Guest post by Katie Kelley
Gone are the days when a single paper resume could determine your future. In today’s world of online communications, social media has proven to be an effective tool for making friends, planning events, and yes–landing you your dream job. Recruiters are using social media platforms to break past the impersonal resume in search of a more meaningful connection.
While a polished resume is still essential, social media platforms provide the opportunity for candidates to put themselves center stage and engage the audience instantly. Outlets such as LinkedIn and Twitter showcase your experience, skill set, and personality in ways a resume falls short; they make you human. A shared connection or common interest can lead to a more enriching conversation during the screening and interviewing process, making you standout from other candidates. However, the ability to broadcast yourself to the masses can also hinder your chances of getting a job if not used appropriately.
Here are the top five things a Public Relations recruiter is looking for in your social media profiles:
1. Do you have the accounts?
If your resume boasts your “social media savvy skills, we’re expecting you to at least have the accounts, and profiles that show current activity. The communications industry today has an extensive online presence, so we’re looking for people who use relevant and trendy tools to promote themselves. Recruiters weigh each profile differently; we recommend focusing roughly 85% of your time on LinkedIn, 10% on Twitter, and 5% on Facebook.2. Does the profile make sense?
We expect your resume and LinkedIn profile to be consistent and up-to-date. This proves you are actively using the platform and maintaining an updated resume. Translation? You are serious about getting the job. The summary section on your LinkedIn profile serves as the perfect channel to explain any time gaps on your resume (i.e. took a year off to travel the world, volunteer, write a book).3. Is it organized
A cluster of words or a profile as dry as the desert makes the recruiter’s job easy; “next candidate please”. Provide enough information to convey your talent and experience, but don’t over complicate things. Well-organized profiles are not only easy on the eyes, but convey your ability to communicate clearly and effectively. After all, you are claiming to be a communications expert.4. Are you connected?
Your resume claims you follow “key industry leaders and PR trends”. Therefore, we expect you to be following relevant companies, reporters, and other industry leaders on Twitter. It also doesn’t hurt to follow the company where you’re applying for a job.5 . Is there personality?
Resumes are cut and dry. LinkedIn and Twitter are your chance to add personal flare when it comes to presentation and content. Have a personal blog? Including a link allows the recruiter to see the human behind the curtain. Whether it is business related or not, blogs and web pages illustrate a true passion for communications, public outreach, networking, and also exhibit your writing abilities and general thought process (just make sure it’s appropriate).
At the end of the day, use common sense and imagine what your online profile would convey to a stranger. Include a professional photo on all of your profiles. No, we are not searching for America’s Next Top Model cycle 17, but we do want to know that you can present yourself professionally and succeed when client facing (rule of thumb- would Grandma approve?). Tweeting about business and PR topics nonstop is not necessary, but a certain portion of tweets surrounding industry news and happenings shows your interest and enthusiasm for the field. Edit, edit, edit. Then edit again. Typos, spelling errors, or incorrect grammar on your profile means your resume just swan dove into a crowded pool of rejected candidates; it doesn’t show the recruiter you have a genuine drive or desire for success. Today’s job market is tougher than ever, and social media platforms can help or tarnish your chances of furthering your career. Take the time to build your profile, think things through, and promote your true self in your best light.
For further reading, check out this great article from Inc.com on how recruiters should use social media. Put yourself in the recruiter’s shoes, vamp up your profiles, and get hired! Social Media Recruiting
Katie Kelley is the Human Resources Assistant for Text 100, a global public relations firm. She graduated from San Diego State University with a degree in Social Sciences in May 2008, and currently resides in San Francisco, CA.