Social Media for Job Seekers Part 1: The Basics

More and more companies are using social media as a method of attracting qualified candidates to their positions. In our Social Media for Job Seekers, we explore the what, why, and how to maximize these sites to find your next job.

Why Social Media

computer-419961_12802016 Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) survey, found that 84% of companies are using social media as a recruiting tool and an additional 9% of organizations are planning to.  This number is up from 56% in 2011.  The most common sites that are being used by recruiters, in order, are LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.  Companies are using social media for three main reasons:

  • They’re seeking out passive job seekers.
  • They want to attract candidates by showing up as a top place to work.
  • They are looking for specific skills for some harder to fill jobs.

Social media is a great way for you to connect with an organization.  When you apply for a job online,  your resume gets thrown into a system that scans and ranks it. It can take weeks to hear anything back if you hear anything at all.  The benefit of social media is that you can talk to a real person and build a relationship.  However, as companies and recruiters are becoming more engaged on social media, you have to be much more careful about how you are perceived.  Everything you post publicly and even sometimes privately can affect your potential employment.  According to the same SHRM study, 36% of organizations have rejected candidates based on their public social media profiles.

The Big Three

The most well-known social media platforms are LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.  As an applicant, you can use one or all of them to engage with employers.  If you decide to use these tools to help with your job search you have to proceed with a bit of caution.  Getting noticed by an employer can be excellent for your career, but it’s also easy to make the wrong impression.


LinkedIn for job seekersIf you only choose one social media platform, it should be LinkedIn.  It is the most popular recruiting site used by employers.  When you set up a profile, include the URL in your resume heading. Since LinkedIn doesn’t follow the normal “resume rules,” you can add additional information that may not make the cut on your resume.  

LinkedIn also allows for skill endorsements and recommendations.  You have the ability to ask people you’ve worked with to provide a recommendation or to endorse you.   Recommendations show up on your profile as a reference or testimonial.  LinkedIn is much more professional and work-related.  It isn’t the place to debate politics, catch up with your long-lost cousin, or to share cat videos (except for this one).  


Facebook for job seekers While Facebook can be a successful tool to engage with organizations, it also can expose much more of your personal information than LinkedIn.  From an HR perspective, Facebook has been a useful tool in avoiding potentially bad hiring decisions and catching cases of worker’s comp fraud

If you have a Facebook account, you need to update your privacy settings before you begin applying for jobs. Given my HR experience, I strongly suggest limiting the audience to your Facebook profile. You can still connect in Facebook groups or engage on company pages; it just prevents employers and the public from viewing your wall and other private details.  Unless you’re Facebook profile and posts are squeaky clean, do not to friend your employers or coworkers.


Twitter for job seekers Twitter can be a great place to interact with organizations and leaders.  It’s limitation being that it’s all in 140 characters or less.  It’s easy enough to set up more than one Twitter account to keep your personal and professional tweets separate.  When setting up a professional Twitter account, create a short username.  If you’re going to include a photo, make sure it’s professional. One plus about using Twitter is that companies tend to be pretty responsive.  Some executives and business owners manage their accounts directly. A lot of businesses have accounts set up specifically for job seekers.  Microsoft runs @MicrosoftJobs and Amtrak has an account specifically for Veterans @AmtrakVets.

Other Social Media

Companies are trying to entice applicants on other social media platforms as well.  GE’s recruiting campaign featuring a guy named Owen accepting a developer job has moved into Snapchat.  Marriott has the @MariottCareers Instagram account featuring happy employees both at work and enjoying life. To get a good idea of what life is really like at a company you can search for hashtags used by both the company’s page and employees, like #facebooklife, #Lifeatkohls.
Social Media for Job Seekers

Be sure to check out part two and part three of the Social Media for Job Seekers series.  We’re focusing on the top ways you can use social media to attract employers and creative examples of job seeker campaigns.

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