Don’t be a social media luddite

Paul di Michiel, Career Coach

Don’t be caught with your pants down when it comes to social media

Job search can be tough, and you don’t want to make it any tougher by neglecting social media or pretending it doesn’t exist.

You could bury your head in the sand like the proverbial ostrich and say: ‘Social media is for millennials!’, but all you’ll achieve by doing this is to curtail access to jobs and opportunities and to connect and interact with others, including hiring managers.

Social media is defined as: Websites and other online means of communication that are used by large groups of people to share information and to develop social and professional contacts (Dictionary.com). We live in a world where you can purchase dinner, book overseas travel and even find your life’s companion online. So it should be no surprise then that social media is an integral part of a 21st century job search.

Have you ever Googled or searched for yourself online? If not, I suggest you do. Why? Because this is in effect your social media brand that others, including potential employers, will see. In fact, around 70% of organisations will Google you as part of a job selection process (Careerbuilder.com, June 2017). So you need to be aware of what shows up on your social media and adjust settings to ensure nothing shows up that you’d be embarrassed a potential employer might see.

Conversely, you can use social media to learn about other people and organisations. Unlike the days where such information was either held in the local library or business association, you can access a myriad of sites to do your homework about an individual or organisation. This may be for general interest or to prepare for a networking meeting or interview.

Take it a step further and you can apply for jobs online using sites like SEEK, Adzuna and ApplyDirect. Not only do these sites allow you to apply for jobs, but often contain helpful job search information. For example, SEEK has a ‘Careers Advice’ section that covers a broad array of information on topics including resumes and interviewing.

Having a presence – and being active – on social media also helps to alleviate any misconceptions about how contemporary you are in relation to technology (even if you are mature-aged). Something as simple as including a link to your LinkedIn profile on your resume, says that you are up-to-date and savvy when it comes to things technological. I once worked with a client who was around 50years old, who was asked by a much younger recruiter: “Do you have a computer at home?”. One is tempted to respond: “No, but my stone tablet and chisel work simply fine!”

One social media site you must be on is LinkedIn. Why?

  1. It serves as your primary online professional profile and will generally show up on the first page of Google results if people search for you.
  2. Most recruiters use LinkedIn to find candidates (it’s fundamentally a database and your profile is a ‘database record’), so ensure your profile is as complete and detailed as possible and contains searchable keywords and phrases.
  3. There are jobs posted on LinkedIn.
  4. Regular contributions to LinkedIn in the form of articles, or even ‘Likes’, ‘Comments’ and ‘Shares’ of others’ contributions will both  keep you informed and increase your professional visibility.
  5. Most importantly, LinkedIn gives you access to your extended network. Your 1st degree connections know people you don’t know (2nd degree connections) and can provide introductions. In other words, LinkedIn facilitates networking, which is the traditional and most effective means of job search, accounting for around 70% of job placements.

Finally, don’t think you have to be on every social media platform. Identify those that give you the opportunity to have visibility and interaction with your desired audience and go from there. If you do this, you can evolve from a social media luddite to a social media technophile!

________________________________________________________________________Wahroonga-based Paul Di Michiel is the author of Fired to Hired, The Guide to Effective Job Search for the Over 40s. Find out more about his career coaching business, The Career Medic, at: www.thecareermedic.com

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