Social media has become a valuable tool in most industries these days, used by both jobseekers to track down opportunities, and recruiters to find great candidates. Recruitment experts in the aviation sector say that having a professional online profile is just as important today as attending job fairs, face-to-face networking, and sending out CVs to prospective companies.
Recruitment agencies have long been using social media to speed up communications with candidates but these social networking platforms can also be used to your advantage. Why wait for someone to find you when you can put yourself in front of them? By engaging with prospective employers and being on their radar (no pun intended!) you can be at the front of the queue when a job becomes available.
Many aviation employers are starting to realise that they need to look outside of the box to attract candidates to their positions, and having a social media presence is just part of that. In an industry plagued with pilot shortages, experts are suggesting to adopt a long term hiring strategy of building great brand awareness and employer branding.
Which one should I use?
A recent survey of recruiters and HR managers by Right Management found that the most useful social networking site was LinkedIn (used by 61% of recruiters questioned) but surprisingly Facebook was cited by over half (52 %) as the second most useful site. This shows that social media networks and data sources are increasingly being used for direct recruiting.
“It’s critical, particularly in this difficult job market, that job seekers develop the right skills and have access to the right opportunities to find employment. It’s never been more important to learn how to effectively network with peers – online and offline – as well as being able to create a great online profile with compelling messages that will get noticed by employers and recruiters. It’s not enough to have just to have a good CV today.”
The rise of browsing for jobs on your smartphone is likely to affect how social media tools become used in the future. More and more people are using their smartphones for job alerts and browsing. It’s very quick and convenient, so we expect mobile and social to work together more and more in the future.
Social media certainly won’t replace some of the tried and tested ways of being selected for a job, so don’t rule them out altogether, but Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn (amongst others) are worth considering. They help you stand out in a crowded job market, demonstrate you have embraced the latest technology, and show you are really interested in the aviation industry and the people you’re connecting with.
Tricks of the trade
If you’re looking to get started today, here are five areas of social media that you should be considering:
- Tidy up your Facebook page
It’s important to remember that employers don’t just use social media to advertise their companies and vacancies. A recent survey found that 70% of employers use social media to screen job applicants before hiring them – this figure is up from 60% in 2016 and 11% in 2006. Naturally, everything on Facebook will be a reflection of you as an individual and a future employee, so make sure you remove any questionable photos and delete any comments that might show you in a negative light – or at the very least, make sure your profile isn’t public.
To ensure your social presence is professional, you could try a screening tool to check your social media for any inappropriate pictures or comments. However, the best thing to do is to go through each of your profiles and get them in good shape before you start any applications.
It’s also useful to note that employers will also use search engines to research applicants so it’s worth searching for yourself on Google to see what comes up.
- Get busy on Twitter
Twitter is a fantastic way to connect directly with recruiters and get yourself noticed. Employers and job sites tweet job openings and job seekers use the micro-blogging service to publicise their job search and talk about their skills. You need to start by signing up to the social network and building your Twitter profile. That means writing a bio about yourself, choosing a professional profile picture, and including a link to another social media site that will give more information and contact details for yourself – for instance, your LinkedIn profile page.
Then you need to carry out extensive Twitter searches and begin following recruiters on your account and using the @ sign to communicate with them when you have something impressive to say.
It’s also worth using a tool like Tweetdeck that has built-in live search capabilities so you can search for opportunities and identify potential employers or useful professionals easily. Then you can start to build a decent following – you want plenty of people to be receiving your tweets and getting to know that you’re looking for a new job.
- Make LinkedIn work for you
Whether you’re interested in working for EasyJet, British Airways or Etihad, there are connections to be made via this fast-growing professional networking site. Recruiters in the aviation industry are already enjoying the cost benefits of this – it’s effectively free to search for aviation and engineering professionals, for example – and there are vast numbers of people signed up.
LinkedIn also lists jobs through the site. With this in mind, it’s really worth bolstering your brand image on LinkedIn. Make sure your profile is the same as you have posted elsewhere on the web, and ensure that your entire profile is filled in on LinkedIn, giving as much useful information as possible about your aviation skills and qualifications.
It will be worth including personal recommendations from people you have previously worked with, and of course, make sure you are using all the relevant keywords that will make you stand out in the aviation jobs sector.
Next, add all your contacts so that you are as widely connected as possible. However, you might need to be wary of showing your current employer your latest efforts at attracting attention in the job market. For some people it pays to spend some money on your LinkedIn account, making it a premium account, as this could enable you to contact more recruiters and be provided with relevant job alerts.
Once you’re fully set up on LinkedIn, you’re in a great position to be able to search for jobs, employers and individuals who might be able to invite you to an interview or at least recommend you to others looking to fill aviation industry roles.
- Get blogging
Start blogging about yourself and your personal areas of interest as this could be a great way to prove you’re an ideal candidate for aviation jobs. If you’re experienced and hoping to take a step up in your career, a blog could be just the springboard you need.
Having a regularly updated blog site will bolster your online presence and get you on the radar of aviation employers. It might also be useful to mention your blog in interviews or assessment days – generally, setting up and sticking to a blog is a sign that someone has energy, commitment and tenacity, and is really interested in their career choice. These are all good personality traits in the eyes of recruiters.
- Become a video star
Video interviews are starting to be used by large companies who want to meet individuals without the costs involved in a first interview. Preparing your own showcase video could help get you through the door of your target aviation company. It might be useful to make a video demonstrating a process or your particular skill set. You could stream a video CV by posting it on YouTube or incorporate some short video clips of yourself into your blog.
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