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Social media and job-hunting- The good and the bad

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By Loushe Jordaan Gilbert

Social media was created to keep in touch with friends and family online, however, with several technological changes and adjustments, it has also become a way for organizations, businesses, and government entities to reach consumers through enticing content and paid advertisements.

With an unemployment rate of above 30% in South Africa, VOC News asked unemployed young people if social media can be used as a platform to secure employment.

“Social media is very beneficial to me in terms of job hunting. Although there are many downsides to applying for jobs online, there are also very benefits such as immediate responses from recruitment agencies, you have access to a thorough  background check of the company and some of the people working there, and also it saves money because you do not have to print our your Curriculum Vitae (CV) or waste time physically going to the company to ask if they have vacancies available.”

“Finding employment is a struggle. There are several vacancies available, but it is not in line with what the younger generation might have studied for. I do feel that social media plays a vital role in finding employment because it helps me establish what the company is about. I can also check and see from those who work at the company what the culture and environment might be like.”

Nkosinathi Mahlangu, Head of the Youth Employment Portfolio at Momentum Metropolitan said that there are many pros and cons of using social media as a tool to find employment.

“Job hunters can follow experts or organisations on social media within their desired industry or career path of choice, which may create opportunities for networking or engagement. They can follow recruitment groups where vacancies might be regularly advertised, helping keep abreast of job opportunities. Social media also provides you with a platform to establish your professional profile. On the flip side, misuse of social media can sabotage your career prospects – at the touch of a ‘post’ button.

Mahlangu also warns that there is no such thing as a completely private social profile.

“In the age of the screenshot, if it’s online, assume that the world might see it. This also applies to comments you make on other posts. The rule is: if you wouldn’t put it on a billboard, don’t publish it on social media,” he added.

Mahlangu said it is important to be social media-savvy, and shared some tips for jobseekers who want to leverage social media to help them achieve their career goals.

“Use social as your public CV – Professional platforms such as LinkedIn offer an ideal opportunity to showcase your skills. Ensure that you use a professional image on your profile, that there are no typos, and that any work experience or qualifications are prominently displayed. Remember, even if you have no formal work history, listing activities such as waitering or volunteering helps to demonstrate work ethic and experience, so they are worth including. ”

“Leverage platforms to showcase your talents – What are your unique skills? Consider the platforms available, and how you can use these to showcase your talents. For example, if you’re an aspiring writer, you might use X or LinkedIn’s article feature to showcase your work. If you’re a photographer or videographer, Instagram or TikTok could help get your work out there, while Facebook groups can connect you with prospective employers. Remember, recruiters and hiring managers aren’t just on professional platforms – they’re everywhere,” he added.

When asked if the Government of National Unity (GNU) would live up to its promises of creating more job opportunities for young people especially, Mahlangu shared the following.

“Looking at the current political landscape, it does give one some sense of optimism as this reflects what voters wanted in terms of a unified leadership. This will bring about the opportunity to test the promises made by the various political parties. Leaders of the GNU should now collectively look at ways to improve our unemployment statistics, especially amongst the younger generation,” he added.


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