They may be called social networking sites, but employers are increasingly using websites such as LinkedIn and Twitter for professional networking purposes too. This is why Universities and Colleges like OCVC and Oxford Brookes, encourage their students to make sure they portray the best version of themselves on social media profiles.
Many companies are using the internet to find out all they can about a prospective employee before they hire them, but they are also now using the web to find the perfect candidates too.
If you want to increase your chances of securing your dream job or moving up the ladder, then make sure you are selling yourself and your abilities through all the relevant media channels.
The first step is to take down anything that makes you seem unappealing to employers. If your Facebook profile is public, make sure that you don’t have any pictures up of you getting drunk, acting inappropriately, or generally looking like you place having fun above presenting a professional image.
Make sure your statuses are all positive and appropriate too. Don’t write anything about hating your current job or finding job hunting boring and make sure you’re not swearing or using bad language.
Read over your Facebook and Twitter pages and imagine you are an employer – if you see anything that you think might put people off giving you a job, delete it. Imagine that you are a brand, just like big chains such as Tesco, John Lewis and BT and market yourself just like they would.
Now that we’ve done the damage limitation and stripped away the less appealing parts of your profiles, let’s start focusing on networking.
Use your Twitter account to follow leading names in your industry – this includes large brands you would like to work for, powerful figures and any trade publications that may exist. Often these experts will Tweet blogs about an industry-related topic – read these blogs and Tweet links to them yourself. Don’t just retweet them though, add your own sentence about it too, so people start to see you as being knowledgeable about the industry.
Link your Twitter to your Facebook so you can share these industry insights on that profile too, then when employers search for you online, they will see you are well-connected and in the know.
If you are not on LinkedIn, join now. When writing your profile, sell yourself just like you would on a CV and make the tone more personal and engaging by speaking in the first person. List all your education and jobs and explain the key responsibilities you had and skills you developed in each role. As with Twitter and Facebook, post knowledgeable and newsworthy updates so people see you as an expert in your field.
At first, you can connect with everyone that you already know, such as workmates and course mates. LinkedIn is a little more personal than Twitter, so people may find it unnerving if you just connect with them anonymously. However, if there is someone you wish to network with, send them a polite message along with the connection request. Every time you meet someone at a meeting or seminar, connect with them because you never know when you might need their help securing a job in the future.
Also, the more people you know, the more people will be able to find you, so when employers are looking to fill your dream role they will be much more likely to come across you. And because you’ve written such an impressive profile page, you might just stand a shot at getting the job too.