Why is Social Media a Must for Your Job Search?

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We have to recognize that social media plays an important role in building our workforce.  That includes both the employer and the job seeker. 

Today, Millennials account for 36 percent of the U.S. workforce, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and they will account for 75 percent of the global workforce by 2025.  Millennials have grown up texting, tweeting, pinning, posting, following and friending and Gen X and even the Boomers are getting on board.

Given that this group of employees has grown-up actively communicating via myriad social media sites and devices, the use of social media is a workplace trend with staying power for the foreseeable future.

The use of social media, once was a luxury or entertainment.  Today, it is a part of our everyday lives.  Businesses use social media to increase exposure to their brand, sell goods and services and to increase their presence by providing information and expertise in their industry sector.

Additionally, social media is not just for socializing, is being used for a number of humanitarian causes working towards the greater good. 

2016 04 26 09 20 44 Why is social media a must for your job search

Did I say billions?  Yes, Billions!

Edison Research is reporting that in 2008, only 24 percent of people in the United States had social network profiles.  In just eight years, that number has exploded.  2016, statistics show that over 78 percent of Americans have a social network profile.  That is an estimated 185 million Americans using social media – and that number is expected to exceed 200 million by 2020.

According to estimates, the number of worldwide social media users reached 1.96 billion in the beginning of 2016, and is expected to grow to some 2.5 billion by 2018.  Facebook is now the largest platform worldwide and has over 1.5 billion users.   

Today, employers use social media in two ways when hiring.  First to recruit candidates by publicizing job openings. Secondly, to conduct background checks to confirm a candidate’s qualifications for a position.

A 2013 study by the Society for Human Resource Managers, reports that 77 percent of organizations surveyed, reported using social networking sites to recruit potential job candidates, an increase from 56 percent in 2011 and 34 percent in 2008.

Why do organizations use social networking websites to recruit potential job candidates?

The majority, 80 percent, say the primary reason is the ability to recruit candidates who might not otherwise apply or be contacted by the organization.  Of those organizations, 69 percent use social networking websites to target candidates with a specific set of skills, 67 percent say it helps increase the organization’s brand and 57 percent say that it allow potential candidates to easily contact their organization about employment.

What social networking sites should you use if you are looking for a job?

LinkedInis the most commonly used site for employee recruitment. Of those organizations that use social networking sites for recruitment, the vast majority, 94 percent use LinkedIn. This is followed by Facebook at 54 percent, Twitter at 39 percent, professional or association social networking sites 29 percent.  Less than 10 percent of organizations use sites like Google+, YouTube, Pinterest and Foursquare.

Additionally, LinkedIn is the most commonly used social networking site for screening job candidates. Of those organizations that use social networking sites for screening, a large majority, 92 percent use LinkedIn. This is followed by Facebook at 58 percent, Twitter at 31 percent, Google+ is 25 percent, and 14 percent use professional or association social networking sites. Less than 10 percent of organizations use other sites like YouTube, Pinterest, MySpace, and Foursquare.

If you already have a LinkedIn profile, have you taken advantage of all the opportunities available to enhance your brand; or are you making LinkedIn mistakes that could hurt you?  If you aren’t sure, take the LinkedIn Quiz and see how you measure up. 

Need more help?  Consider scheduling an appointment with a career coach or visit the online Career Cove for YouTube tutorials and additional information.

How much does your social media activity play into you getting or not getting a job?

Turns out, a lot! The number of human resource managers that say they have rejected candidates because of information found on social media varies but is high.  One report finds that 70 percent of human resource managers report that they have rejected candidates because of the information they found.

Many job-seekers are finally aware that they should be locking down their privacy settings on Facebook, and even the college seniors have been taught to delete the keg stand photos. However, what if there’s a photo or article floating around that is not flattering? While it’s not always easy to remove something bad, it’s fast, easy, and inexpensive to create your own web presence and boost your rankings.  

Do you know how you stand out online?Online Personal Branding

Consider taking a moment to see what Google is saying about you. 

 Have you ever Googled yourself?

If not, you should, because hiring managers will.  After you are clear about how you show up on the web, you can create a plan to enhance your online brand.

If you still aren’t convinced that social media is a “must” for your job search, then go back and review the statistics.

Social media should be an important part of your job search plan.  Remember that it provides an opportunity for you to develop your “personal brand” and showcase your accomplishments in an electronic format that potential hiring managers, recruiters and other decision makers can see.  Take advantage of the ability to make contacts and connect with opportunities that might not be listed on job boards.  Finally, utilize the wealth of information available and use it to research industries, companies, and positions of interest.


About the Author: Teri Grier is a part-time instructor at Southwestern Oregon Community College and a nationally recognized Professional Certified Coach through the International Coach Federation. She has over 15 years’ experience onboarding, training and managing teams. She is a graduate from Georgetown University's School of Continuing Studies where she received a graduate certificate in Leadership Coaching.  In addition to her coaching credentials, she has a Master’s in Public Administration and a BS in Communications from Northern Arizona University.