Can Instagram Get You A Job? Using Social Media As A Job-Seeking Graduate

Social media has undoubtedly become an entrenched and defining part of modern life. While in its conception it may have been a tool of purely social interaction, social media has evolved into a vital aspect of our working lives too.

‘Millennials’ have grown up alongside social media. As we traded in our MSN chats for Facebook and our Bebo accounts for Instagram, we have seen the role and value of social media change. Today, our online profiles are seen as extensions of ourselves. That they are also the most visible part of ourselves is something that’s all too easy to forget.

With over 4.75 billion pieces of content being shared on Facebook daily, our posts and comments can seem insignificant. In fact, our digital footprints hold more bargaining power than we may know. Social media can be both a blessing and a curse when it comes to your career. From having your work scouted on Instagram to a past unfavourable post being dug up by employers, there are a number of highs and lows to our lives being laid out to be seen by all.

Here are some things to remember before you start the dreaded job hunt.


Employers like to snoop

Employers checking up on your social media may seem a bit Orwellian, but the reality is it’s an easy way for them to narrow down their pool of candidates.

A survey by CareerBuilder found that 37% of employers use social networks to screen their potential candidates. Similarly, 34% of hiring managers said that they chose not to hire someone because they found something negative online. Issues can range from the discovery of a drunken but nevertheless inappropriate post, to deciding that a profile doesn’t give off a vibe that would fit well with the company.

It’s worth remembering that snooping is not limited to the application process. If bosses discover you’ve been updating your Instagram when you should have been working, or been having a moan about “Barbara on desk x who smells” on Twitter, it rarely ends well for your job hunt – as various news stories will attest!


The invisible man

To make things even more ‘doublespeak’ or difficult for you – employers are equally put off by candidates who have little or no interaction on their social media profiles. CareerBuilder found that 57% of employers were turned off by a candidate having no social media presence.

Privatising your social media accounts suggests that you have either have something to hide or nothing to show. It can also be an indicator of not being ‘tech savvy’- an essential in the modern workplace.


Social media addict

It’s frightening to hear that the average person checks their phone 85 times a day. The malaise of our generation is an increasing addiction and dependence on our phones- and to social media.

All students and (some) professionals reading this will know how hard it is to not look at your phone for more than half an hour. It is an easy and welcome distraction to mindlessly scroll through Facebook when you should be working on something. It eats into our chance of being productive and finishing that article, essay, graph or job application.

While social media can be used to find you career or be found for one, don’t let your over usage of it hinder your chances of being productive, proactive, and getting the results you want- in or outside of the workplace.


Promote yourself

Every young creative has to harness social media to their advantage. This means promoting yourself. You can use social media platforms to get your work out there and open up the possibility of creating a network of like-minded creatives. You can expand your following and make a name for yourself among the social media elite! Who knows, you might break the internet. Well, maybe.

Artists, singers, make-up artists, writers, models and designers have all benefited from the intrinsic and swift networking that social media provides. Get your work out there and you could be cherry picked by an employer if your profile comes under their radar; 22.7% of art buyers now find new art on social media, and 89% of employers hired someone after finding them on LinkedIn.

Make an employer’s snooping sesh worthwhile by giving them something positive to find.


Staying ‘in the know’

This is an essential for any budding journalists or bloggers, as well as those keen on marketing or advertising. News spreads like wildfire – and the quickest way to get the latest scoop is via social media. Being aware of the latest news, trends, hashtags, and memes (yes, memes) can provide you with inspiration for projects that are relevant and significant.

So delete that photo from Marbella, stop liking BNP posts on Facebook in an ‘ironic’ way and get social media savvy. You’re a child of the technological revolution; don’t let this titan of modern working life hinder your career!


Inspiring Interns is an internship and graduate jobs agency.