In 2018, it is hard to deny that technology plays a huge role in our lives. From banking and Uber to shopping and keeping in touch with loved ones, people rely on the internet and their smart phones more than ever before. However, with social media trends constantly changing and websites always evolving, it can be difficult to keep up with everything.
Technology has such a huge presence in today’s culture that if you don’t know the ins and outs, applying for jobs could be pretty difficult — even if you have an outstanding resume. That is why retiring military members, who are looking for a new job, and military spouses looking for work with each PCS should understand how social media and technology affects the job application processes.
Technology’s role in your job search
For job seekers, using technology to find positions that match your skill set is crucial. “To say that social media plays an important role in my job search is an understatement. Technology is my main path when it comes to searching new job openings and potential internships,” says Faith Rosenwald, a graduate student at Marquette University and social media intern.
Similarly, Johns Hopkins University graduate Astha Berry, who recently accepted a position as a healthcare consultant on the East Coast, explains how technology affected her recent job search. “Technology is incredibly helpful for finding jobs, whether it is general job searches like Indeed.com or specific sites for your alma mater like Handshake, it expands your horizons to jobs you might not even know existed. Plus, emailing people and connecting on LinkedIn provides an invaluable resource for online networking,” she says.
How social media influences the hiring process
Today, a majority of job applicants are active on social media. In fact, according to the career transition and talent development consulting firm Lee Hecht Harrison’s recent survey, only 11 percent of applicants are not active on social media in some capacity. Given this statistic, it’s no wonder so many employers turn to social media when vetting a prospective new employee. In fact, according to CareerBuilder.com’s most recent survey, 70 percent of employers screen applicants’ social media.
Additionally, 57 percent stated that they were less likely to invite a candidate to an interview if they couldn’t find him or her online. Social media undoubtedly has a huge influence over most companies’ hiring process, so for a job seeker, having a positive social media presence is vital.
With so many millennials entering the workforce, it’s not surprising that understanding and using technology to its potential is important for job seekers. Many online job applications often even request your Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter links.
With that in mind, adding your LinkedIn and/or Twitter profile link to your resume is also a good idea. According to John Reid McGlamory, a recent graduate of Troy University who recently accepted a position as an English teacher at Phenix City Schools in Alabama, “social media is an important part of the job application and can set you apart from the rest — either positively or negatively depending on how your web pages are presented and managed.”
The same CareerBuilder.com study also found that 54 percent of employers who said that they scan candidates’ social media also said that they’ve decided not to hire a candidate based on their profiles. “If you have a trashy profile, know that it may reflect poorly on your application,” Rosenwald notes.
This is important to keep in mind because employers attempt to judge your character and qualifications through your accounts. Posting pictures that are inappropriate or provocative, contain evidence of alcohol or drug use or display poor communication skills or controversial opinions could harm your job search.
In order to have a positive social media presence, McGlamory advises job seekers to make sure their profiles align with their resume.
He explains, “oftentimes, employers are looking for hires with a web presence as means of verifying activities listed on their resume. If events or functions are documented on your resume, then be sure that there are pictures on social media to back them up.”
It is important to keep your story consistent across all social media platforms. Employers are not just looking at LinkedIn anymore, so be sure your branding yourself in a consistent, positive light.
How to make the most of social media as a job seeker
On the flip side, social media and technology in general can be a vital tool for job seekers researching a potential company. For example, with Twitter, job seekers can follow important leaders in an organization or company.
Heather Mohonan, life coach and business expert, explains in a recent article in Business News Daily, that by following and retweeting prominent leaders in a company, you can give yourself a competitive edge. By interacting with a company on social media, you’re able to attract their attention and stand out among other candidates.
Additionally, job seekers can scan a company’s social media and websites to see if they are a good fit for them. Berry explains that she thoroughly read her company’s website to learn about the divisions she was interested in, along with the company’s visions and values prior to her first interview. Using technology to research an organization before interviewing for a position is incredibly important. McGlamory says that he looked up Phenix City Schools’ social before signing a contract. “It’s best to know the company or business before you sign your contract, and carefully looking at social media pages can assist in doing just that,” he explains.
Technology and social media are helpful tools for both job seekers and employers. Understanding the ins and outs of LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and job searches is critical knowledge that could help you land a position. Changing careers is difficult, and transitioning into civilian life is a challenge in itself, but using social media and technology to its full potential could make it a little bit easier.
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