How to use social media to your advantage when job hunting

Have you googled yourself recently?

Studies have shown that over 90% of HR professionals and hiring managers use social media channels to screen prospective candidates at some point during the hiring process, and 69% of them have eliminated candidates based on their findings.

On the flipside, 20% of those employers found useful and positive information on social media that actually led to them hiring the candidate.

So what are the rules for managing your online presence during your job hunt?

1. Optimise your LinkedIn profile

If you’re job hunting, the one social media site you should be using is LinkedIn. Designed to showcase your skills and work history, this online profile is much more than a CV. It allows you to connect to other professionals, post relevant articles and comments, receive recommendations and search for jobs.

LinkedIn is one of the primary tools recruiters use to search for candidates (even if you aren’t looking for a job). You can also activate your LinkedIn account to allow recruiters to know you’re job hunting without informing your current employer.

A recent survey also revealed that 25% of job candidates said they had “embellished” their CV at some point, but only 9% of those that actively used LinkedIn did the same. As LinkedIn profiles are publicly accessible and often include connections to current and previous employees, your profile is often considered more trustworthy.

LinkedIn allows you to request recommendations and receive endorsements for specific skills. You should encourage your colleagues to give you recommendations by actively writing recommendations for others first.

Using a friendly but professional photo on your profile will put you ahead of the two thirds of LinkedIn users with outdated profiles.

Make sure you list AAT (or other) qualifications, even if you have yet to finish your course. This indicates your personal commitment to developing your skills.

2. Create an online brand

If you really want to optimise your online presence for job searches consider sharing accounting articles, commenting on relevant news, and connecting with fellow accountants and finance professionals.

Consider it a type of online networking. It demonstrates your passion and engagement with the industry which is impressive to employers. Providing articles and comments of value will then lead others to view your profile. You can do this through public profiles such as LinkedIn and Twitter.

You can also choose to create an online portfolio, demonstrating your experience with testimonials from past colleagues and employers. Simple to use website builders such as SquareSpace and Wix can provide templates, domain names and hosting for an affordable rate.

3. Use job boards effectively

Online job boards are a really easy way of getting your CV out there, but they still require some effort to give you the best results. Firstly, don’t limit yourself to just one job board; you could be missing out on your dream job over on another website. Be practical about how many sites you can monitor but we recommend using a mix of the big sites like Reed and Totaljobs as well as boards more tailored to your industry like Accountancy Age Jobs.

You’ll want to set up alerts for new jobs you might be interested in. Don’t be too broad though; if your inbox is being bombarded 24/7 you’ll just end up missing the jobs you’re actually interested in. Most sites have advanced options to filter the listings down by options like salary and location, and you can always adjust your settings later if you’re getting too many or not enough alerts.

4. Do your own research

If the search isn’t going well, you can start to feel disheartened. A good fix for this is to do some proactive research. Think about the kinds of companies you would like to work for. For example if your hobby is cooking you might like to work in the accounts department of a food supplier or a restaurant chain.

Once you’ve searched a list of potential employers seek out a contact in the accounts or HR team and go ahead and get it touch. You could try and form a connection on LinkedIn, ring the office, or email in your CV and a personalised cover letter. Even if they don’t have any jobs listed, your CV may come across their desk at a time when a new role is about to be advertised, or recruitment is occurring that haven’t seen advertised. An incredible 70% of all job vacancies are filled through the “hidden job market” where vacancies aren’t listed on any job boards, but filled through recruitment consultants. Get the timing right and you could find yourself in the running for a job you didn’t know existed.

5. Access your careers hub

If you’re studying with AVADO, maximise your use of the exclusive Careers Hub that you can access through the virtual campus. It is packed with useful resources like videos from employers, interview simulators and CV building tips. It also includes a jobs board to help you in your search. Even if you’re not currently seeking a new role, there are some great tools for personal development to help you develop your skills and maximise your performance at work.  You can also network with your fellow students on the campus who might be working in the type of organisation you’re looking for and can give you tips or even put you in touch with a hiring manager.

Remember: keeping a positive attitude, being proactive and making the most of your connections are all key to landing that dream role.

AVADO believes in creating inspiring learning that has a lasting impact - whether that’s helping you progress your career or transform your business.

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