6 ways to stay ahead of the competition on social media

Globally, the roles of social media and networks are becoming increasingly significant due to the fact that the job search and the workplace itself are becoming more and more mobile. Adecco, a global staffing firm, recently surveyed over 31,000 job seekers and more than 4,100 employers from 26 different countries, on their use and opinions of social media for recruitment and job search practices.*

LinkedIn remains the most popular portal for professional purposes (for 61% of recruiters and 34% of job seekers surveyed). According to the analysed data, it is seen as being highly effective in matching job seekers with open positions. Facebook, on the other hand, is the most used network for all social activities, including personal branding. The probability of being contacted by a recruiter increases with the number of social networks job seekers use. The probability of contact increases by 30% when a candidate uses five main global platforms as opposed to just one. Job seekers are more “mobile” than recruiters, as 65% of job seekers frequently use a mobile device for online job searches. Only 41% of recruiters use mobile devices when searching for a candidate.

Each global region has its own trends regarding social media and networks used as job search strategies. For instance, studies have found that job seekers in the APAC region prefer corporate websites over job boards. In 2016, recruiters expect job boards to lose 5% of importance in favour of social media. European countries are more active in online job searching than Asia Pacific or the Americas. Job boards and online recruiting agencies are the preferred method of job search, followed by corporate websites. And in North and South Americas the use of internet job boards is on the decline. Social professional networks are growing as a source for vetting quality hires in these areas.

While LinkedIn and Facebook have become the most popular worldwide, many German-speaking countries in Europe use Xing, a popular professional network for job seekers. In China and other Asian countries, WeChat and Tencent QQ are commonly used networks. Be sure to check what network is the most popular in your country.

Since social media is such an important piece of the job search, it is important you do it right! Listed below are six guidelines for staying ahead of your competition on social media.

1. Clean your profile

Make sure any information that is seen publicly on your various profiles is clean, concise and error free. Be conscious of the language you use (no profanity), the pictures you post and the topics you post about. Take politics or social issues, for example; the best practice is to not post or ‘retweet’ on such issues.

2. Limit your account

As stated above, it is important to have more than one social media account to make you visible, however, this does not mean opening an account on every platform available. It is much better to have a well thought out, organised and up-to-date account on no more than five platforms. Any more than that may be difficult to manage and keep the information current. LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter are three significant platforms to have an account on. You should also check to see what social networks are most popular in your region and join those.

3. Use your real name

This sounds simple but it makes sense. Don’t create a catchy nickname for your profile name. If you go by a nickname on a consistent basis, such as a shortened version of your first name, it is acceptable to use that. Otherwise, stick to your full name so recruiters and hiring managers can easily find you.

4. Have a professional image

Make sure any pictures you post present you as a professional. It helps if you come across as happy, well dressed and relaxed in your photos, rather than inappropriately dressed and sullen, for instance. Your personal attitude comes across in photos and prospective employers will notice it!

5. Show your personal brand

You should have a consistent brand across your social platforms. Post information with intention…you want people to know who you are, what you do and where you’re going. Make sure you clearly state this information.

6. Link your accounts to another platform

Bring all of your accounts together in one place by posting them in your online project portfolio, personal webpage or blog, for instance. Since your profiles are now a great representation of who you are, add links to them on your business cards, email signature and cover letter. This way when an employer searches for you, they can easily see all your profiles.

*Adecco Work Trends Study 2015-16