Social Media, Student Athletes and the Job Search

December 17, 2013 Kevin DeShazo Social Media Education Tags: , , , 0 Comments

We’ve talked numerous times about the role social media will play in the job search for student-athletes. It’s something we talk about often during our sessions with student-athletes, because they have to be thinking long-term. Social Media isn’t a toy to play with, it’s a tool that significantly impact their present and future – if they know how to use it well.

Jobvite released the results of their 6th annual social recruiting survey, and the numbers can’t be ignored. Let’s look at a few key stats.

94% of companies use or plan to use social media for recruiting. That’s nearing universal adoption. If your student-athletes want to know what jobs are available, they need to be following and interacting with companies on their various social media outlets.

78% of companies have hired somebody through social media. We often hear the horror stories about how somebody lost their job because of a post on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, but you don’t usually hear the good news. A majority of companies have hired somebody through social media. For student-athletes, that requires a plan. How will you get noticed? How will you present yourself online in a way that impresses job recruiters and not your friends? For educators, this is why social media education is much more than just “don’t tweet this because you’ll get in trouble.” Sure they can stop using profanity and tweeting pictures of alcohol, but what are they doing to add value?

93% of recruiters will look at a candidate’s social media profiles. We all know somebody that has lost out on a job because of something they’ve put on social media. They just don’t know it, because the recruiter doesn’t inform them. At most, they get an email stating that the company, “is going a different direction” in their recruiting efforts. Then they continue to use social media the same way, never knowing what their poor decisions are costing them. And we have to get away from statements like, “social media cost them a job.” Social Media didn’t cost them anything – their own decisions cost them a job. Twitter didn’t make them send that profanity-laced tweet, and Instagram didn’t make them upload that racy picture.

The reality of the 93% stat is that they are looking at the profile to find a reason to throw the candidate’s resumé in the trash. They have an abundance of candidates with similar qualifications, so they are looking to cut that stack of resumés into a manageable amount. 42% of employers said they’ve reconsidered a qualified candidate based on what they found on their social media profiles. (we’ve seen this number as high as 68% in other surveys, but 42% is the Jobvite number). Find a post about drugs, sex or alcohol? Trash. A tweet bashing their professor, coach and teammates? Resumé deleted. What if your student-athletes understood this and had a plan? What if, when an employer found their Twitter profile, they found somebody displaying character, leadership, knowledge/interest in the industry? Suddenly they have a qualified candidate who has a strong, positive online reputation. That’s somebody you want to hire.

What kind of posts turn employers off?

social media job search

Some of these things don’t seem like that big of a deal. Profanity? People may cuss in the office and nobody seems offended. Alcohol? Didn’t the guys from marketing just go out for drinks last night? The difference is how these are perceived online, in such a public forum. The other issue is for student-athletes to understand that what is acceptable to a 21-year-old may be highly offensive to a 45-year-old hiring manager. We have to help them define inappropriate.

Grammar is a big one as well. How your student-athletes text back and forth to friends is not how they should tweet/post online. “OMG this Starbucks lady just totes called me Stacy instead of Tracy. Ur so cray lol” A character limit is not an excuse to throw the English language out the window. Another recent survey stated that jobs with “social media” in the job description are up 75% from last year. Not social media jobs, but jobs where understanding how to use social media is required in order to do the job well. At its core, social media is about communication. We have to prepare our student-athletes to effectively communicate in an increasingly digital world.

When it comes to the job search, your student-athletes need to be on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. That is where employers are posting jobs, learning about and hiring candidates. More than that, they need to have a plan, a strategy for how they use social media. 93% of student-athletes are using social media every day. Depending on which website you read, some predict that we’ll spend 3 total years of our lives looking at our phones. Whether that’s good or bad isn’t the point, it is what it is. If our student-athletes are spending time online, that time needs to be spent well. Adding value. Networking. Sharing their interests and passions. Telling their story. Building an positive reputation.

As educators, it’s on us to prepare them to tweet for the future.

Fieldhouse Media is a firm dedicated to helping student-athletes and coaches use social media in a positive, appropriate way through education and monitoring. To find out more about us or to join the over 65 schools utilizing our services for their athletic department, contact us today.

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