Episode #99 – All About Social Media Best Practices for Job Seekers and Candidates

Samantha: Welcome to “The Animal Health Employment Insider,” brought to you by The VET Recruiter. In this podcast, executive recruiter Stacy Pursell, founder and CEO of The VET Recruiter, provides insight and practical advice for both companies and job seekers in the Animal Health industry and Veterinary profession. The VET Recruiter’s mission is to help Animal Health and Veterinary employers hire top talent, while helping animal health and veterinary professionals attain career-enhancing opportunities that increase their quality of life.

In today’s podcast, we’ll be talking all about social media best practices for job seekers and candidates. Stacy, thank you for joining us.

Stacy: Hello, Samantha. I’m glad to be here.

Samantha: Stacy, we’ve talked about social media before on the podcast, haven’t we?

Stacy: We have. We talked about it on episode #39, which was titled “How to Navigate Social Media While Growing Your Career.” In that episode, we discussed how to use social media when you get a new job. Today, however, we’re going to take a more comprehensive approach to the subject.

Samantha: Where would you like to start?

Stacy: I’d like to start with LinkedIn. That’s the most logical place to start, since that’s the professional networking social media site. There’s a lot about LinkedIn that we could discuss, but the first thing I’d like to mention is that if you’re a professional in the Animal Health industry or Veterinary profession, then you must have a profile on LinkedIn. Believe it or not, there are some professionals who don’t have a LinkedIn profile. If you don’t have one, then I recommend that you create one immediately, and by immediately, I mean today.

The second thing I’d like to say about LinkedIn is that you must update your LinkedIn profile on a regular basis. I’ve known job seekers and candidates and who haven’t updated their profile in years. In fact I know some people who set up their LinkedIN profile years ago and haven’t touched it since.

The third thing is that your LinkedIn profile is not the same as your resume.

Samantha: We’ve talked about this before, haven’t we?

Stacy: We have, but it’s important to discuss it again. That’s because there are still candidates who say, “See my LinkedIn profile” when they’re asked for their resume. I know this because I ask some people to send their resume, and that’s what they say.

Professionals should treat their LinkedIn profile and their resume the same way. One is not more important than the other. You should strive to update them both at the same time, and you should update them frequently.

Samantha: How often should a person update their resume and LinkedIn profile?

Stacy: Ideally, you should update both once a quarter. If you can’t do that, then you should update it once every six months. If you wait any longer than that, you run the risk of forgetting something that could be important.

And there’s something else that candidates and job seekers should realize.

Samantha: What’s that?

Stacy: They should realize that when a hiring manager sees a resume, the first thing they do is look that candidate up on LinkedIn. They want to make sure that what is on the LinkedIn profile is the same thing that’s on the resume. As an example of this, I once had a candidate whose LinkedIn profile was so out of date that it had their previous job as their current job. So you can imagine the surprise of the hiring manager who checked the profile and then compared that profile to the candidate’s resume.

Samantha: What happened?

Stacy: The hiring manager was not impressed all with the candidate, and ultimately, that candidate was not seriously considered for the position. The hiring manager said the candidate must not be up to date with technology since he hadn’t kept his LinkedIn profile updated.

And while we’re on the subject, I want to say a word about updating resumes. While some professionals believe that their LinkedIn profile is more important than your resume, you can’t neglect your resume and focus solely on your LinkedIn profile. That is also a mistake.

No matter how much you think that resumes are out of date, hiring managers do not think they are. They still rely on them and they still look at them. Believe it or not, I once had a candidate who had not updated his resume in 30 years.

Samantha: Thirty years! That’s almost unbelievable.

Stacy: I know, but that actually happened. He wanted me to help him update his resume, but after 30 years, that’s nearly impossible. The fact of the matter is that professionals in the Animal Health and Veterinary profession must have a LinkedIn profile, they must not view their profile as a replacement for their resume, and they must keep both their resume and profile updated on a consistent basis.

