A few years ago when I was going through a transition in my career, I decided if there was one beneficial thing I could do, it was to get connected on social and professional networks. And so I joined Twitter and LinkedIn.
Now I knew a fair bit about LinkedIn and was fairly impressed with what I learnt, but I have to admit that up until that point I wasn’t entirely convinced how Twitter could add value (I only ever saw people announcing what they ate for breakfast!) and felt extremely confused by the whole Tweet/Retweet/Hashtag process.
Joining social media was a leap into the unknown for me, but I have to say one of THE most useful steps I have ever taken in terms of my career development. The diverse range of professionals I’ve got to know, careers tips and advice, sector insights, events and opportunities I’ve become aware of has been phenomenal.
Social media has transformed the way we communicate, interact, learn and share information, and given that more than 2 billion people use it across the world, it is fitting that much attention is given to social media as a powerful tool for job searching and professional development.
Here are a couple of stats for interest..
So how can you use social media effectively for your job hunting and career? Here are my top 10 tips:
- Getting to grips with social media itself – there is a lot to know and each platform has many different functions and tools to help you connect and create. So take some time to learn about the networks. I know LinkedIn is one area a lot of students feel unsure about, so LinkedIn for Students is a handy resource.
- Know what you have to offer – even before you set up accounts and profiles, take some time to do a self-assessment of your skills and experiences and clarify your career goals and image you want to present before creating your profile.
- Don’t take short cuts on your profile – have a high quality profile to showcase who you are. Use professional looking photos/avatars/Twitter names. Fully complete sections and use relevant key words so recruiters can find you in their search. Don’t forget to add unique information like what languages you speak, awards and honours you’ve received. You are online to get noticed so don’t shy away. Showcase blogs and any creative work. And always update your profile, adding new skills and experiences.
- Manage your private and professional life – monitor your online reputation by doing a Google search to see what information is out there on yourself. Ensure your personal use of social media is not having a negative effect on your professional image, so be wary of what you post on your personal networks. You may want to review your privacy settings if you don’t want any embarrassing pics in the public domain!
- Get yourself heard – LinkedIn groups, hashtag campaigns/discussions, trending topics, blogs and so on are brilliant ways to get noticed. Get involved in any relevant conversations and exchanges and build up your online presence.
- Research, Research, Research – commercial awareness is one of the key skills recruiters look for. And there’s no better way to develop this than through use of social media. Follow and research companies, make use of groups, forums, exchanges to really broaden your knowledge and awareness of the job market, different sectors and company developments.
- Bringing your profiles together – if you decide to use multiple social media platforms, then one really great way to enhance your personal brand and online presence is to link them altogether on a personal website like About.Me. This can be helpful for recruiters who can then easily view all your information.
- Less can be more – there is pressure to have hundreds of connections, contacts, followers and send endless posts and tweets, but it’s not necessarily an effective job search strategy. Have purpose to your connections and content and focus on what is relevant to you and your career.
- Knowing country specific platforms – I recently spoke to a group of international students looking to return home after graduation, and spoke about platforms specific to their country. So for example in China, Weibo and Renren are popular, in India there is use of BharatStudent and Hi5. Facebook and Twitter are banned in some countries, but the good thing about LinkedIn though is that it is very much universal across the world.
- Be organised – social media can be very time consuming, so get yourself organised, use lists and scheduling tools to help you manage and share your content and also your connections.