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The Professional Power of Social Media

Carolyn Betts Fleming
July 18, 2016

Social media has become the place for self-expression. Between selfies, group pages, disappearing stories, and fleeting videos, the platforms of social media have integrated themselves into every area of life. This includes the professional world. From professional networking to company announcements, there is no better place than online. You can get real time updates on press releases, stocks, and major news all as little red numbers on an app icon.

Nowadays, you can even network professionally using only your phone. There are multiple apps that show individual’s job role profiles as though you’re on a dating site looking to find your perfect match. Other apps have streamlined work happy hours by removing the need for business cards entirely and connecting you immediately. So what does networking look like today? How do companies approach social media for candidates, employees, and themselves? Turns out, it all boils down to a “social score,” or an online grade which every job seeker has.


Connections matter during and after the job search. Before you land a position, connections on Facebook and LinkedIn are the easiest way to network. You can see where they’ve worked, how long they’ve been there, who they know, and reach out with just one app. Job seekers can search for the right positions to reach out to at companies instead of cold calling the front desk, and an internal referral can be done straight from an email or Inmail. You can even send over your personal and professional background with a text. The best part? It’s completely acceptable. From connections to companies, receiving a resume in the form of a LinkedIn profile or webpage is commonplace.

In the last decade, the number of employers screening candidates on social media increased 500% according to CareerBuilder. Having an online presence only opens more doors for you to create a personal relationship with a company and differentiate yourself from other applicants. Having a strong base of followers, especially within the industry a job seeker applying to, strengthens your social score.


So what do hiring managers look for online? Companies are judging the same followers you’re using to network. Followers have become the new book of business. Hiring managers look for connections they can tap into after you become an employee. An established online presence also allows hiring managers to see more aspects of your life and identify you as an individual rather than just a piece of paper. Hiring managers look for photos, comments, videos, and any other online footprint. If you have a great social score your information is either controlled or private. If you don’t have a good score, it’s likely you won’t make it past the first round of a hiring manager’s vetting process. Although a social score isn’t a specific number or grade, the idea represents how professional your online presence is.


Yet, beyond monitoring, companies are also hiring and firing solely on social media. Stories of employees bad-mouthing their company online and their boss liking their post before firing them spread like wildfires across every platform. Hiring managers have added a social media scan to their preliminary vetting process. Employing someone who posts or likes controversial issues can dramatically affect a company’s social standing. Even on personal profiles, people are realizing the need for “professionalism,” within free speech. Companies, like Social Score 360, are popping up all over trying to help job seekers, employees, and the like make sure they know what anyone can see.


After you’ve landed at your dream job, your social media presence continues to matter. With the new viral realm of expression, companies are playing catch-up with restrictions. Organizations are monitoring what you’re saying, liking, posting, and re-tweeting, and are limiting anything controversial. Some companies in the finance industry prohibit employees from “endorsing skills” on LinkedIn for compliance reasons. Other companies are going so far as to ask employees for their personal login information. They’re not only looking to capitalize on the free publicity a large following can bring, but they are also trying to minimize the damage a large following can cause.


The Internet has become the newest ranking method for companies. Juts like the stock exchange, public opinion of companies can change dramatically in a matter of hours. Just like Elon Musk and Samsung, a single tweet can dramatically affect a company’s profits. Beyond just rapid-fire information overload, news can reach anywhere in the world, and a single person’s opinion can become a mass movement in a matter of hours. Companies are taking the power of social media seriously and so should job seekers. Presenting yourself as a valuable online asset can make or break an application. Cultivating an active presence on key sites can be enough experience to land you your dream job. In sum, make sure your social score is up-to-date before you apply and your online presence matches the level of professionalism you bring to every interview and position.