Social media statistics are booming worldwide. In Australia, over half of the population used Facebook and YouTube in January alone, with approximately 3 million active LinkedIn and Twitter users. These figures don’t go unnoticed by big and small businesses as social media continues to revolutionise the commercial sphere in a multitude of ways. For one thing, it is transforming the manner in which recruitment operates, particularly since the advent of mobile apps. Mobile recruitment is predicted to be the standard method by which job applications will be conducted in the not so distant future.
Although it has been suggested that most Australians are still looking for jobs on their desktop, an increasing number are using smartphones to conduct job searches, which allows for much greater convenience, scope and accessibility to the job market. People can search whenever they like, wherever they like, whether it is on the train, during lunch breaks, at the beach, or waiting for a flight. Mobile devices are radically opening up the market, not only for passive job seekers who are willing to explore better work opportunities, but also for anyone who doesn’t own a home computer.
At the click of a button, job seekers already have the ability to apply for positions straight from their mobiles. SEEK and CareerOne both offer a quick and easy way to conduct numerous job applications by creating a profile and uploading a resume, which could easily be stored on your smartphone. You can even sign up to receive notifications of specific job types in certain locations to keep you updated of any new positions on a daily basis.
However, many are beginning to see the value of bypassing these career ad sites altogether, and utilising a more direct approach with their own social media channels. It seems that the medium has truly become the message in the millennial age as more and more personal profiles are being transformed into inventive self-marketing platforms.
LinkedIn remains the dominant favourite for recruiters and job seekers, followed by Facebook, which makes setting the appropriate privacy level on every post you make even more crucial in 2015.
The power of social media to shape, influence and ultimately transform our opinions also means that thankfully it is no longer such an employer-centric market. The authority is shifting and the good news is that it’s falling into our hands. Employers are spending a lot more on marketing and social branding strategies not only to impress customers, but with a view to attracting more potential employees in the short and long term. Companies are looking at our profiles and getting to know our likes and dislikes, but they are also paying attention to what similar businesses are doing in the social sphere. Competition is really heating up over who is perceived as the best company to work for, because it has been proven that brand representation has a direct impact on the number of available candidates for hire. It is now up to the employer to build a relationship with us well in advance, before we even consider applying for a position.
So, what’s the bad news?
Now more than ever, we need to smarten up, expand, update and continuously refine our social media accounts if we want to stand out and get noticed by a recruiter. The days of handing out printed resumes are rapidly declining and professional networks, such as LinkedIn, are instrumental catalysts in bringing about a new era of recruitment that is optimised for both employer and employee. It is up to us to use this to our advantage while the ball is still in our court, because we are not just competing with everyone in our locality, but a global community of users in each industry.
Recruiters in turn have access to a global pool of potential candidates, which they can narrow down by targeting specific demographics and keywords in order to find the ideal applicant for each individual job role. The multinational software company, Red Hat, for instance, is the leading world provider of open source solutions and relies strictly on data analytics to recruit the top candidates in the field. According to L.J. Brock, the vice president of Global Talent and People Infrastructure at Red Hat, candidates are ranked by their proven expertise and market demand, which together formulates an overall skills rating out of 100. This drastically improves the process of talent acquisition by making it faster and easier to source high-quality candidates.
The traditional resume, albeit still widely used, could soon be discarded forever, much like the telephone replaced the telegraph in favour of a more personal, instantaneous mode of communication. Social media has taken the idea to a whole new level, in which the generic document is but a small piece of a much bigger and dynamic picture.
Pros of the social media resume vs the traditional resume
Visibility – If you have an active social media account, you are visible 24/7. Potential recruiters can find you at all times, so you have already expanded your reach far more than you would with a traditional resume, which involves manually sending out each copy yourself. This can often be a laborious, one-sided process that doesn’t end up bearing any fruit.
Convenience – You can apply for jobs at the tap of a button through LinkedIn, using your professional profile as a resume. There is also an option to upload a cover letter or a traditional resume if you prefer.
Faster application – The job application process is faster and easier, particularly if you are looking for a specific job role, in which case you can make numerous applications in just a few clicks on LinkedIn.
Improved job search – On Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn you can like or follow companies that you are interested in working for and keep up-to-date with news, current events and any new job openings to help improve your job search. LinkedIn will recommend suggestions for you based on the skills, experience and relevant keywords listed on your profile, along with any previous job searches that you have made. You can even fill in preferential criteria to narrow down your search, by selecting an experience level, location, company size and industry. Job recommendations can thus be based on your own special preferences and modified at any time. Better yet, with LinkedIn Premium you can opt to become a featured applicant and move straight to the top of lists commonly used by recruiters to source potential candidates.
Improved appearance and layout – Social media is highly visual, which means that you can present your resume with an appealing layout that can be arranged in a number of ways, depending on if you want to highlight your skills, experience, or both. Add appropriate images, videos, publications, projects and portfolio links to create many layers of intrigue.
