Avoid Job Search Anxiety With Social Media

Jennifer Barker

Business Development Strategist

Social Media Is A Powerful Job Search Tool

Job searching is not for the weak. It takes an incredible amount of strength, determination and confidence to send in your resume, follow up with companies and go on interviews. Job search anxiety is a real thing, and an extended job search can take its toll even on strong-minded individuals. It’s kind of a Catch 22, really. If you’re applying and interviewing for jobs but not seeing progress, you’re going to feel more depressed. If you start feeling depressed, your confidence will waiver and affect your job search.

Fortunately, the tedious task of sending out resumes, waiting for return calls and going on interviews doesn’t have to be as stressful as it once was. No longer is the first interview the first meet and greet. The Internet has allowed businesses to connect with potential new hires through email, video chat and more. In fact, social media is a strong tool for both businesses looking to hire and those on the job hunt.

Studies have shown that as many as 92% of businesses are using social media for hiring, and three out of four hiring managers will check out a candidate’s social media profiles before giving them the green light. This may come as great news to you if you suffer from job search anxiety. You can bolster your profiles and create a squeaky clean image to jumpstart interaction. By the time you actually go in for an interview, you’ll already have those awkward first moments dealt with.

Let’s dig a little deeper into some of the ways that you can get yourself social media ready. While social media can offer a lot of benefits, it can also get you into trouble. Recruiters won’t hesitate to take you off their list if they see things they don’t like. In fact, one out of three do.

Polish Your Profiles

Your late-night party pics aren’t the only things that should be removed from your social media profiles. Also remove articles that are politically diverse or offensive, long rants while you stand in line at the grocery store and profanities regarding the morning traffic. You want your profiles to be neat and clean, and anything negative or controversial should be deleted. Check out SimpleWash, a great tool to help you clean up your Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Show Your Realness

You don’t need to have a profile on every social network to prove that you actually exist. In fact, now is a good time to deactivate those accounts that you set up and never used on certain social platforms. Instead, it’s better to have one or two accounts that are well-crafted and complete. We recommend having a LinkedIn account to show your professional side and a Facebook or Twitter account to give you some personality.

Use Your Moniker

Always use your real name in your profile - not a silly nickname your friends gave you during a weekend excursion to Atlantic City. When a job recruiter searches for you, they should be able to find your profiles under your full name. If your name is common, or you go by a nickname, choose one name and stick to it.

Upload a Yearbook-Worthy Photo

It’s likely that your profile pic could use a new photo (again - ditch the ones that could be viewed as offensive). You should also swap out any cutesy profile pics of your cats or kids with a crisp, updated photograph of yourself. Some people are afraid to be judged for their looks, but hiding what you look like can be viewed negatively by recruiters. Instead, get the first interaction over with by posting a professional picture of yourself.

Be a Brand

You are more than just a candidate for hire. You are a person with strong ideas and innovation. And you may be the person to propel a company into success. You are a brand, and you should want people to know who you are, what you stand for and how you intend to make a difference. Make sure your social media profiles are consistent and link to more information about yourself whether it’s a website, a project you’re working on or additional accounts.

Give Direction

With so many applicants, recruiters have no choice but to do a little digging before they bring people in for an interview. So don’t make it hard for them to find you. If you clean up your profiles, you have nothing to hide. In fact, you can bring your social media presence together in a  website or landing page. Be sure to list your accounts on your cover letter, business card or email signature for easy access. It’s also an invitation saying, “Hey! Here’s where you can learn a bit more about me!”

A Few Don’ts to be Aware Of

Now that we’ve given you some helpful tips on things to do when using social media as a job search tool, let’s talk about a few things you shouldn’t do. First off, keep your job search under wraps. Sure, people may notice that your social media profiles are getting more real and less mindless, but there could be many reasons for this. Don’t assume people know that you’re on the job search and get comfortable sharing articles or liking blogs about the topic. Be discreet; you may need your current job longer than you’d like.

Second, don’t use social media as a communication tool for the companies you’ve sent in applications to. Some things never get old, and personal interaction is one of them. Social media should not replace one-on-one interaction, so if you want to follow up on your resume or interview, do so the good old fashioned way: by picking up the phone. Otherwise, you run the risk of looking lazy and under-confident.

Conclusion

Each social network is different, so use your best judgement when polishing your profiles. For instance, it’s okay to connect with people that you’re interested in working with on LinkedIn, but not so much on Facebook. As you embark on a job search, it’s crucial that you pay close attention to your social media profiles at all times. All it takes is one friend to tag you in a post or one comment regarding a controversial topic, and you could be turning off recruiters.

Also, if and when you do land a new job, don’t get lazy with your profiles. While you probably won’t lose your job over a controversial or complain-heavy post, it could dampen your relationships with coworkers and hurt your ability to move forward in the company. Moral of the story: Treat your social media profiles with respect and they’ll respect you back.

About the Author: Jennifer Barker

Jen is the Business Development Strategist for SEMGeeks and the only team member born and raised north of the Jersey great divide, i.e. the Driscoll Bridge. Her BFA in multimedia design and extensive experience in digital marketing make her both an analytical and creative thinker. Jen has lived and worked for digital agencies in two major cities over the last 17 years but 3 years ago this “gypsy living, free bird” happily put her roots down at the Jersey Shore. The struggle to defend North Jersey to the rest of the team is an ongoing battle. #TaylorHam

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