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Graduating Soon? Get your social media presence in order

It’s not a well-kept secret that more and more employers are using social media when hiring employees. A Harris Poll survey done for CareerBuilder, found that in 2015, 52 percent of employers use social media to hire potential candidates. That number is on the rise from 43 percent 2014, and 34 percent 2013. For those soon-to-be college grads entering the job market, having an attractive web presence for potential employers means more than just setting their Facebook profile to private (although it’s a good place to start.) The survey found that 35 percent of employers who screen candidates via social networks have requested to “be a friend” or follow candidates that have private accounts. It’s also not as simple as deleting your social networking profiles all together, as one third of employers surveyed said they are less likely to hire if they are unable find enough information about potential employees online. It’s becoming more complicated for job seekers to find the right balance between what employees want to see, how to keep them from seeing, and when there is simply not enough about them online.

Marisa Malone graduated from the University of Buffalo in May, and was hired by SelectOne—a Buffalo-based professional search firm— earlier this summer. Malone attributes her hiring to what SelectOne found on her social networking profile. “SelectOne actually found me on LinkedIn because of the specific word choices I used on my profile,” said Malone, who now works as a Marketing Specialist with the company.

While it’s important to remove any inappropriate photos or vulgar posts on platforms like Facebook or Twitter, Malone believes that fine-tuning a LinkedIn profile is equally important in making employers want to hire you. “LinkedIn is one of the most critical social media sites right now for students that are on the rise and graduating. Just to connect with organizations and professionals, but also to put themselves out there and create brand awareness and pitching themselves to the world,” said Malone. “In my case, SelectOne and I had a mutual connection on LinkedIn, so I actually appeared as a suggestion for who to connect with. Through that, they found that my profile matched perfectly with their search.”

It’s important that job seekers use LinkedIn as a way to expand on their experiences, and not have a profile that is simply a digital copy of their resume. “If you’re a sales representative, or whatever it may be, make numbers and critical data available so people can see them. Things like you served X amount of people, in ‘this’ amount of time, or you sold ‘this’ many boxes in ‘this’ amount of time instead of telling them: ‘I sold boxes,’” said Malone.

Once the Facebook has been set to private and the LinkedIn page is updated, Malone suggests you begin following companies that you might be seeking employment with. “You want to be following a prospective company’s Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google + accounts so they can see that you’re engaged, and that you’re willing to interact,” said Malone. “It shows that you’ve gone above and beyond to put yourself in their shoes and incorporate yourself to their lifestyle.”

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