Using social media to get ahead
Whether you are a school leaver, under-graduate or an experienced professional, social networks are invaluable for helping you to open doors to life-changing career opportunities.
Get it right and you will be alerted to vacancies first, engage with prospective employers and keep up-to-date with the latest news and trends which will help you to write stronger CVs and perform better in interviews. Here is some great advice to help you get the most from your social networks.
YOU the brand
There is such a rich and diverse range of social media being used today, but whether you are just using Facebook, or if you have Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube etc, you need to ask one question: What message am I sending out about myself, to people who do not know me and might want to employ me?
It is time to think about yourself as a brand and that means projecting the right image. That is not to say you should close down accounts, or not post anything, on the contrary, you want to be as visible as possible, but for all the right reasons. So, check your privacy settings! If you don’t want people other than friends and family to see your posts then make sure you have the right boxes ticked.
Make sure you are using the right social channels
You need to be present on LinkedIn and ideally on Twitter, but also be aware of online communities for your industry and be sure to sign-up and get involved. If not, make sure you are before the day is out. If you already use Twitter in your personal life, consider running a separate account for your professional persona, especially if your profile is a nickname!
Getting smarter with social media
Now you have confidence that you are using the right social media channels and they look professional, it is time to start using them to their fullest potential.
Many think of LinkedIn as an online version of their CV (make sure it is up-to-date with all of your recent roles and titles, as well as any new skills, qualifications and accreditations) - but it is so much more than that. Used correctly it is a great way to engage and begin to build meaningful relationships with those who could have a real impact on your career.
Build your connections
Be disciplined and send an invite to connect soon after you have met someone, whether it was at an event, or a job interview. However, don’t get fixated on the number of people you are connected with, but the quality of those connections.
Once someone has accepted your invitation be sure to send them a message thanking them for their invitation, reminding them of your meeting.
This applies to both LinkedIn and Twitter! Think about the organisations that you are interested in and follow them. It is a great way to keep up-to-date with what they are doing, and of course job vacancies that may be of interest.
Also, seek out the influencers in your industry including industry publications, trade associations, analysts and other senior figures in your sector.
If there is a specific company that you are focused on then it is a great idea to like, share and retweet their news. It shows you are interested and are eager to engage.
Also, if you see something that you think is of interest to your industry be sure to use the ‘Share an Update’ feature on LinkedIn and also post a Tweet. If you have a flair for writing then the ‘Publish a Post’ feature is a great way to share your knowledge, views and expertise with your connections, helping to establish you as someone that is passionate about the industry.
Think about what you are doing in your professional life that will show you off. So, if you are attending a seminar or networking event share a post, as people may want to arrange to meet you there.
Don't be a recluse!
Think about the people that you have worked with where there is mutual respect. Pick several and ask them to kindly offer a LinkedIn recommendation, of course offering to reciprocate.
Keep a close eye on who has been looking at your LinkedIn profile (even if you don’t have a Premium account you will get some information). If someone has viewed your profile send them a message thanking them and ask if there is anything more they need. Being proactive and bold in this way can help open doors.
Keep a close eye on who has a new job
Everyone likes to be congratulated when they have a new job, so be sure to extend the courtesy to your LinkedIn contacts when they update their profile. If it is one of your former managers then perhaps you might want to send them a private message to find out if he/she would like you in their new team.
Add your social channels to your CV
If you have a fantastic Twitter profile and LinkedIn page that demonstrates you are well connected, active in your sector and recommended by your peers then add them on to your CV. It will give recruiters the opportunity to find out more good things about you, to help you stand out and secure the interview you want.
Keep up the momentum and engagement
Keeping your professional social channels up-to-date and working for you isn’t difficult and it doesn’t have to take up huge amounts of time, but it does take commitment and a willingness to engage. For those that do, it will really create a powerful competitive advantage in getting to where you want to be in your career.
Hopefully, the above will inspire you to use your social media profiles more effectively and can help you boost your job prospects. For more advice about job searches and career moves, check out the blogs on our Resources page.