Sink or swim with social media

Did you know that 57 percent of employers are less likely to call a candidate for an interview if they can’t find information about them online?

That’s what a 2017 Harris Poll survey of employers found. The poll, conducted for CareerBuilder, also reported that 70 percent of employers use social media to screen candidates before hiring, and that 30 percent of employers have an employee dedicated to screening candidates on social media.

Gary Beaulieu, Butler University’s director of Internship and Career Services, recommends LinkedIn as the No. 1 social media tool for effective job and internship searches. Beaulieu suggests using it to showcase your professional strengths. Ask others to post recommendations highlighting how you have demonstrated your skills. Follow companies you’re interested in working for, seek advice from company employees, and connect with alumni in your field of interest and ask for their advice.

Employers report they use social media in several ways, Beaulieu says:

“Generally, employers tell us they look at LinkedIn first to see if the student is active in a professional manner. They look to see who the student is connected to and the groups the person belongs to and who recommendations are from.”

“On Facebook, employers spend time trying to identify the personality of the person—what groups does the person belong to and the type of person they are friends with. They also look at the dreaded pictures to see if there’s anything inappropriate.”

“Employers usually just look at Twitter to get a feeling for the type of posts and retweets of the person.”

Twitter and Facebook can both be great tools when used to your advantage. Follow companies of interest, post responses about great things they are doing, and showcase professionalism by retweeting great things about the company or responding to posts in a professional manner.

Beaulieu advises students to complete a full assessment of their “digital dirt.” “We tell students: if your parents or grandparents would think it is an inappropriate picture or comment, then remove it.”



Beaulieu offers these examples of how social media can help and hurt:

A freshman was seeking a summer internship with a New York City publishing company. He used LinkedIn to connect both with his school’s alumni and upper management at the publishing companies. He asked for advice, not an internship, and used that advice to nab six internship offers.

One student successfully made it through three rounds of interviews with a large insurance company. Then the potential employer found her Twitter link to a blog post in which she criticized employees from another company. The insurance company quickly cut off the interview process.