Is your online presence an asset or a detriment to your future job search? Here's how you can create an effective online brand for yourself.
According to the Education Advisory Board, 94% of recruiters use or plan to use social media in their recruiting endeavors. This number has increased remarkably over the past six years. Employers are reporting a 49% improvement in the quality of their candidates when using social medial to find and hire qualified talents when compared to traditional recruiting channels. So what does this mean to today's hospitality students? It means that monitoring and leveraging social media will now make a future job search significantly easier. In many ways, your social media presence is your online brand, and you need to protect it.
Students need to realize that recruiters are using more than one platform to determine whether or not a candidate is a good hire. By far LinkedIn is the most popular, and as it has grown to 433 million members with two new members joining every second. Every single month, 106 million unique visitors head to LinkedIn, and many of those are recruiters. A polished and updated profile is essential to ensuring you get noticed by the right people.
Of course, students and job seekers know that their LinkedIn profile needs to be professional, but what about other social media platforms? Can Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and the like impact your job search? The answer is yes.
In a recent survey of recruiters from the Society for Human Resource Management, 96% of respondents indicated they use LinkedIn for recruiting, with 73% citing it as the most effective social media site. Facebook came in second with 66%, and Twitter came in third with 53%.
One of the challenges of using social media to create a professional online presence is the personal nature of social media. When people are posting anecdotes and pictures of their days and weekends, it's easy to lose sight of the career potential available.
Ian Millar, Certified Hospitality Technology Professional and teacher at EHL, recommends being careful about what is posted. In a recent interview, he was asked how hospitality students could keep their personalities alive on their online presence without scaring away employers. His response was: "For students, I would advise them to post content related to the career they wish to follow, and do not post stupid content. Keep it serious." He also warned against posting negative content, which includes anything "political, religious or just stupid. Ask the question, 'Could I upset someone?' when you are going to post. If so, don't do it."
This, however, does not mean that students cannot put some of their personality into their online profiles and presences. They just need to remember that anything they post can and will eventually come up in a job hunt.
Social media is used in job searches, but effective social media requires putting in some effort to build that network. Princeton recommends joining LinkedIn, then working to build a professional network over time by joining organizations, identifying thought leaders and participating by sharing content of your own. Consider connecting with other students, professors, family and friends as you work to build your network. Soon those professionals and recruiters you are looking to attract will start to notice your profile.
In addition, students need to realize that growing a professional network takes time. According to Mr. Millar, "Completing a profile takes time; you won't do this overnight. Make sure all sections are completed correctly. And of course, get those recommendations going. Four is minimum."
In the interview, Mr. Millar mentioned five mistakes to avoid when creating and managing social media, such as an unprofessional photo on your LinkedIn profile. Others include:
Posting inappropriate content
Posting without regards to spelling
Posting too much
Posting religious or political posts
Remember, your social media presence is an integral part of who you are, and employers will take notice. By leveraging it and positioning yourself as a thought leader through social media, you will open the door to greater career potential and greater notice by potential employers.