By RAKSHEEN AYAZ
More than three-quarters of hiring managers surveyed report they actually hire through social networks. Ninety-two percent used LinkedIn, 24 percent hired from Facebook and 14 percent through Twitter, according to a June 2013 survey from Jobvite. The survey included 1,600 recruiting and human resource professionals.
Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are leading social media sites, where people are constantly connected and spend countless hours. These sites are no longer personal to just your close friends and family. Recruiters often look at your profile to get a glimpse of your life, before making a hiring decision, and often before they even meet you in person.
Those seeking employment often have a notion having a Facebook account hinders their chances of receiving a job offer.
Ninety-four percent of hiring managers used social networks at some point during the recruiting process, and 93 percent said they are likely to look at candidates social profiles, according to the Jobvite survey.
College students and recent graduates often fear employers will see photos of them partying, underage drinking or writing crude comments. They often change their names on Facebook or temporarily deactivate their accounts.
Ray Xiao, a junior at the University of Florida, changed his name on Facebook for one month last year when he applied for engineering internships. He changed it to a string of several random letters.
“I felt a little pressured since everyone was doing it, and I was a little unsure of what I had said in the past on Facebook,” he said.
Xiao said he was afraid something he wrote in the past, such as a joke, or if he complained about things when he was upset during an angry stage, would look bad in the eyes of recruiters.
He posts statuses and photos frequently and finds there are too many old posts for him to edit or delete.
“I was young, and when you’re young, you stay stupid things,” he said. “Everyone says stupid things when they’re young.”
Xiao is convinced employers realize social media is for private, not professional use.
“If a company goes as far to delve into my personal life, I probably don’t want to work for them anyways,” he said.
Xiao found changing his name was not enough to be hidden from employers searching him. He was still easily searched through his email address.
He doesn’t think employers should care about what’s on someone’s profile.
“Anyone who is professional should be able to separate personal life and work life,” he said. “Though if you have a lot of partying photos, or if you are racist or homophobic, that might be a different story,”
Tip: Go through your previous Facebook activity. Make sure your profile is as private as you want it to be. Delete and untag yourself from questionable photos you have shared and are linked to your profile. Remove profanity, posts of sexual nature, references to guns and extreme political opinions. Include information about the volunteer causes you support and are involved in, suggested an article from U.S. News published in September 2013.
Be sure to check your privacy settings, ideally your posts are only visible to your friends only. Those not friends with you cannot see your photos or posts.
Facebook can be utilized to easily find friends or those in your network who have a job or are in the industry you are interested in. The new Graph search tool allows users to look for results by likes, groups, check-ins, photos and more.
LinkedIn is known as the most obvious and acceptable social media site for finding a job.
When recruiters view your LinkedIn profile, they want to verify professional experience, length of professional tenure and specific hard skills, according to Jobvite’s survey.
Ciara Sibbick created a LinkedIn profile two years ago. She is finishing her degree in public relations at the University of Florida and anticipates LinkedIn will aid her in landing a job.
Her dad told her to create one and to add every professional shemet, even if they are not in her industry of interest.
“It is good for future reference in case I want to branch out and connect with professionals in another field,” she said.
She uses it as a research tool and plans to use it more around graduation time. She is following a couple of companies and found job openings posted on LinkedIn show up on her homepage with updates.
“I think it’s good to know their background and what connections they also have,” she said.
Sibbick’s profile is almost 100 percent complete, according to LinkedIn. She thoroughly completed a list of experiences, summary and skills and interests.
“I didn’t sit down and edit it for hours,” she said. “I continually updated it as I got more experience and completed an experience.”
In the past, she updated her experience and connected with supervisors and co-workers as soon as she left at the job. They usually remember her and endorse her for skills, she said.
At first, Sibbick searched for jobs in her area and had trouble finding something of interest. She used the filter tool to find what she wanted and applied to several jobs in a matter of minutes.
In the past few months, she had been contacted by a recruiter from a company located in her hometown. The position was in sales, not in her interest.
“Even though it wasn’t something I was interested in, I thought it was great that he actively sought me out,” she said. “I could tell he actually read through my profile and experiences and was interested in what I had to offer.”
She finds some problems with LinkedIn. She does not like that others can see when you have viewed their profile.
People with premium accounts are not shown.
