Jason Gowlett

My Top Tips for Using Social Media in Your Job Hunt

Posted by Jason Gowlett at 10:28 AM

Searching for a new job can be an exciting but also a challenging experience. Should you look for the same sort of role you've worked in before, or look to switch to something else? What is it you value most about a job, and what do you need to think about before applying for a particular role? At times, it can be bewildering. That's why recruitment can be so rewarding – it's a chance to play a part in one of the major transformations in peoples' lives. It's also why we work so hard at Direct Line Group Careers to think of new ways to ease the process as best we can, and ensure you have the information you need.

Now is a time of change and innovation in recruitment, and much of that comes down to digital. In talking about developments that have transformed the way jobs searches are conducted, it's hard to overstate the rise of digital in general, and social media in particular. As recruiters, social media has given us new ways of interacting with candidates, engaging with them beyond the interview setting. Social media offers candidates new positions, new opportunities to network, and new ways of advertising their skills to potential employers.
But what are the best ways of taking advantage of these opportunities?

One of the best things about working for Direct Line Group is the range of roles we recruit for. Direct Line Group is a varied business, so myself and my team come into contact with candidates with diverse skills and outlooks. Increasing numbers of them, however, are proof of the growing importance of social media, whether because they first heard about a vacancy on our Twitter feed, or were referred by a friend on LinkedIn.
Here are my main tips for using social media effectively in your job hunt:

  • Get the word out – Telling your social network that you're looking for a job is one of the most basic, but also most effective, ways to use social media in your job hunt. You're probably connected to people who work in your sector, and with many companies offering schemes to 'Refer a Friend', you may be one referral away from a real job opportunity.
  • Shape up your profiles – We've all heard stories about candidates whose Facebook page did them no favours in potential employers' eyes. But inappropriate material isn't the only thing to think about. Your LinkedIn profile is essentially another version of your CV, so aim for it to provide a full enough description of your employment history and key strengths for any potential employers who might look at it. A keyword rich profile will also make it easier for you to be found.
  • Do your research – this is one of those points that applies not just to social media but to job seeking in general. Recruiters stress it all the time, but there really are few things more important than being able to show an employer you have taken the time to understand their company. A company's social channels, as well as their main website, can give a sense of their aims and values.
  • Keep your ear to the ground – Make sure you're keeping up with any networks where relevant jobs are posted. For example, follow specialist recruiters, recruitment websites and companies' careers services on Twitter. Then you'll be more likely to find out about a possible role when it becomes available.
Social media can be a powerful tool, and combined with the necessary thought and persistence can be a significant aid in the job hunt. I'm looking forward to seeing the possibilities develop in the next few years. Good luck, and happy job hunting!

Jason Gowlett is Head of HR Operations at Direct Line Group, leading the development and delivery of the company’s end-to-end recruitment journey for a diverse range of roles from actuaries to spray painters! Jason started his career at RBS Group in 1986.  His first job was sorting cheques in the clearing department and since then he has held roles covering almost every part of RBS Group, before moving into recruitment 9 years ago.  Previous roles include setting up and leading a lending centre as well as leading call centre operations. 

Jason has also been involved in and led a number of change programmes before joining RBS Insurance (now Direct Line Group) in January 2011. Jason successfully led the separation of the resourcing functions from RBS Group, which included introducing new teams, technologies and processes.  Jason’s team recently won the 2013 ONREC award for Best Corporate Graduates Website and are final nominees at the 2013 Recruiter Awards for ‘Best in-House Recruiter’, ‘Best In-house Recruitment Team’, ‘Most Effective Employer Brand Development’ and ‘Graduate Recruitment Website’.

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