right match and knowing how you will fit within that culture,” said Roberts. You will not be the perfect fit for every company, so do not waste time trying to attract the company that is the wrong fit for you. Some companies may be against you having pictures of alcohol on your social media feed, but others may be perfectly fine with it.
“If your newsfeed shows that you are a social person that knows everyone around town, is constantly out having drinks with friends, always partying and someone that knows people from all walks of life you may be the perfect person if I’m hiring for a local sales position,” Roberts said. “When I see your profile I’m thinking, this is a person I need, they know everyone and they are out everywhere. This is the kind of go-getter I need. But if I’m a company that sells a lot of products to churches maybe having someone with that type of social media feed is not a good match. I would need to have someone whose lifestyle is more consistent with my client base.”
Always remember companies are looking for someone who is a good match for their organization, but it is just as important that the company is a good match for you. As a diverse professional what elements must be present in a workplace for it to be the right fit for you?
“It’s got to be successful on both sides- the employee has got to be happy and the employer has to have the right person representing their company the way they want to be represented,” Roberts said.
5. Protect your brand
Your brand is all you have, so be sure to protect it. Be mindful of the people you are connected to on social media and aware of the things they are able to post that show up on your account. Your reputation could greatly be impacted by this.
“Remember every post could have a lasting impact,” said Walker. “Ask yourself- Is it worth it? Is this a true representation of who I am?”
Walker also recommends doing periodic Google and image searches of your name to see what the internet says about you. Are there any red flags?
6. Make sure that who they find is you
“Identity issues with social media are one of the challenges we as a society have to be diligent about,” Roberts said. “It is important to always remember that it is possible you could be looking at the wrong person.”
To make sure that potential employees find “the right you,” Roberts recommends you including links to your social media on your resume.
“This is great for permission-based sites like Linkedin,” she said. “When they invite you to connect, it gives you the opportunity to connect with them in writing and draw their attention to any skills you may want to highlight on your profile or any connections you may have in common.”
Use your social media as an extension of traditional job-hunting tools to generate extraordinary results.