Samantha: What’s next in our discussion regarding social media for job seekers and candidates?

Stacy: Next up is Facebook.

Samantha: Stacy, you said that the first thing that a hiring manager does when they receive the resume of a prospective candidate is that they look at the candidate’s LinkedIn profile. What about Facebook?

Stacy: Looking at the candidate’s Facebook information is the second thing they do. Remember, you don’t have to be friends with someone on Facebook to see certain information on their profile. A simple search will uncover some of that information. And it probably will not surprise you to know that people are more lax on Facebook than they are on LinkedIn.

Samantha: Right. People probably try to be on their best behavior when it comes to LinkedIn.

Stacy: Yes, that’s correct. It’s a different story with Facebook. And there are a number of different things that people simply should not do on Facebook if they want to protect their job search and their career.

First, you should not use profanity. I have a recent example of this. The hiring manager of one of my clients called me and said that he looked at a candidate’s Facebook profile and said that there was profanity and other things on the profile that made the hiring manager believe that the candidate doesn’t make the best decisions.

Samantha: What happened in that instance?

Stacy: Just like in our previous story, the hiring manager was not impressed at all with the candidate. Once again, that candidate was not seriously considered for the position.

Samantha: As we’ve discussed, it’s a candidates’ job market. Because of that, do you think that candidates care less about what it on their LinkedIn and Facebook profiles?

Stacy: The fact that it’s a candidates’ job market is definitely playing a role in how candidates view their social media accounts. In fact, I think it’s one of the reasons that candidates try to replace their resume with their LinkedIn profile. It’s also one of the reasons that they don’t monitor their social media accounts like they should.

Samantha: Is that because they think they don’t have to or they shouldn’t have to?

Stacy: That’s part of it. As we’ve discussed, candidates have the leverage in this current market. However, there is a limit to the leverage. In other words, you can’t just think that you can do whatever you want to do, especially on social media, and there won’t be any consequences. Professional success comes down to the number of options and opportunities that a person has. A person simply does not have a limitless number of options at their disposal, no matter how good the market is or how much leverage they have or they think they have.

Samantha: So these candidates are squandering what potentially could be great opportunities?

Stacy: That’s correct. And this a personal branding issue, as well. Social media represents the chance to brand yourself in the right way, but unfortunately, it also presents the chance to brand yourself in the wrong way. What some people don’t understand is that the Internet is not as private as they think. You can’t just post whatever you want on social media and then keep that part of your Internet presence separate. It doesn’t work that way.

And in addition to inappropriate language and images, professionals should stay away from political statements and posts, as well. Those can cause problems during a job search or during the hiring process. I have had numerous hiring managers over the years decide not to interview a candidate because of what they saw on social media. Reasons ranged from language to political posts to partying pictures to other inappropriate pictures and posts. Be careful what you post online.

Samantha: Stacy, we’ve talked about LinkedIn and Facebook. What about other social media outlet like Twitter and Instagram?

Stacy: I know we haven’t discussed them, but monitoring those accounts is critical, as well. In fact, I recently checked out the Twitter account of a candidate, and that account was filled with all sorts of offensive images and words. If a hiring manager were to see that profile, I’d have to say that they’d probably not consider that person as a viable candidate for the organization’s open position.

And Instagram can be just as dangerous. That’s a social media platform that’s been growing by leaps and bounds over the years. I know I said earlier in the episode that hiring managers check LinkedIn and Facebook after receiving the resume of a candidate. I believe that pretty soon, hiring managers will be checking all of the social media platforms before they hire a candidate. That’s why professionals need to be vigilant and monitor their accounts as closely as possible.

Samantha: I agree! It certainly seems that working with an Animal Health recruiter or Veterinary recruiter is the way to go. Stacy, thank you for joining us today and for sharing all of this great information with our listeners.

Stacy: Thank you, Samantha. I look forward to our next podcast!