Why Candidates should be interested in Social Media

It's about time you learn how to leverage social media in your job search. Pin this post and click through to read what it means for you in day and age of job search.

Why you should be interested in Social Media as a job seeker

The reason I’m so interested in social media is simple: I love what it allows us to become today in the bigger perspective of life. And I love what it means for us as job seekers. I believe it levels the playing fields and allows both companies and job seekers a greater sense of respect for each other. It challenges both parties and encourages both sides to grow and to ‘be better!’ This is why you should be interested in Social Media as a job seeker.

It isn’t a question of “Should I be on social media or not?”, now the relevant question is “How do I present myself on the internet well?“, and “What is my purpose for being on social media?”. I believe that understanding how marketing works and has evolved, and why the internet and social media became to be, is an important part of answering this question – because it lends perspective as to why you should be active on the net, and how you can leverage it to work to your advantage in your life – this is Why you should be interested in Social Media as a job seeker. It occurred to me that not many people actually know the story of the World Wide Web, but they use it every day, and if they took the time to think about it, they may be able to use it to it’s full potential in their lives, because what it actually means is HUGE! Ok, so a brief history lesson –  you can do some homework and read up a little more if you’re genuinely interested –  so I can explain what I mean by my opening paragraph.

In a nutshell, the internet evolved out of government research commissioned back in the 1960’s, and computers arrived later in the 1980’s. It was only until Tim Burners Lee came along that we, as the public, were able to access the internet as we know it today, because he was the one who came up with the World Wide Web concept with his dream to access text based info off of webpages, and so he is was dubbed the Inventor of the internet (Did you know that?). However, the greatest thing he ever did was to make it free with no royalties and no patents etc. from 1994 onwards. I love this because right from the beginning, the spirit of the internet was that of giving something to us for free. And that something was information which we know from experience to be a very powerful force in our lives.

Marketing is the process of communicating the value of a product or service to potential customers to sell to those customers and is everything a company does to acquire customers and maintain relationships with them. The ultimate goal is to match products or services with the people who need and want them.

Traditional marketing had the age old issue of accountability – it was a case of companies spending huge amounts of money and effort to achieve their goals which gave those that had the money the advantage over the others. It was always seen that companies were in charge and controlled their brand perception, which meant that companies got a sense of who we were, but we were only shown what they wanted to know about us.

Then came the internet,  E-commerce and of course the break-through online payment platform called PayPal, and most importantly social media platforms such as Facebook etc. I say most importantly because I believe success is based on relationships and social media gives us the opportunity to build and nurture relationships. Today a whopping 73% (or there about) of people access the internet on their mobile devices all the time. This means that today we have an always-on, personal and social, truly accountable online life which overflows into our in-person life as well. The internet experience has allowed marketing to evolve from its traditional sense to marketing in a digital world, and this change means that marketers are able to track and analyse their expenditure etc. But what it also means for us is that the balance of power has shifted to us as the consumer. For example, bad service is not tolerated – think ‘United Airlines broke my guitar’ (If you haven’t watched the video have a look here). Before the internet empowered us as it does today, we could only reach maybe 100 people to let them know of the bad service we received from a company. Today, one person can tell over a million people!

Now, we’ve been talking about marketing and the internet (and social media) here but take this information and put it into perspective as to what it means for you as a person living in this dual world of in-person relationships and online relationships. Can you see why you should be interested in Social Media as a job seeker? Can you see that now it’s all about experiences, giving, and adding value… we’re encouraged to use what we’ve got access to and to be disrupters; to be unique; to share information and ultimately to be creators. What a fantastic time we’re living in!

If we draw parallels between ourselves and companies out there in the marketing world we’ll see how just as the internet has allowed companies to track their expenditure of time, money, and effort, now we can too when it comes to the job search journey: This is why you should be interested in Social Media as a job seeker. Just as it’s that much cheaper for companies to market themselves, so too is it affordable and easier for us to market ourselves online as applicants and to reach out to companies directly. The ultimate goal of companies matching products or services with the people who need and want them can be compared to recruitment agencies, except that now we can match ourselves directly because we have access to information about companies. It’s no longer a case of companies controlling what we know about them – now we can access information about their inner culture and ethics. Life has become more transparent and there is a hunger for truth. There is a bigger sense of accountability thanks to social media. In this ultra competitive, always on, noisy online space we have to win trust: and we do this by building and nurturing relationships, and letting our audience know that we can add value and that you are an authority on the expertise and value you’re offering to them (You can do this by blogging, sharing information to help others and by building relationships online). They have to trust you and to do this you have to let them in, and this forces us to be more involved with people in our life and to nurture relationships. This works both ways – for us, and for the companies we want to work with out there.

Our headhunting company in the IT space, CareerJunctionLtd, exists because we saw there was a gap between hiring managers and talent in the market. Even though there are recruiters out there, we found that companies aren’t always able to get in touch with candidates who are the best recruits for the position. And candidates don’t know how to find opportunities because they appear to be hidden. This is why Jobzdojo exists today. It’s the philanthropic arm of CareerJunctionLtd, whereby we teach the methods we use in our business to people – how to understand and to use the power given to them by the internet and relationships they are able to form to find hidden opportunities that otherwise aren’t advertised. We want you to understand that you have the power now – not only the company. Interviews, for example, are not for the company to decide if they want you – they are also for you to see if you want the company as part of your life. (If you’re interested in interviewing questions read this blog post).

Remember the spirit of the internet: that of giving first and for free, and of social media: that of networking, building and nurturing relationships. Understand the evolution of marketing and use those practices to market yourself to those companies looking for a person with your same culture, and value you can add to their business. Remember why you should be interested in Social Media as a job seeker. Remember that with knowledge comes transparency, and power. Take charge of your job search journey and don’t leave it in someone else’s hands. (You may enjoy this post on ‘How to get yourself a job using the internet’). Be proactive in this competitive world we live in. “Get off your horse, and drink your milk” as John Wayne would say!

Lauren Yeoman

Auckland