Interactivity – Emailing a prospective employer with an attached resume usually requires a level of formality that isn’t always necessary. In social media, instant messaging personalises the communication right from the start. The ability to freely comment on each other’s work also helps build a mutually-supportive relationship that radically differs from the formulaic responses typically found in traditional expressions of interest. Moreover, you can always expand your network over time and establish valuable connections, which could open up new job opportunities that you wouldn’t have discovered otherwise.
Recommendations and endorsements – In a traditional resume, it is common practice to submit a couple of references with your application. Another wonderful thing about LinkedIn is that you can ask for recommendations and skills endorsements from current and previous employers, work colleagues and clients if they are one of your connections. These are publicly displayed on your profile at any time for a potential recruiter to see without ever having to request a reference.
Cons of the social media resume vs. the traditional resume
Visibility – The fact that your profile is publicly accessible means that you have to be extra vigilant about what you post and who you connect with. Think of the social media resume as a living organism. Unless you have your privacy levels adjusted correctly, your achievements, failures or embarrassing moments may be on record for everyone to see. Poor grammar, design and sloppy effort in making your resume shine won’t be well received either. To make a great first impression, you need to treat it as if it were your traditional resume and then some
Faster application – If you have applied for a range of different job roles, it would still be wise to tailor your profile for each role, which takes time.
Undeveloped mobile technology – Even if you have copies of your resume and a selection of cover letters saved on your smartphone, the potential of mobile technology has yet to be fully realised. Most websites haven’t been optimised for mobile applications.
However, as you can see the pros far outweigh the cons when it comes to the social media resume. Whether you like it or not, it’s already beginning to replace how we market ourselves to employers. In 2015 and beyond, it will likely become common practice. Every day that passes by is another one lost in the social sphere. Make sure you don’t waste a second longer missing out on any potential job opportunities and get your profile(s) up to scratch immediately. Use the LinkedIn resume checklist below and tick each section off as you go.
LinkedIn resume checklist:
1) Profile summary
The profile summary is the equivalent to an opening statement in a traditional resume. If an employer isn’t happy with this first section, you can forget about the rest, because they won’t even bother reading it. Recruiters have to skim through hundreds of applications, so if their interest isn’t sparked within a couple of seconds they will move onto the next potentially viable candidate. Consider the summary as one of the most important aspects of your entire profile. It provides an opportunity to describe your skills, experience and qualifications and demonstrate to the employer how suitable you are for the position. Keep it short and sweet and make sure it’s tailored to the required specifications within the job description.
2) Skills and endorsements
One of the best ways to market your skills on LinkedIn is to list your top skills in order of importance. Don’t list too many, just the ones that are relevant. The more connections you have, the more likely you will get endorsements, particularly if you reach out personally and just ask. Adding your skills also enables LinkedIn to suggest jobs that require similar aptitudes, thereby increasing the number of available job vacancies without having to search for them yourself.
3) Work experience
This is pretty self-explanatory. Name each company you worked for and the period of employment, followed by a brief description of each role. Highlight any skills that you gained on-the-job along with key achievements that contributed significant value, or improved profits for the organisation. Another handy thing about LinkedIn is that if your company is registered in the system, it will automatically find it for you and display the company logo. The logo adds a bit more professionalism to the overall visual layout. If the company is not widely known, then it is helpful to include a brief description of the company itself.
Make your qualifications stand out by going into a bit more detail here. Perhaps list what subjects you studied at university, discuss your thesis, add extra-curricular activities and societies, or anything useful that you learned or achieved throughout your course(s). Also, look at other types of qualifications that would be beneficial for your job search. With Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL), for instance, you might already qualify for one or more nationally recognised qualifications without any further study or additional training. All you have to do is provide evidence of your skills in action and any relevant work experience. Get Qualified Australia, the country’s award-winning Skills Recognition and RPL experts, offer more than 500 qualifications from 25 colleges and registered training organisations (RTOs).
5) Awards, certificates, patents, courses and test scores
It doesn’t matter where you learned it, if you have already been officially recognised for your achievements, don’t be shy. Flaunt your talents and gain public exposure for your skills whatever they may be.
6) Memberships and recommendations
Advertise your professional memberships and recommendations. If you aren’t a member of an organisation, there are thousands to choose from on LinkedIn. Have a browse and join some groups related to your industry, it’s a great way to expand your network, get tips, feedback and advice and meet new people.
7) Project, publication and portfolio links (if applicable)
A great way to add striking visual impact to your profile is to supply links to various work projects, published works, or portfolios. You can arrange them strategically in whatever order you like, by date, relevance, theme, etc.
8) Interests and volunteering
Include key interests that would be considered complementary to the job role, or at least wouldn’t cause any controversy with potential employers. Don’t forget to mention any volunteering experience, causes you have donated to, or charity organisations that you support.
9) Contact information
It’s good practice to provide an email address, just in case a recruiter prefers this form of communication. Feel free to link your Twitter account too if it is equally as impressive as your LinkedIn resume.
Arrange the sections in a strategic order. What do you want to advertise most to potential employers? Display the essentials in the top half of the list.