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Job Application Tips: How to Leverage Social Media to get Hired

July 05, 2023

Recruiters have weighed in: Your social media presence may affect your employability

Are your social media profiles relevant when applying for jobs?

In this digital age, most people online have social media profiles. According to Hootsuite, out of the 4.5 billion internet users globally, 3.8 billion are on social media. For recruiters, this means that they can “background-check” applicants online and see if what they say in their resumes are true, and if there are other things candidates did not disclose (which can work both ways). For job seekers and employees like you, this means that you can leverage your social media profile to stand out among the other applicants.

What would recruiters discover about you online?

Prior to the pandemic, 70 percent of employers admit that as part of the recruitment process, they check candidates on social media. They view profiles sometime between scouting potential candidates and contract signing, although most of the time say they do so prior to scheduling for an initial interview.

Notably, what they find about you online can affect their impression. Majority of them say if they find reasons not to hire a candidate, they will not move forward with that candidate’s application anymore.

This does not mean, however, that you should stop posting on social or delete your social media accounts if you don’t want the trouble of being looked up. The downside to not being found online is you would be perceived as someone dubious. Almost half of the respondents say that if they cannot find you online, they will less likely continue with your application.

Recruiters will appreciate seeing additional information about you, as this will help them gauge if the things you say in your CV are true. It will also shed light on your interests and social personality—things that are not on your CV but will be relevant to company culture fit.

Getting screened through social media has its pros and cons. For candidates, it’s a matter of finding the right balance. Secure your personal information but, at the same time, be transparent enough so that you can boost your credibility.

Getting employed in the digital age

Our digital footprint—or history of online activity—includes not only what we post online but also what others say about us. What recruiters find helps them decide if you are a good fit for the role you are applying for.

This covers:

  • What you post online
  • What others post about you
  • Locations you have visited
  • Browsing history
  • Pages, brands, and posts you engage(d) with
  • Personal information
  • Photos and videos of you

Now, what do employers look for when they look you up online?

1. Information on your job qualifications

If you say on your CV that you graduated from this school or worked for this company, does it match what you say online? A discrepancy would be a cause of concern not because everything you find online is true, but because the candidate might be holding information either in the CV or on their socmed accounts. Majority of employers (58 percent) say they check for information on your job qualifications when they look you up online.

2. Your “online persona”

How do you carry yourself when you are outside the office? Fifty percent of recruiters in the study say that a candidate’s online persona influences their decision making. The things that you post, like and share give employers a glimpse of how you’ll fit (or not) into the company’s culture.

3. What other people say about you

Thirty-four percent of employers say that what netizens post about a candidate contributes to their employability. This can work either way, depending on the quality of your network. Generally, professional reviews are things that employers read, like what former colleagues or clients say about you.

4. Reasons not to hire a candidate

Recruiters say that they also check for red flags, such as inappropriate photos, alcohol or drug use, discriminatory posts, and lying about job qualifications.

Tips on how to make social media work for you

1. Friends’ list

If you’ve had reasonable work experience, chances are you’d have common friends in the industry with the employer who’s checking you out. This is a case of, “tell me who your friends are, and I’ll tell you if you’ve made it.” The network you’ve built can speak volumes about the work you’ve put in and the contributions you’ve made in the industry you belong to.

2. Creativity, interests, hobbies

Talents or hobbies that can add value to your work boosts your employability. If you were part of reputable organizations in school or did volunteer work, make them visible to prospective employers. Feel free to also add fun facts, especially if they’re related to the type of work you want to land. Once-in-a-lifetime experiences like winning in a TV game show (that shows your trivia awesomeness) or going viral with a witty meme (works great if you’re in the creative industry) would be fun things to know about you and could be great conversation starters at job interviews.

3. Passion for work

Conducting yourself professionally even in your networking sites will give employers a good impression. You’ll gain an advantage if recruiters see that you share your company’s posts or marketing efforts, and engage in industry-related posts. Recruiters have a positive impression when they find out you are proud of what you do and where you work.

Social media is not the be-all and end-all of your job application. It’s a matter of finding the right balance so you can get the attention of employers while honoring your personal space. At its core, social media is a networking tool. It’s up to us to leverage it and use it to our professional advantage.

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Your social media profile is an extension of your CV. Studies have found that 70% of employers check out potential candidates online before hiring.

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