If you’re making the challenging transition from the military to the civilian jobs market, you’ll want to use every tool at your disposal. Social media has changed the way many of us socialise and communicate but it has also come to play a major role in the job hunting process.
LinkedIn is an obvious first choice as it is a social network with a professional slant. The site itself claims to have almost 400 million members in more than 200 countries and territories and it can be a great place to network. Start with your existing contacts (both military and civilian) but don’t be afraid to reach out to appropriate people in your chosen field. Job openings may be posted directly on the site but it’s also useful for building professional relationships. Join groups, engage in conversations and extend your contact network.
Some companies have also taken to advertising openings directly on their Twitter or Facebook pages. Make sure you’re following companies and individuals you’re interested in but, again, use social networks as a place to interact and forge potential business relationships.
The flipside to using social media proactively to make contacts and search for opportunities is that potential employers will also be looking at your online footprint. The ethics of running what amounts to an informal background check on applicants are slightly dubious but it most certainly happens and social media profiles that paint the wrong picture could see you ruling yourself out of a job before you even get to the interview process.
According to one study 52% of hirers used social media as part of the recruitment process and 48% said they had found content that led them not to hire a candidate. These included inappropriate photographs, information about a candidate drinking or using drugs and bad-mouthing former employers.