Opinion: Leveraging social media can be a key component in getting hired

It is necessary to tailor your online presence for a professional audience

It is easy to think we only begin to market ourselves to employers after turning in a job application or once we are sat down in an interview, but the reality is that we affect our professional presence on the internet every day.

A survey by CareerBuilder in 2017 found that 70 percent of employers screened job candidates beforehand using social media, and 44 percent claimed to have found content on candidates’ profiles that directly helped them get hired.

These statistics should not be shocking. In today’s culture, our posts online are so closely tied to ourselves that by looking into them, employers can learn more about how we interact with others, how we view the world and much more.

“Social media allows employers to get a more personal view of their job candidates,” said Perri Collins, a social media specialist for W.P. Carey Marketing and Communications. “They can learn valuable information during the hiring process just by seeing some of the things you post. I think it’s essential that anyone applying to a job makes sure their social media is used as a tool for success, rather than something that works against them.”

Some of the things employers look for in social media include whether a candidate is a good fit for the corporate culture, whether their supposed qualifications are reflected in their online content and whether they are creative.

When making posts and interacting with others, it is important to keep these things in mind and keep track of whether you are reflecting your best self through good communication skills, maturity and other desirable traits.

Of course, authenticity is still paramount. Rather than crafting a false but impressive online persona, ASU students who wish to impress employers should seek to emphasize their best qualities in a genuine manner. That way, employers will not see a disconnect between the person they interview and the one they find online.

Aside from more casual social media, LinkedIn is one of the best networks to build a professional presence. It allows members to connect with other professionals and showcase applicable skills and experience with boosted credibility from endorsements. 

Collins said students who aren't interested in using apps like Facebook, Twitter or Instagram should still strongly consider having a LinkedIn account.

“At the very minimum, I would advise students to have a LinkedIn profile.” Collins said. “Using LinkedIn is a great way to be searchable by employers, and if used well can really give you a good image.”

A polished headshot can go a long way in making a LinkedIn profile more inviting, and ASU frequently offers free photoshoots. In fact, all students at the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering are offered free professional portraits at select times during the school year.

Tailoring social media to a professional audience is a necessary part of being employable in today’s digital age. It is still possible to do this while being genuine, and doing so is sure to impress.

By taking the time to be sure one’s social media reflects qualities that employers look for, ASU students can expect to make a good impression before setting foot in an interview room.

Reach the columnist at jkbeneve@asu.edu or follow @JacobBenevento on Twitter.

Editor’s note: The opinions presented in this column are the author’s and do not imply any endorsement from The State Press or its editors.

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