Job Searching with Social Media: Top 11 Myths Debunked
Social Media can be an effective career building tool. Used properly, you can search for job opportunities, research companies, build business networks and market yourself to prospective employers. So what holds people back from using social media to find a job? Perhaps it’s fear of the unknown, or limited understanding of how it all works. The following article dispels 11 common myths causing people to misunderstand social media and its use as a job search tool.
MYTH #1: I don’t need a social media profile to land a job.
FACT: Employers are integrating social media background-checks into their recruitment policy. If you apply for a job, you should assume your identity will be researched via Google, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. In fact, you may be asked to give employers or recruiters full access to all your social media accounts with all privacy settings revoked. If you have no social media profile, you will not fare well against other candidates when your professional online presence is compared.
MYTH #2: A social media profile is purely an online resume.
FACT: Social media profiles facilitate much more than just a place to post your resume. You can research employers and investigate your competitor candidates. You can create and contribute to discussion forums and build networking groups that meet together offline. You can also build a community network of professionals that will help you with your job search.
MYTH #3: Social Media is a fast way to find a job.
FACT: A lucky handful of social media users will find a job quickly. For most people however, social media should be viewed as a long term strategy. The idea is to build your personal brand and business networks over time. As people become familiar with your name, you will be more likely to get approached for new job openings.
MYTH #4: I cannot be legally sued for my social media activities if I stay incognito.
FACT: People have been sued for comments made on Twitter and Facebook. You are legally responsible for libellous comments (slander), illegal downloads, copyright infringements, insider trading and more. Even if you operate anonymously, technology exists to track your true identity.
MYTH #5: If I share my job-hunter status, my network will help me find work.
FACT: You need to share more than just your status to engage and activate your network. You need to share useful information, leads and opportunities with your peers. You will also be rewarded for recommending and introducing others. If you want your network to help you, help others first. Be generous and make a positive contribution to your network.
MYTH #6: I will only get a job if I have a large network.
FACT: Although a large network of contacts makes a good impression to recruiters, the quality of your connections is just as important. One well-connected individual can open the door to a new opportunity. One thousand other acquaintances might offer no help at all.
MYTH #7: Recruiters will never find my Social Media profile anyway.
FACT: Websites such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter are frequently indexed by Google and other search engines. Updates you make to your profile can often be found by a Google search within minutes of your post. If you include your full name and professional keywords on your business profile pages, it is highly likely recruiters will find your information when conducting standard online background checks.
MYTH #8: Creating a LinkedIn profile is a ‘set and forget’ activity.
FACT: LinkedIn profiles should be dynamic and up-to-date. When you are job hunting, it’s a good idea to update your profile with keywords relating to the job description of your ideal position. Research the best of your competition – those who hold positions you desire – and (without plagiarising) replicate the most effective sections of their social media profile. Update your work history often and post a new status to your profile on a regular basis.
MYTH #9: Social media is as safe as a casual chat with friends.
FACT: Always assume every word you post to the Internet is permanently recorded and publicly available. Don’t say things you might regret later.
MYTH #10: Only Information Technology (IT) companies use Social Media to recruit employees.
FACT: Companies are adopting social media faster than ever before and creating corporate policies that facilitate social media activity in the workplace. While IT companies may be specialists in social media for all purposes (marketing, research, communications and more), non-IT companies are using social media mainly for recruitment. Employers from many industries are posting job openings to Twitter and LinkedIn. Additionally, nearly every industry use social media to vet job applicants.
MYTH #11: Only young people can find a job using Social Media.
FACT: Older people nearing retirement often worry about losing their job to a younger replacement. By creating a social media presence, you demonstrate to employers your competency with new technology and willingness embrace the future. Listing your work history on LinkedIn and/or blogging about your professional experiences will give you a competitive edge over younger, less experienced job candidates.
Social media may not guarantee you a job, but it will help you impress recruiters. Finding a new job is always a challenge, especially in today’s competitive environment. Social media helps maximise your chances of success. Your peers are already showcasing their talent via social media. Don’t waste an opportunity to showcase yours.
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