It has become a bit of a cliché that if you’re looking for a job, you want to make sure your Social Media presence is at the very least refined.
You don’t have to spend long in the magical world of job seeking before somebody points out that the picture of you dressed as a tequila bottle standing on the roof of your brother’s car might not be doing you many favours. And they may very well have a point – according to a study by CareerBuilder.co.uk, 55% of employers who used Social Media to research applicants found something that caused them not to hire those applicants. The same study suggested that 45% of employers said drink and drug habits had put applicants in a negative light while 38% indicated that tasteless or inappropriate photographs had put them off applicants.
In the internet age you need to take stock of how you are perceived by others. Monitoring your privacy settings to limit posts about yourself and to ensure your profile isn’t littered with negative images is important. But let’s get one thing straight in the face of those naysayers; get it right and Social Media can help you get a job.
You are essentially marketing yourself, and as with any digital marketing effort, good content is key. It is equally important that you don’t appear mundane or uninteresting as it is that you don’t appear to be a member of the Inebriati. Even if you have an amazing CV, no employer in their right mind is going to believe that you are “dynamic and good-humoured” if all you do on Facebook is post cat videos and moan about your lazy dog.
The King of Social Media Employability is obviously LinkedIn. As a business-orientated Social Network, if you are job-hunting you should certainly have a profile. The aim of it is for you to establish professional relationships and its primary connection module was built with this in mind. Essentially being a comprehensive online CV, it’s a great way to sell yourself to prospective employers. Because it allows you to go further than merely listing what you’ve done and your qualifications – explain how you developed throughout training and what competencies you and skills you gained. If you have identified your industry, join groups and commit to discussions reflecting that.
Unlike other Social Networks where small about me sections lay dormant and ignored for years, it pays to be constantly diligent with your LinkedIn content. Make sure that you proof everything that you do, and update your experience as you progress. This shows prospective employers how you are evolving. Another great thing about LinkedIn for job searching is practicality – jobs are posted and advertised by employers and a great deal of application processes now allow you to use your LinkedIn profile to apply, which can save heaps of time and energy. You should also try to reflect your professional attitude in your profile picture – studies have suggested that contacts are four times more likely to make a connection if they know what you look like.
When it comes to your Facebook profile, obviously it pays to be cautious about what comes up on your wall. Update your review settings to ensure you have the last say about which updates & photos you are tagged in appear on your wall. A lot of people fall short by carelessly posting about past jobs or past employers which casts you in a poor light. Try instead to focus on the positives in your life and having fun. Remembering to update your privacy settings is important, and use a profile picture that you wouldn’t mind a prospective employer seeing.
A lot of people see cautionary measures as the sole possibility for Facebook, but this certainly isn’t the case. Many corporations use Facebook to advertise graduate and training opportunities so it’s worth investing some time researching and liking pages relevant to your industry. The majority of businesses will want to invest in a person so posting things related to your industry – it will show that you are genuinely committed to advancing in your career and that you weren’t lying on your CV when you said it was your passion.
If you want to engage with professionals in your industry Twitter is the perfect tool. It is a good idea to try and strike the personal/professional balance on Twitter. This will give you a platform to create good networking opportunities. The best tweets to compose should contain current affairs affecting your industry. This way you can interact with relevant brands and companies, thus building a following relevant to your chosen career. This in-turn displays your enthusiasm and drive to prospective employers. If you have a blog relevant to your industry, sharing content from this can really help you get noticed – and if you don’t, consider starting one.
If you’re applying for a creative role, why not consider a video CV? If you are more confident in interview situations, linking your application to a video on your YouTube could be a great way to go.
While not all employers check up on your social presence, being savvy with your content is better than being overly cautious. Whatever your chosen industry, don’t shy away from Social Media when applying for jobs. It could give you the edge that you need to stand out from other applicants.