Fast food giant McDonald’s made headlines recently when it rolled out a plan to recruit millennial workers using Snapchat, Spotify and Hulu. According to senior director of HR for McDonald’s USA, Jez Langhorn, “We’re always looking for new and innovative ways to find job seekers.” (ERE Recruiting Intelligence, 2017) This is a far cry from posting what we ate for breakfast on Twitter, even if it was a Sausage McMuffin®. And if you are looking for a position, it may be time to consider how best to leverage your social media presence.
LinkedIn is an obvious place to start as it is designed specifically as a business- and employment-oriented social networking service. Besides LinkedIn, however, it is important to consider your overall online branding strategies. Here are a few hints to get started.
Create and Maintain Positive Online Profiles – Don’t be naïve. Companies are checking you out online. Although you do not have to be everywhere, you should have a presence. Pick two or three channels, including LinkedIn. Complete your profiles, keep everything professional, and maintain active feeds. Avoid political statements, inappropriate pictures and derogatory comments. If you are concerned about past posting, it is acceptable to make a channel private, but a hiring manager will be suspect if everything is locked down. “Despite what job candidates might think, most employers aren’t scouring the internet looking for reasons to not hire them. Most employers are actually trying to find reasons to hire someone.” (Business News Daily, 2017)
Network – Social media provides extended opportunities for networking. Make connections, repost interesting and relevant articles, and ask for advice and job opportunities when applicable. As with everything social, keep it classy. Requests that would be considered pushy, repetitive, and unsolicited face to face are not acceptable from behind a screen either.
Highlight your Skills and Interests – Your social media accounts can serve as an extended resume and/or online portfolio. You can only include so much information on a job application. The internet is not limiting, and you can keep everything up-to-date. Use this as an opportunity to highlight your skill set, creativity, connections, and accolades.
Learn About Company Cultures – When applying for a position, a good fit is important. No one wants to find out they made a mistake after being hired. If you are considering a job, follow the company online. Their posting (or lack of posting) could provide invaluable information about their values and priorities. In addition, this knowledge will provide an advantage for both the application and the interview process.