Selling yourself on social media

The job market is a scary place at the moment for everyone, for out of work professionals, career changers and graduates alike. With so much competition and so many applications for so few jobs, it’s all a bit daunting. Every other week there are reports of how supermarkets advertising a job for a shelf stacker can receive hundreds of applications.

As with many aspects in life, social media’s influence is slowly creeping in as more people are looking to their online profiles to help their career prospects. If done effectively, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter can be used to boost your chance of getting employed, but if done badly it can all go catastrophically wrong, as one American grad student found out with a very nasty rejection.

typeFirst things first, give your profiles a spring clean and delete any inappropriate stuff. No future employer wants to see a picture of you trying to pole dance around a lamppost on a drunken night out. According to a recent study, 48% of employers use social networks to research their prospective employees and subsequently 55% of those employers reconsidered hiring a candidate because of what they had seen on their profiles. So tweak your privacy settings and the more professional looking your profile the better.

If you feel stuck on how to begin, explore Facebook and ‘like’ the pages of companies you admire within your chosen career path and read as much information as possible. Examine the way that they talk about their work and the subjects of their posts, this can give you great ideas on their approach to their work and you can use this to your advantage. You can also explore pages that advertise jobs and you can find pages that are dedicated to specific categories e.g. Jobs posts for Designers, Retail Careers Forum or Manchester Jobs. If you’re a Graduate there are many helpful pages that advertise various jobs but also post great articles and advice pages.

Even though Twitter can be seen as a platform for celebrities to have arguments or post dumb hashtags, it can still be a useful tool in your job search kit. Use your profile bio and say that you’re a job seeking #stylist/#developer/#engineergrad. The 160-character limit is a struggle but squeeze as much information about yourself as possible. Follow any companies or organizations that you’re interested in plus any employee accounts so that you can stay in the loop and see any job opportunities. Use Twitter search to find jobs that have been advertised, you can use advanced settings to determine a location radius and keywords. Tweet away to your heart’s content but home in relevant content and hashtags to catch the eye of an employer.

Don’t think of LinkedIn as Facebook for grown-ups or be intimidated by the super ‘professional’ cross-armed in my big office looking profile pictures. It’s basically like making a social profiloffice-workers-1950se out of your CV and connecting with people within your industry. Begin by searching for people or in LinkedIn speech ‘Connections’ you know well such as trusted professional friends, fellow alumni or people who share the same careers or hobbies. But don’t go over-board with connecting with tons of random people you don’t know, as this isn’t the purpose of LinkedIn. As you add Connections they can endorse your skills and follow any updates you post.

Also you can read posts about a wide variety of subjects on LinkedIn and join discussion groups so you can feel a part of a larger community. Have a quick snoop at the employee profiles of someone that has your ‘dream job’; notice the sort of self-promoting language they use when they talk about themselves. Fill your profile with as much information about yourself as possible, and it doesn’t have to be a boring list of previous job experience, fill your profile with your interests and aspirations. Employers can use keywords to search for certain qualifications or skills, so the more information your profile contains the more likely you are to be found.

Another useful way of using social media for your job search would be to post and share examples of your work. If you have permission from your previous employer post pictures of your work and use your profile as an exhibition to advertise. Also if you have received praise from customers or references from employers, if you have their approval share this on your profiles. Plus on LinkedIn ysandwichboardman2our connections can do this for you as they can make recommendations on your page. If you have your own blog or website include links so that your friends and employers alike can see your content. If you don’t have a blog a cool idea for one would be to write a work diary where you can talk about your experiences and share the thrills and frustrations of your journey to get employed.

The main message here would be to use social media in more creative ways to make your mark in the job market. When employers see that your profiles aren’t cesspools of adolescent behavior but a reflection of your professional side they will be impressed. It’s worth noting that ‘don’t ask, don’t get’ is a good approach when job-searching on social media but asking too many people repeatedly would get annoying and border on being a bit stalker-ish. Just remember your P’s and Q’s and if whatever you’re saying or asking would seem rude in real life, it would still be rude over Facebook.

One last tip would be to include the details of your online profiles on any paper applications or CVs, so that your hopefully future employer can see that your proud to show that your social media life is squeaky clean.

Good luck on your job hunt!

Tags: , | Posted by