How School Leavers Can Use Social Media to Land a Job

By Tony Restell

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School Leavers can't always benefit from the huge library of job search advice that can now be found on the internet. Much of this is aimed at the experienced hires market and assumes that the reader already has a professional work history to include on their LinkedIn profile!

So I was delighted to be involved in a recent film production aimed at helping school leavers to figure out how best to secure their first job. The result is an in-depth video for school careers services, to help their students find a job through an understanding of today's jobs market. Anyone wanting to obtain a copy for their school can find out more at

How School Leavers Can Use Social Media to Land a Job

I was asked to address How School Leavers Can Use Social Media to Land a Job, to complement other experts like Mike Fetters, Director at, talking about related issues such as maximising exposure in the jobs market.

I can't do justice to everything I covered here, but for those students who don't get to see the video I thought it'd be helpful to share some of the main messages - and things you should be doing. Hope the following is helpful to you as you move from student life to take the first steps in your career!

School Leavers: The 3 Key Ways Social Media Has Become Important In Your Job Search

1) There is a massive focus within companies on bringing down the amounts spent on recruitment. This means making fewer hires through newspaper adverts and recruitment agencies... and even job boards to a degree; and instead making hires by directly approaching candidates via social media.

  • So you must have a profile on the platforms where employers are most likely to be searching – ideally LinkedIn, Google+, Twitter and Facebook
  • Make sure your profiles are keyword rich so that you appear in relevant recruiter searches
  • Make sure your profiles are complete – so that you aren’t left out of search results
  • Game the recruiting process – what are recruiters looking for in their job adverts? Make sure your profiles are a mirror image of this

2) Social media allows you to proactively approach employers and give your CV a greater chance of being seen. Did you know it’s not at all uncommon for a recruiter to receive several hundred applications for a job opening advertised online? Getting through CV screening and invited to interview is therefore your number 1 challenge.

  • Social media allows you to explore friends of friends and have your CV put forward to recruiters with a recommendation from someone inside the company already
  • Social media also makes it possible for you to strike up conversations and build relationships with recruiters in your local area or who work at the companies you are going to target. If you’re already talking to recruiters via social media, you can greatly increase the odds of your CV at least being properly looked at when you apply to that company

3) Your social media profiles will be looked at and will influence the decision to interview and hire you.

  • Over 90% of employers say they now screen candidates by looking at their social media profiles.
  • Around a half of all employers do this when an application is first received – so it’s looked at alongside your CV in determining whether to even interview you! So it’s too late to clean things up after you’ve been invited to interview, by that stage you’ve already missed out on lots of opportunities.
  • Employers say they are both forced to reject candidates based on what they find on their profiles; and are persuaded to interview or employ people based on the behaviours they see on their social profiles.
  • Shutting all your accounts isn’t the answer either – most recruiters would view it as showing a lack of professionalism and commitment on the part of the jobseeker if they haven’t taken the time to present themselves favourably online.

So you can start to get a feel for just how important social networking and social media have become in the School Leavers' job search armoury. We then went on to look in depth at:

What School Leavers Should Be Doing On LinkedIn

What You Should Be Doing On Twitter?

What About Facebook?

Google+ as a Potential New Avenue

Concluding Remarks + Video Trailer!!

So the school leavers amongst you can see that social media is going to play an important role in your search for employment. Recruiters are searching for candidates to hire there; you can network and approach recruiters there yourself; plus you must always assume your profiles will be checked as part of the candidate assessment process. Make sure you have a professional social media presence – and use these variety of tools to proactively get on the radars of recruiters and have your CV jump to the top of the pile.

For anyone reading who runs a careers service for school leavers, here's the trailer for the complete video. Can strongly recommend it's something you get to help your students in the coming years. To find out about getting this for your students go to


Good luck to you all in finding your first job - and if you've any specific questions you'd like to ask about using social media sites as part of your job search, please feel free to ask via the comments below. Similarly, if you've other friends who'd benefit from this advice, please do share via the sharing buttons below. :-)


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