Your Online Activity Can Either Help or Hurt Your Job Search

Welcome to Part 2 of my summer 2015 blog series on what it takes to conduct a successful job search in today’s competitive job market. In my last post, I shared tips on writing a strong resume. Today’s segment: the importance of using social media in your job media

Your online activity can either help or hurt your job search. It is not simply a matter of using social media; you have to use it the right way to find a job and impress employers. Employers use social media in their recruitment process two ways: by conducting preliminary background checks on job applicants and recruiting passive candidates.

Since the majority of job applications are submitted online today, most hiring managers decide whom to bring in for an interview without even meeting the job applicant face-to-face. Once they determine who looks good “on paper”, most employers research applicants online to find out what they are really like. According to a 2014 Jobvite survey, 64% of recruiters and hiring managers have reported that they have dismissed a job candidate because of their online activity. Don’t let this happen to you. Make sure what the hiring manager sees will help you land the job – not eliminate you from the competition. To facilitate your job search, you really need to clean up your online activity and remove or neutralize any negative information. LinkedIn is the best way to do that. The more you populate the internet with favorable information about you, the deeper you can bury any negative information.

Trying to avoid the flood of incoming resumes, many employers search for candidates online on networks like LinkedIn, rather than posting their jobs externally. In fact, experts say that 80% of all open positions are not even advertised online. If you are not yet on LinkedIn, you’ll want to do so immediately. It is the most powerful job search tool today. Many local libraries offer workshops that can get you up to speed in just a few hours. The primary reason you need to be on LinkedIn? Employers are expecting you to be there, and that is where they scout passive candidates. Simply put – if you want to be noticed by employers, you have to be where they are looking.

LinkedIn is keyword-driven. Establish your brand with a strong profile that includes all the key terms that a recruiter would use if they were looking for someone with your skillset. Then, you need to be active to attract the attention of recruiters and hiring managers. Share insightful information and comment on others’ posts. Join group conversations and demonstrate your expertise. Grow your network and build relationships. Aim for at least 500 LinkedIn connections. Connect with “superconnectors”, like me, who have thousands of connections. You never know who might have a lead on the perfect job for you. You can also research companies and locate jobs posted right on LinkedIn.

The most effective job search strategy cited by jobseekers in 2014 includes face-to-face and online networking. Not sure about the best ways to use social media as a job search tool? Give me a call, I’d be glad to help.

Trish Thomas founded The Resume Resource in 2009 to help people develop the tools, strategies and confidence to build satisfying careers. As a Career Coach, Resume Writer and Certified MBTI Practitioner, she helps her clients articulate their unique value to stand out from the competition, and guides them through the job search process to make it less overwhelming and more successful. Contact her to see how she can help you build a more rewarding career.

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