Social networks are a useful tool when it comes to the graduate job search. Discover how to use social media accounts to your advantage when looking for new opportunities.
Managing how you're viewed online should be a top priority when it comes to kick-starting your career, after all a well-timed tweet, or a speculative application via LinkedIn, could land you a job.
'Job hunting has evolved, the old method of speaking to a careers adviser is no longer the only option,' says Hitesh Nathu, recruitment manager at Topps Tiles. 'You really need to sell yourself on social media, especially as employers are more online savvy than ever before.'
While pouting selfies and random ramblings are great fun between friends, don't let them come between you and the job you want.
Building an online presence
Students and graduates are increasingly approached directly by recruiters thanks to their social media profiles, in fact 'estimates suggest that over 90 per cent of employers use social media for recruitment purposes, making it an important tool in the graduate job search,' says Maddie Smith, careers consultant at the London School of Economics.
Anyone can build a network of useful contacts by creating accounts on sites such as LinkedIn and Twitter. When setting up profiles remember to use a consistent username and image and to include a clear biography - this will help recruiters find you; add in your location and what type of role you're looking for.
Linking to other platforms that you're using professionally, such as blogs or YouTube channels, is a great way to showcase your dedication and skills.
Once profiles are perfected concentrate your energies on engaging with relevant companies and building your online contacts.
'I landed my job through persistent social engagement,' says Nicolas O'Connor, PR assistant at Tank PR in Nottingham. 'I followed Tank PR's blog, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube accounts and connected with everyone on LinkedIn. I commented on posts whenever I could so that they knew I had something intelligent to add to the conversation. I was determined for them to notice me, and it worked.'
Manage your online reputation
How do you balance personal use of social networks with the need to maintain a professional image?
'If you are a social media enthusiast it may be worth having two profiles, one personal and another for professional use,' explains Hitesh.
Separate your accounts by setting your Facebook profile to private. Keep this as your personal space; you can still use it to aid your job search by letting friends know that you're actively looking for work. Set your Twitter and LinkedIn accounts to public and use these for professional networking.
It's important to note that when trying to project a professional image, appropriate and up-to-date content is essential. 'Keep your language, tone and content professional at all times and always apply caution to what you post,' advises Maddie. 'When using social media people often forget how many people have access to their profiles,' adds Hitesh. 'Don't post anything that you wouldn't want to share with an employer.'
With so many graduates utilising social sites for job hunting purposes, getting noticed can be a challenge. Make sure you stand out to employers for the right reasons. 'A company is more likely to take notice if you are persistent in sharing its content and regularly comment on its work,' adds Nicolas.
Find jobs on Twitter
- Accounts should be public - A private profile makes you less visible and this could have an adverse effect on your job hunt.
- Follow accounts - 'Following relevant companies will help you get a better feel for their brand,' says Hitesh. Find accounts that are influential in your chosen industry - they'll keep you up to date on the latest news and help you make like-minded connections.
- Search for opportunities - Make use of Twitter's search tool using specific keywords and hashtags. General terms such as #jobsearch work well. 'Twitter is particularly popular in the media, marketing, advertising and voluntary sectors,' clarifies Maddie, so try sector-specific searches, such as #marketingjobs.
- Get involved - Tweet about work experience, reply to posts from other people regarding related topics and retweet posts from relevant accounts.
Promote your skills on LinkedIn
- Use a professional picture - 'A profile with a photo is seven times more likely to be viewed so upload a professional picture. No mirror selfies,' says Maddie.
- Build up contacts - LinkedIn recommends a minimum of 50 connections. By connecting to at least 50 contacts you'll increase your chances of getting in touch with the right people and companies in your industry.
- Join relevant groups - 'Join as many related groups as you can and begin connecting with users,' advises Hitesh. This can help you keep abreast of industry news and make like-minded or influential connections.
- Gather recommendations and endorsements - They will boost the strength of your profile. To collect recommendations get in touch with colleagues, acquaintances, past and present employers and current or former lecturers.
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