It is not uncommon for recruiters to use social media to find out more about an applicant. Therefore, an applicant should prepare themselves for it and use it to their advantage. When used correctly, LinkedIn can be a platform for applicants to provide additional information about themselves, their career and their personal/professional interests. While the lack of a LinkedIn profile is unlikely to detract from your application, creating a profile will give you an advantage.
Some of the advantages of a thorough, professional LinkedIn profile include:
Profile photo: A photo can say a lot about a person, both positively and negatively. It adds a sense of familiarity to the panel as you will be a recognised face when presenting for an interview. A professional photo is recommended for your LinkedIn profile.
Extracurricular activities: LinkedIn provides an excellent opportunity for applicants to share a different side of themselves. Here you can mention your hobbies, interests and passions that would otherwise be unknown. It is an opportunity to share any volunteer experience and participate in professional conversations with other members. While not directly relevant to the position you are applying for, these attributes increase your value to a potential employer and highlight your personal and professional development.
Connections: LinkedIn connects you with colleagues, friends, partners and all other variations of professional relationships. A thorough LinkedIn profile might uncover mutual connections between yourself and the employer, potentially increasing your attractiveness and providing an additional avenue for the employer to understand your professional background.
Other social media: Do not be surprised if an employer checks your Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or any other publicly available online presence. It is important to consider what your social media accounts say about you or how those weekend photos portray you as a potential employee.