Social Media Risks and Rewards
Great Insurance Jobs’ Cofounder Roger Lear offers up some unexpected social media advice for professionals.
By Roger Lear
Q: I am getting ready to look for a new insurance claims job after 10 years at the same company. How do insurance companies use my personal social media to make hiring decisions during a job search?
A: Great question, and if you ask many career professionals, you may get advice to “lock down” all of your social media accounts during a job search. You don’t want employers to look at your Facebook or Instagram…right? I think this is the worst advice you can get. Let me explain.
First of all, understand that many companies don’t have the time to even look at your social media accounts. Many have restrictions against doing so, and they really are hoping that your resume has the claims experience they need. But if they did (and some do for sure), our society may be at the point that if they can’t view at least one social media account (Facebook and LinkedIn leading the way), then it may cause hiring managers to wonder why. On top of that, most human resources and hiring managers have their own social media accounts and really understand the difference between personal and professional life. The one person who is most likely to check your social media account is the hiring manager. Often, they will conduct a random social media check on their own from their cell phones an hour or two before your interview. Hiring managers call this “research.” I will tell you that in your job search, you hope they do this and find your LinkedIn or Facebook account.
Why? Because it will show how normal you are. The only reason your social media may hurt you is if they find drug use or repeated foul language. During a job search, I also recommend that if you lean one way politically and love to post derogatory articles about the other side, throttle it back. (Your real friends will appreciate that, as well!)
What I am most excited about is that social media allows you to control the message during a job search. Remember this saying: The web is your resume and your social media are your references. It couldn’t be truer today. Companies like Human Predictions and CYRA actually use artificial intelligence robots that will find and rate you with the information they find online about you. Robots deliver profiles to employers they create (without you even knowing) using social media and any online data point like your posts, pictures, videos, and data that closely match top performers already at the company. While this process is not even close to mainstream, the same thing is already happening in a way when the hiring manager looks up your Facebook profile.
In a job search, just make sure that your social looks typical. If you want to spice it up a bit, do a few posts dedicated to your claims role. For example, post a picture of an interesting claim that you may be handling or a claims conference you are attending. While I think LinkedIn is more of a public resume database versus a true social network, make sure that you have a professional headshot and very clear keywords and experience related to the job to which you are applying. Also, if you can get any recommendations, this is the best place to add them. Make sure your profiles on Instagram and Twitter include your job title. On Twitter, use the link in your profile to send people to your LinkedIn page.
For older readers, all of this may scare you if you don’t spend a lot of time in social media. The old-school way of contacting hiring managers directly or being referred in by a current employee still works. However, in just a few short years, many will never even need to see a resume.
Finally, to cover yourself online during a job search, make sure that your LinkedIn profile is strong and you have your resume on the right job sites. Right now, humans are still using these resources to find you. However, when the robots take over and you are nowhere to be found, your cell phone will never ring.
Got a career question for Roger? Email him at Roger@GreatInsuranceJobs.com.