You may have heard the saying that “the web is your resume, and social media are your references.” It is a very true and powerful statement. According to Society of Human Resource Management, 56 percent of organizations are currently using social media to recruit future employees. Is it fair? Is it legal? All those questions will be answered, but, as a job seeker, is this something you even care about?
Employers (especially larger companies) must be extremely careful, due to legal concerns, about how they use social media to screen a candidate. It is the reason that most internal human resource departments don’t even allow it. However, in smaller companies – where you send your resume directly to the hiring authority, staffing firms and headhunters – odds go up that when they see a match from your resume, their next step will be to look you up on LinkedIn followed by Facebook then Twitter.
The good news is that for 95 percent of you, this is a great thing. Trust me, if you are qualified for the job, the only reason (and the only time) the employer is looking you up is to gain more knowledge about you to support your resume. Think about it. You probably spent hours putting together a resume that shows exactly what you do. Each word is specifically chosen. If an employer can then look at your LinkedIn and see examples of your work or your Facebook to see you socially, wouldn’t those things together make you stand out?
Also consider that any employer checking your social media typically has participated in social media themselves. They get it. Believe me, they want to hire you and fill the job. If you are concerned about employers poking around, lock down all your social media during the job search. However, for most of you, your social media will actually help you get the job.
In my experience, these are the top three things employers are looking for in your social profiles:
1. Make sure your resume and LinkedIn profiles match. Over 50 percent of job seekers don’t, and if you don’t, you will throw a huge curveball in your chances of getting hired. Most of the time it is because of dates of employment and missing employment on the resume or LinkedIn.
2. Looking to see normal. In the ten-second scan of your social media profile, they just want to make sure they don’t see anything that would concern them. If you tweet or post on Facebook about how you hate your current company (which many people do), this will not get you the interview.
3. Communication and professionalism. They want to see how you communicate with friends and peers. They know your resume is a prepared document but your LinkedIn posts and Facebook reactions are usually your own thoughts.
The resume is dead. The web is your resume and social media are your references.