“Who are these people? Why are they hiding themselves?” she asked.
“Sometimes I just want to see someone’s profile to see their past experiences and their career progression,” Sibbick said. “The feature prevents me from going onto too many profiles.”
Another thing she mentioned was the importance of expanding your network, and the labeling of first, second and third degree connections.
“Some connections mean more than others,” she said. “Some people are connected to more influential and diverse people. Others are not.”
In addition, she sees it evolving into a site similar to Facebook. LinkedIn users have a homepage and can update statuses. Their statuses, profile pictures and links posted can receive likes and comments.
LinkedIn also continuously tweaks its website, which can be confusing to readers.
“It’s getting complicated to create a professional brand online and LinkedIn keeps adding more options,” Sibbick said.
Tip: Complete your profile and update often, since LinkedIn is often changing its features. Endorse others for skills and offer to write them letters of recommendations. They may reciprocate. Add professionals you meet. The larger the network the easier it is for you to get noticed and have closer connections, which will help when connecting with people for a future job.
Increase your LinkedIn activity and build a strong and complete profile highlighting areas relevant to your desired job. Also, include your interests and soft skills showing your match with the company culture, suggests an article published by U.S. News & World Report in September 2013.
On Twitter, users vent about or constantly update news about their job or industry. Celebrities snap pictures and give us glimpses of their glamorous lives. Companies continuously promote their brands and post updates, including job opportunities.
Often, following a company means you receive updates on when new positions are available right in your Twitter feed.
Erica Hernandez, a journalism student at the University of Florida, uses her Twitter handle several times a day.
She tweets a mix of her personal commentary, intresting articles she’s reading for leisure and stories she wrote or worked on, she said.
“Tweeting every day is a must,” she said.
Hernandez uses an application called Buffer App, which sends tweets pre-written tweets on a specific designated time.
“It’s great because I can tweet at peak reading hours and then track how many click the link I tweeted got,” she said. “It’s essential for me to track my follower’s engagement.”
Some of her journalism peers are a lot more personal, involving venting about vague personal events. Others have posts similar to hers.
“Not all understand the importance of regularity,” she said. “I want to be a fixture in my follower’s newsfeeds. There should always be an update from me when they are scrolling through in the morning and checking in before bed—not just on the days I’m reporting, but every day of the week.
Hernandez said it is important to be easily accessible to those searching for her.
“It’s hard because my last name is so common. I use my middle initial,” she said.
All her social media profiles link to her personal website, which summarizes all her academic and career accomplishments, as well as writing clips.
Her Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and Google+ profile are all public. Her only private account is Facebook, and it is most personal, she said.
Among her followers are professors at her school, sports coaches, journalists, reporters and editors for major newspapers around the country.
She received many followers this past summer as a sports intern this past summer at the Sun Sentinel. Erica was tweeting on a daily basis about the Miami Dolphins and many fans followed her.
“When you gain followers who are eager for your news content, it puts some pressure on you to edit out your own voice and opinion and present just the facts,” Hernandez said.
“I still have a good amount of followers who expect Dolphins content from me even though I don’t report on the team anymore, but I’m more than happy to have them and share them the news and content I am creating, she said.
Having a job in the media industry involves being active and open on social networking sites.
Dayana Falcon, a global marketing and business development associate for BPN in New York City stays active on Twitter.
“Staying active on Twitter in our industry is important for thought, leadership and engagement,” she said.
She does not keep her personal and professional lives very separate.
“I have one phone for both work and personal. I am very open to my personal life being shared with industry colleagues,” Falcon said.
She uses Twitter to stay on the radar of industry professionals she meets by engaging with them on Twitter. LinkedIn helps her follow industry executives since there is a high turnover of people moving companies in the media industry. She keeps Facebook to showcase personal accomplishments in her career, she said.
Tip: Put it out there you are looking for a job. Have it on your Twitter page. Twitter is a fast-paced, light-hearted app and is an easy way to connect with professionals who might otherwise be hard to contact. Participate in chats in the industry you are interested in and use hashtags so your content is searchable.
Despite all the do’s and don’ts of social media etiquette, Falcon suggests not hiding yourself from people.
“Be yourself on your social media channels. Obviously in college you will be going out and drinking with friends. Just keep your settings so you are able to approve or disapprove of photos you are tagged in,” she said.