Social media platforms have become a crucial part of the modern job search, by allowing individuals to identify job opportunities and network online. Photo: Pixabay

DURBAN – LinkedIn may be the first social network most people think of when it comes to a job search, however, branding through social media can take place on any platform, from Instagram to Twitter. 

Lyndy van den Barselaar, managing director at ManpowerGroup South Africa, explains that social media platforms have become a crucial part of the modern job search, by allowing individuals to establish their personal brand, identify job opportunities and network online. 

"As competitiveness in the job market continues to grow, social media is becoming an increasingly necessary part of the job search and recruitment process," said van den Barselaar. 

According to the IOA social media report 2017, over 60 percent of employers screen candidates using social media platforms to determine if the job seeker presents themselves in a professional manner and whether the candidate will fit in well with the company culture, whilst 45 percent of employers want to learn more about the candidates’ qualifications. 

For job seekers, there are certain ways to maximise positive exposure through strategically using social media channels.

Complete a social media audit 

Scan the landscape of your social media footprint and take note of all the places where you show up. Are your social media profiles public or private? Did you stop updating your blog years ago? Do you post content that showcases your talents or interests? These are questions you should have in mind when you start combing through your online presence. 

Consider what your social media profiles say about you to someone who has never met you and if you are satisfied with the image it portrays.

Optimise your profiles 

This means taking action; for instance, you may want to make certain profiles private, create secondary accounts or start purposefully sharing content that matches the job you are seeking. 

Reach out to others – when relevant 

A personal message to someone who can help make a connection or introduction can be welcome – as long as it’s relevant and professional, and doesn’t come across as spam. Do your research prior to firing off a direct message to show that you’re interested in talking to this person specifically, rather than spamming your network.

Grow professionally using social media

Whether a job search is active or passive, social media can always be leveraged to grow, learn and make on-going connections. Instead of wasting time on social media, use it to your professional advantage.

"Social media use not only shows that an individual is up-to-date with the latest technology, but it also provides candidates with a way to convey their personalities and personal brands beyond a CV," said van den Barselaar.