Using Social Media in Jobhunting


Social media and networking sites can be used for careers research, job seeking and to market yourself to future employers as well as sorting out your social life – something that many students and graduates are surprisingly unaware of.  In a recent survey by SHL, less than 40% of graduates said they would consider marketing themselves to recruiters online. This means that the other 60% are missing the opportunity to present themselves in a positive light and use social media to help them get a job

Chart of Social Media in Job hunting

There are different sites for professional networking and for social networking – your Facebook profile may not present you to employers in the best possible light!

According to a study by 55% of employers who researched job applicants on social media claim they found something that caused them not to hire the applicant. The research found that 48% of recruiters currently use social networking sites to glean information on potential job candidates. 50% of recruiters used search engines to research potential job candidates. 45% of recruiters said drink and drug habits had put candidates in a negative light while 39% had rejected applicants who said bad things about previous employers and employees. 38% were put off by inappropriate photographs, but a third of those surveyed claimed they had also found content that made them more likely to hire job seekers. You need to take control of your web presence by limiting who can post to your profile and monitor posts about you.

A survey by Konetic found that 80% of HR teams use social media for sourcing new staff but 78% think that using social media for this is a big challenge as there are few mobile-friendly careers websites available: only 35% have a mobile-friendly website devoted to jobs and careers. Paul Finch, managing director of Konetic says: “Increasingly digital natives expect to be contacted by text and via social media and to browse for jobs on their mobiles”.

One major retailer looks at applicants’ Facebook and Twitter accounts and one person who was going to be successful following his assessment centre was rejected because he commented on Twitter afterwards that, ‘He wasn’t sure if he wanted the bloody job after all’.

Having said that, you can’t ignore Facebook for job-seeking - many employers do use it to promote their brand and their graduate programmes and allow potential candidates to network with graduates and recruitment staff. This information can help you to pick up useful tips on the company and the recruitment process and to come over as a well-informed candidate so it is well worth making use of.

Stories of recruiters checking out potential candidates via Facebook are largely exaggerated (most recruiters don’t have the time or staff to do this!) but it does happen, so set your privacy settings to the highest possible level and make sure your profile picture is one that you would be happy for a future employer to see!

Also try Googling your name both on the web and for images to make sure that nothing inappropriate shows up.

survey by Right Management found 94% of job candidates reported LinkedIn was their top social media site for job hunting, while two thirds of hiring managers chose LinkedIn as their top social media site for sourcing candidates.

In addition to LinkedIn, job searchers were more likely to use Google+ than Twitter, although Generation X candidates ranked Facebook, Google+ and Twitter about evenly.

“The increased use of technology, especially advances in social media related technologies, has been relentless,” said Monika Morrow at Right Management. “Social media, for one thing, helps individuals reach out and build their job search network. They can find people in targeted companies and connect with those who can help.”


LinkedIn is a business-oriented social networking site with over 90 million members worldwide. It provides opportunities to network online with professionals from all kinds of different employment sectors: there are also groups for different regions and institutions such as universities (including one for Kent alumni). Google links quickly to LinkedIn and tends to list them towards the top of search results, making a LinkedIn page a valuable tool. Make sure that your LinkedIn page sells you effectively - it should be a bit like an on-line CV, and also allows you to mention your career goals. It's a good idea to put your photo in your profile as apparently, people are more likely to connect to you if you have one.


Viadeo is a French-based site similar to LinkedIn. Although it has fewer users overall it claims to be the number one site in Europe for business networking and is expanding worldwide.


YouTube is not just about funny animals and music videos – it is the second-largest search engine and a great way to find advice from graduate recruiters on interviews or get insights into what it is like working at different companies.
If you feel that you come over better in person than on an application form, here is your chance to prove it: tell people about yourself and what you can offer on a “video CV” like this one


Twitter As with Facebook, graduate recruiters make extensive use of Twitter, giving out information about their organisations as well as actually posting job vacancies. You don’t have to tweet yourself – you can just follow companies or topics and retweet. You can use your own tweets to show your interest in a particular career: tweet about current affairs in the sector you wish to work in. Your Twitter bio should include your degree and some relevant skills.
How Twitter can help you land a graduate job from Reading University Students Union
Twitter job hustle


In the creative industries Instagram feeds are to some extent now replacing CVs and portfolios. Successful Instagram portfolios may also include information on your activities outside work as well as traditional material. Creative directors now often use Instagram to vet candidates as they can get a taste of your personality as well as your artistic skills.

Other Links


These are another good way to get an insight into an organisation – major graduate recruiters often encourage their graduate trainees, interns and placement students to blog about their experiences – although you need to be aware that these blogs will usually have been vetted by the corporate communications department to make sure that the blogger is presenting the right image!

“Unofficial” blogs can give an even more valuable insight, although they may need to be taken with a pinch of salt.

To find useful blogs just Google the name of the company or career area you are interested in, e.g. IBM+blog or barrister+blog.

Writing your own blog can demonstrate your writing skills, your knowledge of a particular area and your enthusiasm to a wide audience. If you can establish yourself as an online authority in your field, you'll be a long way ahead of other online candidates. Your blog should demonstrate your forward thinking, your passion for the industry and an insight into how you work.

Avoid Buzzwords!

Buzzwords make you sound like just another faceless candidate, a plastic applicant with no real personality who just cuts and pstes from other people's CVs. According to a survey by LinkedIn here are the top 10 overused buzzwords used in LinkedIn Profiles in the USA in 2010

In other countries extensive experience was most used in the USA, Canada, Australia, dynamic was most common in Brazil, India, Spain, motivated was the most common one in the UK whereas in France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, innovative ruled the roost.

Personal Branding

A well developed online presence through blogging, social media and networking can demonstrate that you have the desired skills and knowledge without necessarily the hands on experience.

By developing their personal brand, students can independently:

See the excellent personal branding resources at

Web sites to help you build your online personal brand:


Further information

twitterTwitter Get the very latest vacancies and job-hunting updates from Twitter - follow us @unikentemploy and @ukmemploy

facebookFacebook The University of Kent Careers and Employability Service is also on Facebook and

Decide to network
Use every letter you write
Every conversation you have
Every meeting you attend
To express your fundamental beliefs and dreams
Affirm to others the vision of the world you want
Network through thought
Network through action
Network through love
Network through spirit
You are the center of a network
You are the center of the world
You are a free, immensely powerful source
of life and goodness
Affirm it
Spread it
Radiate it
Think day and night about it
And you will see a miracle happen
the greatness of your own life.
In a world of big powers, media and monopolies
But of [seven] billion individuals
Networking is the new freedom
the new democracy
a new form of happiness

Robert Muller, Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations


Last fully updated in 2013