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    Social Media and Your Job Search

    Technology has impacted our daily lives in more ways than we can probably count.  One area is how we interact with each other online – social media.

    Social media is a complex topic.  While I’ll be writing future articles on it, today’s focus is on why it’s important for job hunters to be active on social media.

    Sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and others are the main sites employers will check to see what you’re posting.  What you post, what you comment on, what you like… those all help an employer get a sense for your personality, judgement and professionalism.

    My human resources contacts tell me horror stories about what their interviewees put online.  Get online, just do so in a positive way.

    Here’s why companies view you, especially on LinkedIn.  They’re conducting searches for people with certain key words on their profile.  Your hope is to be included in those search results – and – to have a strong enough profile for them to want to actually contact you.

    The other reason companies view you is to vet you.  You’ve applied for their opening and they’re considering whether to interview you.  Or, perhaps, they’ve interviewed you and trying to decide which candidate to hire.  Trust me, they’ll eventually do a google search on you and check out your online presence.

    They’re looking to see whether you’re using the technical tools (social media/LinkedIn, specifically) available to today’s job seeker.  In other words, they’re checking to see whether you’re technically savvy enough to be on social media.

    Beyond that, though, they’re looking for what’s online.  On LinkedIn, are you posting business-related content?  Is your profile filled out?  Do you have recommendations from others?  Does your online profile reasonably resemble your resume/application?  They want to know you’re a professional, so look at your LinkedIn page as a marketing tool.

    Facebook, Twitter, Instagram are a bit different in that these media aren’t thought of as “business first” platforms for job hunters.  Still, companies will often visit these sites to see more of you as a person… your hobbies, your passions, your judgement and overall views.

    Here’s where things get awkward.  Having a totally locked down Facebook page isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but if I view your page and it’s blank, I’m left to wonder what’s being hidden.  It may be harmless things, but I can’t tell.  I’d suggest you share some benign content.  It doesn’t have to be personal information and certainly doesn’t want to be anything political or otherwise controversial.  Maybe post some articles about a hobby you enjoy.  Give the employer something to see.

    My public Facebook has plenty of job search information.  I love random humor, puns, etc., so my “friends” get access to that, but there’s no need for employers to see it.  Not that it’s controversial – but I’d rather my public content align with my LinkedIn information – positioning me as an informed and engaged subject matter expert in my field.

    So yes, get on social media… to be found, vetted, and to be able to interact with others.  Just be aware of your purpose and potential audience.  Good luck!

    Randy Wooden
    Randy Wooden is Director of the Professional Center by Goodwill of Northwest NC. Randy launched The Professional Center by Goodwill of Northwest NC, the first program of its type for any Goodwill®, in 2012. His experiences in career coaching, executive recruiting, business ownership, as a hiring manager and as a job seeker have afforded him the opportunity to view the hiring process from all angles. He developed and provided on-air talent for the Internet’s first daily, live television program targeted toward job hunters. He shares job search tips through a bi-weekly newspaper column; regular appearances on television, radio; and frequent public speaking appearances. Contact information: rwooden@goodwillnwnc.org, (336) 464-0516
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