You’ve heard it a million times: keep your social media presence professional. Facebook, Twitter and, of course, LinkedIn are now riddled with employers and recruiters searching and researching potential hires.
But Instagram is a safe zone, right? You can post there freely and a potential employer would never see it.
The 2018 Recruiter Nation survey from Jobvite found 25 percent of recruiters are investing in Instagram recruiting efforts. An even greater number of millennial recruiters (35 percent) see the value of the social media site as a talent source.
This trend is actually a good thing for young professionals. It’s another chance to show recruiters and employers just how awesome you are. When you approach Instagram like a trained job seeker, you increase the chances of getting noticed for your dream job.
Social media has changed how we view privacy. Keeping your Instagram private, for example, makes you less accessible for instagram recruiting. However, they have to follow you to see your posts and this allows you to screen who has access to your account.
Keep in mind, your posts won’t show up in hashtag searches (more on that in a bit) if your account is private. All recruiters will see is your profile picture, name, bio, and website.
It’s essential these bits of information show who you are in a professional and genuine way. If you have an online portfolio, include the link as your website and briefly describe the roles or industry you’re interested in.
Remember, the moment you accept the follow request of a recruiter or employer, they will be able to see everything. Keep your content free from anything that involves partying, profanity, or extreme political ranting.
Most recruiters and employers already use hashtags to find job seekers. For example, #nowhiring and #wearehiring have hundreds of thousands of posts, and #hiring has almost a million. Sifting through these posts helps you find potential job leads and companies to look into.
Research the most popular hashtags for your industry. Check the posts of specific companies you’re interested in and see what hashtags they use. There’s not always consistency in hashtags, so while you’re searching #marketing, your top company could be using #digitalmarketing.
Use hashtags related to your professional goals in a deliberate and relevant way. When you post a photo of yourself at a work event or comment on a co-worker’s post, incorporate hashtags to increase the chances of being seen by great companies.
Kyra Mancine, a social media specialist at CRH Americas warns against using hashtags with negative connotations, even if it’s in good fun. “Some people use hashtags in a joking way. Don’t complain about work, dreading going into work or even the countdown to Friday. All of this can look bad.”
You need to do more than follow your top companies to get on their radar. Comment on their posts with thoughtful responses that showcase your professional knowledge. Find employees in roles similar to what you’re looking for and make them part of your network.
For example, if you’re looking to be a sales rep, follow someone on your dream team who shares similar interests. Build a relationship by engaging on their posts or send them a direct message to ask if they’d be willing to meet for an informational interview.
This will give you a connection within the organization as well as an inside look at the company. They may even clue you in before an open role is posted online. In fact, it doesn’t hurt to ask about their employee referral program and let them know you are interested in applying.
Keep in mind instagram recruiting means employers are looking at your Instagram posts and engagements to see how you communicate. In fact, Rachel Ford, president and co-founder of Ford Media Lab says, “Hiring managers look for both hard and soft skills, and it’s widely accepted that soft skills are the most difficult to teach.” She explains, “Social media can provide clues to these ‘unteachable’ skills, like tone of voice, organization, and attention to detail.”
Of course, you could literally post an image of your resume on Instagram. But that doesn’t align with the spirit of the platform. Instead, you need to build a list of your qualifications with photos and videos.
Start by following your previous employers, companies, and co-workers on Instagram. Every time they like or share one of your professional posts, it’s an endorsement of your skills and experience.
Also, be sure to follow and engage with community or charity profiles you’re involved in. Employers want to know what you truly care about. Dana Case, the director of operations at MyCorporation says this is exactly what her company is looking for when they conduct social media audits.
“What we look for are snapshots of interests that applicants have,” she explains. “We like to see candidates that have fulfilling lives, which can be anything from traveling to new places, spending time with family and friends, attending school, exercising, or pursuing other fun hobbies they are passionate about.”
If your interests and beliefs align with the company mission and values, recruiters will be more likely to reach out. Make instagram recruiting work for you by showcasing how you fit within their organization.