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Social Media in the Job Search
As social media continues to change the way people communicate, it can be a very effective tool to find job and internship opportunities. You can use LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and more for career exploration, the job and internship search, and to professionally market yourself online. Use HookedIn, the official UT Austin social networking platform, to connect with alumni in your field.
On every social media platform, you can search for and follow thought leaders and organizations in your field of interest to learn more about their industry, their areas of expertise, timely news and events, and job opportunities. Take advantage of the resources available to build an online presence of which you can be proud.
LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional networking site, with students and recent college graduates being the fastest growing demographic. There are more than 600 million professionals (including more than 426,000 UT alumni) on LinkedIn, so with the importance of networking in mind, creating a LinkedIn profile is a vital part of your job and internship search. Take the time to build your LinkedIn profile, keep it up to date, add connections on a regular basis, and effectively utilize all of the tools that LinkedIn has to offer to aid in your job and internship search.
- Explore the University of Texas at Austin LinkedIn group to get career insights from Longhorn alumni. Learn where alumni are working, what they do, who they work for, what they are skilled at, and what they studied.
- Follow your target organizations on their LinkedIn pages to stay informed of current events and updates and learn more information about the organization. Whether you are in the beginning stages of your search or are conducting research for an interview, following organizations is key in staying on top of your job search game.
- Join a group related to your interests to form new connections with like-minded people, post group discussions, and gather information from professionals in the field.
- Connect with classmates, professors, and other people you know, as well as UT alumni and professionals in your field you haven’t met yet.
- Search the Student Jobs Portal to explore career paths of UT alumni from your college, find opportunities that fit your interests, and discover companies you may not have considered before.
- Find your earning potential by using LinkedIn Salary to obtain job salary insights and understand the various factors that impact pay for specific positions, so you can make more informed career decisions
Although primarily used for social networking, Facebook boasts more than 2.6 billion users and can also be used for professional networking.
Unlike LinkedIn, Facebook does not prompt you to fill out past professional experiences or a profile summary. In order to maintain a consistent message across all social media sites, be sure to fill out the work experience, your education, and your profile summary. Having a complete and professional Facebook profile that matches up with your resume and LinkedIn makes your online presence stronger and gives you a competitive edge against other candidates.
- Locate and “like” organizations and businesses that are of interest to you.
- Network with professionals and join discussions on organizations’ Facebook pages.
- Clean up your profile; consider what an employer might be able to see in your photos and your friends’ photos of you. If your Facebook profile is too unprofessional, it could hurt you in the job search.
- Check your privacy settings regularly.
Twitter, with 330+ million users, has a unique advantage over other social media sites: it allows you to discover (in real-time) developments in your areas of interest and be a part of a global conversation that extends past people you know.
When using Twitter as a job search tool, who you follow is more important than how many followers you have! By following key influencers, you can get a glimpse into what they are thinking about and get ideas on how to reach out to them. Participate actively in discussions and be sure to follow good grammar, spelling, and punctuation rules.
- Locate and follow organizations and people in which you are interested (if you aren’t sure who the top influencers are in your interest area, try utilizing one of these resources).
- Have conversations with organizations and people in your area of interest; be sure to understand the difference between your retweets, replies, and your DMs (direct messages).
- Write a bio and use a professional headshot.
- Keep your profile clean and consider how the content you share, interact with, and follow might be perceived by an employer.
Instagram is a hot spot for photos and videos. With more than one billion users, organizations are increasingly turning to Instagram to promote their cultures and their open jobs. If you currently use Instagram, start following and interacting with relevant organizations and individuals to get an idea of an organization’s culture and gain more knowledge about its mission, values, and key influencers.
- Make a list of companies to which you’re applying (or would be interested in applying) and start following them. Pay attention to trends and themes; this can be helpful when determining if you would be a good fit, when writing a cover letter and/or answering the question “Why do you want to work at this organization?”. Say goodbye to generic answers!
- Add a professional photo and short bio.
- Be mindful of what you post and update privacy settings regularly!
UT students can also join HookedIn, the official UT Austin social networking platform designed to connect students, alumni, employers, and friends of UT for career connections and mentorship.
Your Digital Footprint
Presenting yourself in a positive, professional light across all of your social networks is imperative in today’s job market. Understanding what information is accessible and viewable by networking contacts and potential employers is very important.
Steps to Get Started
- Conduct an online audit: Search for yourself using Google, Bing, or Yahoo.
- Create a Google alert of yourself to get notifications of any mentions of you.
- Pay attention to web content and images across your social media platforms.
- Delete any inactive profiles.
- Start creating new content that showcases your professional interests.
According to Career Builder’s annual Social Media Survey (2017), 70% of employers are searching for you—the job candidate—on social media and online search engines. Here’s what they are searching for:
- Information that supports the candidate’s qualifications for the job
- A professional online presence
- What other people are posting about the candidate
- Information that speaks to the candidate’s personality and fit for organizational culture
- Great communication skills
- Evidence of being well-rounded, showing a wide range of interests
- A reason not to hire the candidate
More than half of employers have found content on social media that caused them not to hire a candidate, including:
- Provocative or inappropriate photographs, videos, or information
- Information about drinking (especially if you are under 21) or using drugs
- Discriminatory comments related to race, gender, or religion
- Bad-mouthing previous organization or fellow employees
- Lying about qualifications
- Sharing confidential information from previous employers
- Lying about an absence (i.e., from work)
Think the answer is to delete all social media accounts? Think again. More than 57% of employers say that they are LESS likely to call someone in for an interview if they can’t find the job candidate online. So instead of deleting accounts and avoiding them altogether, clean up your profiles and build up your online presence.
When you are employed, know that organizations are more frequently instituting or revising their social media policies to provide guidelines for employees. If you work in any capacity for an organization, be aware of their policies about the use of social media.