The world of work can be very competitive, particularly if you are just starting out in your chosen profession. To get yourself a foot in the door, it’s worth spending some time getting your online profile in order as social media is a great tool to sell yourself to prospective employers. It can however, be your undoing. Here’s our top five tips to make social media work for you:
Prospective employers running a quick background search on Google will discover all your online profiles in a matter of seconds, whether they are active accounts or not. Check the privacy settings for your personal accounts and see what information you are sharing publicly. Do you really want your new boss to see your photos from last weekend? If you have long forgotten social media profiles online that you don’t use, close them down otherwise what you wrote on MySpace a decade ago may come back to haunt you!
Your CV is a dry representation of you as a professional, so don’t just cut and paste it onto LinkedIn as your profile, as this really won’t sell you to prospective employers. Keep the information on your LinkedIn profile clear and concise and make it easy to read. Think about whether you can spice it up with some links and visuals, or whether you can get your passion or sense of humour into what you are saying. More importantly, don’t forget to spend some time on your tagline – it comes up in search hit lists, so make sure it says something great about you.
Choosing the right profile picture for your Linked In profile is important as first impressions count. Hot dog legs, pictures taken from your wedding album or on a night out (friends cropped out of course) and strange selfies are all big no, nos. Find a picture that represents you professionally.
It’s hard when you first start out in your career to find the right people on Linked In to connect with. Most of your connections will be friends or people you studied with. Try building your network by adding people you may have worked with on internships or other work placements, or your lecturers/professors to help others find your profile.
LinkedIn is not a job board, it’s an interactive space and the more effort you put in, the more prospective employers will notice you. Consider writing and sharing your thoughts on industry issues to show prospective employers your know-how and your passion for what you do. Try following companies you would like to work for, read their posts and like/share them. You can also apply for jobs through LinkedIn, which gives you a very personal first contact with a prospect.
In the age of social media, where our personal and professional lives are just a search away, its crucial to make sure that all the information available online about you says ‘hire me’. Employers want people who they can trust to represent their business and brand with integrity in the real world and in the online universe – social media is all part of the job search and application process, many candidates just don’t know it yet.