Have we moved further away from the word-of-mouth culture of the job market? In the world of networking (perhaps the best way to find a job currently), social media is becoming harder and harder to bypass if getting employed is on your list of things to do. But is it really the way to go?
Most people would agree that yes, social media can help you land a job. The social media boom hasn’t slowed down, with monthly active users on Facebook now exceeding 850 million (source: Jeff Bullas). More and more methods of searching for and finding jobs are manifesting regularly; Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, blogs – all connecting people, building networks, and providing a means for job-seekers to do this easier, faster and cheaper than ever before. Combined with the fact that 86% of potential employers will research your various profiles when recruiting (source: Mashable), social media is a tool and is there to be exploited.
However, this tool is a double-edged sword; is social media intrusive? Most certainly. It peers into your personal life, and if your profile happens to contain things such as pictures of alcohol consumption, references to illegal drug use or even poor spelling, this will almost certainly affect the perception recruiters will have of you negatively. Surprisingly, bad spelling will look worse to employers than alcohol consumption (source: Column Five Media). In contrast to this, recruiters like to see charity donation, membership of professional organizations, along with voluntary work and hobbies.
In the UK alone, there are 11 million users on LinkedIn (source: SlideShare), a website that allows you to develop connections that are specifically occupational and specifically of higher skillsets. Globally, 89% of companies have used LinkedIn for recruiting (especially at higher salary ranges). Around one candidate per hundred will be hired directly through social media, whereas one in seven will be hired via referral. In this way, social media is useful if implemented in the correct way.
Perhaps this correct usage is the conclusion to draw here. Social media can help you to become employed. It is known that employers use social sites to look for potential employees, and even to cross-reference employees that have been found using other methods. The world is indeed shrinking, the distance between employer and employee along with it. However, with the prying eye of employers, social media can just as easily let you down at the first hurdle or even get you fired if your personal life doesn’t suit their agenda. Use social media. Network with as many people as you can. Push for a referral. Don’t waste any opportunity, no matter how small it may be in the long-term. And, above all else, drink if you have to, just don’t misspell.
20th March 2013