We all know that the go-to social media platform for recruiters is LinkedIn, right? Well, it’s 2020, so nothing can be assumed. In Jobvite’s new 2020 Recruiter Nation report, social media use in job searches is down overall. LinkedIn, in particular, was down 20% (from 92% to 72%). But, surprisingly, Instagram had a 20% surge, with 37% of recruiters now using it as part of the search for the perfect candidate.
“I would attribute that to an increased focus on brand, presence, and building out the employment brand,” says Kelly Lavin, senior vice president of talent at Jobvite, an HR software firm. Lavin says that recruiters want to get more of a personal sense of the employee, and Instagram content can give them an understanding of who the person is by the way they present themselves online and the content they share, she says.
If you’re searching for a job, it might be time to pay a little more attention to Instagram. Here are six simple ways the platform can help you find a job:
Look the part
If you’re going to use your Instagram account to land a job, you’re going to have to make it public, so first take stock of the content. Think about whether it reflects you as a professional, says Vicki Salemi, career expert at job search website Monster.com. It doesn’t need to be focused solely on your professional pursuits, but should show you as a multidimensional candidate, she says.
In some cases, it may make sense to set up a separate Instagram account, but that feels inauthentic, Lavin says. Most employers are trying to get a sense of the whole person, so having an account designed to limit what people see about you could backfire.
Showcase your skills
Instagram is a visual medium, so go ahead and post photos of your dog and the new recipe you mastered. But when you’re using it as part of your job search, it’s important to showcase your values and professional pursuits, skills, and experience, as well, Salemi says.
“For instance, if one year ago you completed running a 1,000-person conference and managed budgets and vendors, post a photo of you from last year saying something like, ‘Hard to believe this was one year ago! Lots of hard work but seeing the results of XYZ was sweet success,'” she says. Then, use industry buzzwords and hashtags from that conference.
Research the company
Jobvite’s research found that job-seekers prioritize diversity and inclusion initiatives, benefits, COVID-19 safety measures, and workplace flexibility. And job-seekers are getting glimpses into those areas by using Instagram, Salemi says. “You can easily tap into the inner workings of the company, such as seeing photos of their offices. Companies may also post about upcoming job opportunities on their feed,” she says. Examine the content of the photos and the messaging. Are you seeing images and posts about how they’re supporting remote workers or prioritizing employee experience? You can get important clues about the company—and do background research on the company for any upcoming interviews—through the company’s Instagram feed.
Once your profile is in shape, follow the companies that interest you and engage with them, says Corey Berkey, vice president of human resources at JazzHR, a human resources consulting firm. “This really creates a different way of establishing that relationship,” he says.
You can also take the opportunity to connect with key personnel and recruiters, Lavin adds. You don’t want to overdo it, but liking company and individual posts in an appropriate way and adding valuable insight or conversation can be a great way to get noticed, she says.
Up your hashtag game
Searching for hashtags like #nowhiring, #hiring, #jobs, and others can unearth various opportunities you might not have found otherwise. And, as you follow your “dream employers,” note the hashtags they’re using. When it makes sense, share their content and their hashtags, Salemi says.
Let the algorithm work for you
The more you follow certain types of companies, the more Instagram’s will help you, Salemi says. “The Instagram algorithm will make suggestions for you to follow similar companies. You can also follow associations and professional organizations within various industries, which is a great way to stay on top of new developments, trends, and more,” she says. If you can’t find a specific employer on Instagram, go to the company’s website to see if they have the social media handle on their home page and then simply click on it, she suggests.
“Treat Instagram as a visual résumé of your skills, experiences, strengths, and interests,” Salemi says. In fact, it’s also a good time to ensure that all of your social media channels are consistent in terms of your branding, messaging, professionalism, authenticity, and how you present yourself to the world, she says.