9 Tips For Using Social Media In Your Job Hunt

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Most of us use social media on a daily basis, but did you know that used strategically, social media can also be a great job search tool? Here are some tips to get you started.

Develop a professional presence

What do people find when they Google your name? This is something you need to look at, as most employers these days will Google potential job candidates to see what comes up. If the results bring up unprofessional pics or posts, then it’s time to clean up your online image. Start by taking down anything you wouldn’t want an employer to see, and set up a professional profile on LinkedIn, and make sure you include a professional-looking photo. Do the same for Twitter, Google and Facebook, and any other social media you use.

Know what information to include

Look at how other professionals in your industry present themselves online, what social media networks they belong to and what information they include in their profiles. This will give you insight into industry ‘best practice’ and will help you to develop your own profile. Make sure all your social media profiles include keywords that a recruiter or hiring manager might use to find a person just like you.

Be careful what you say

You need to present the best image of yourself online. Whether you’re blogging, tweeting or updating your Facebook status, it’s important that you maintain your reputation and professional credibility. The last thing you want to do is destroy all your hard work by making a careless Twitter comment. What you do on social media is there to stay, so think before you tweet, blog, post or share.

Activate your privacy settings

You need to effectively manage the information that’s available about you online. That means you should make sure your personal information on Facebook is private. Use the Privacy Settings and Tools menu to manage what’s visible to others and ensure that it’s set to Friends and not Everyone! This way, if an employer Googles you, they won’t be able to see the details of your profile and delve into your personal life.

Establish your own URL

Add the URL for your LinkedIn profile and Twitter handle to your CV (but not your Facebook profile). This provides an employer with another avenue to connect with you and allows them to see you in a professional light. It also demonstrates that you are social media savvy, which is an increasingly desirable asset.

Engage in online conversations

Participating in online conversations and discussion forums helps you to establish yourself as an expert in the field. It also demonstrates that you are serious about contributing to your industry, so you should share content, forward links and answer questions whenever it’s appropriate.

Connect with the right people

LinkedIn can be a great resource for finding information on organisations and the individuals who work there. If you’re looking for opportunities that aren’t advertised, put together a list of companies that you’re interested in. Use LinkedIn and your investigative powers to find out the names of people who work there and then look at ways that you can start connecting with them.Follow them on Twitter, repost their tweets, and look at who your shared connections are.

Let people know you are looking

Make sure your connections know that you’re looking for a job, as your contacts are the best people to provide you with referrals. You want people to think of you when a position becomes available and for them to let you know when they hear about a position they think you would be interested in.

Follow industry news

There is not one social media network that works best for all job seekers. The important thing is to know which platforms are most used by your industry. Find out the latest happenings by joining specialist industry groups on LinkedIn, following industry blogs, signing up to newsletters and participating in discussion forums. This helps you stay up-to-date with the latest industry information and provides you with the opportunity to make connections that could result in job leads.

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The Pros and Cons of using Social Media for recruiting

Speaker’s presentations from the ‘Recruitment using Social Media‘ event at the University of Aberdeen

Saw this very topic article in LinkedIn about social media recruiting from the University of Aberdeen and thought that I would share it with you. It gives some very useful pointers from the recruiters point of view along with perspectives from students/graduates in the job-hunting pipeline.

Check out the various contributors’ slides below:

Campbell Urquhart – Urquhart Partnership: http://prezi.com/3aikzdhgkix3/aberdeen-university-join-up

Alex Barton – Student Designers: http://www.box.com/s/si1mspn1471s62l9ko9a

Robert Holland + Lisa Jackson – Balfour + Manson:http://www.box.com/s/yyzo1rqbapgxurpy0vu8

Rachel Jeffers – University of Aberdeen: http://prezi.com/j907qj_elfbl/recruitment-using-social-media/?auth_key=66278a19b45217bddc4ac397b9056b655036cabc

Social Media – Your Information Age!!

Growing up in what has been coined the “Information Age” has been a pretty incredible experience. I’ve never had to wonder longer than I can type about how long a dolphin can stay underwater and as I write this, I just heard someone on the Stirling to Glasgow train ask  (on his new iPhone 4S) the names of Liam Neeson’s children.

If you haven’t already checked yourself: dolphins usually stay underwater for anywhere up to 8 minutes and you can find out the children’s names for yourself! What’s even more astounding, I will admittedly allow myself to forget this information instantly, because I will be able to retrieve it not in my brain, but online, all day and every day. What a world we live in.

I’m not as interested in this anymore, as much as I am interested in the new era we’ve entered: what I’d call the “Your Information Age.” I can Google, Facebook, Tweet, etc. any person I want to, and I’ll more than likely come up with something. In some cases, I can come up with a lot of things, most of which I’ll wish I never knew.

In the job search and professionalism game, this is a big deal. Our “digital footprints,” as people are calling them, can be a make or break for us in our careers and lives. So, what can I  say now to you, as graduates of the University of Stirling about how to succeed in the “Your Information Age?” Here are three tips:

1.) Play privacy “Whack a Mole” – Social networks update features and settings regularly to stay current. But, with updates often come changes to privacy controls, many of which are opt-OUT not opt-IN (Facebook’s Instant Personalization feature is one example of this). Treat these opt-out updates like the moles in the “Whack a Mole” game seen at amusement parks and fairs. Be vigilant about how your information gets shared, and knock down any feature with which you’re not comfortable.

2.) See something, say something – Help each other out. I talked with a colleague last semester who told me that he routinely deletes friends’ comments and messages on his social networks when he doesn’t like what they say. Then, he takes it one step further and tells them why he did and why they should care, too. We don’t have to be the police of on-line professionalism.  But, we can encourage each other to succeed, and then we will.

3.) The best defence is a good offence – Rather than an all “protect, protect, protect” strategy, aim to have at least one searchable professional presence. It’s inevitable that you will be found on-line, and by taking this approach it should be in a positive light. LinkedIn is an obvious one  for this, but Twitter and blogs are great places to start, too. When on the offence, it’s possible that the jobs and opportunities will come to you.

Have you thought of networking as a job hunting tool?

Networking is a critical part of any job hunt, it’s your opportunity to present the real you, rather than a piece of paper and a covering letter. It’s your opportunity to really sell yourself.

Graduates are renowned for being technology aficionados, social networking addicts and being constantly surrounded by industry experts and peers with the same objectives. All the tools you need to network are, in fact, at your fingertips: Linkedin; Twitter;  facebook; to name just a few.

Local business events are also great networking tools. Often you will find that chambers of commerce or business clubs have events which are free to attend and hold many of the area’s influential business people. A great starting point for this is: www.findnetworkingevents.com this site allows you to search for networking events regionally. Always do your preparation for these events, appropriately dressed and take copies of your CV, you never know who you could meet.

The way in which you present yourself is really important when you network, and regardless of how hard you have been working all week, that first impression is essential in helping you to be memorable, so make sure you think about how you want to be remembered!

Our leaflet on networking explains how important making a good first impression is especially if you want people to help you or potentially even work with you in the future: http://www.careers.stir.ac.uk/students/documents/networking.pdf

First impressions aren’t always created face to face however so remember that what you post on the internet can be accessed! Try typing your name into Google and see what comes up – your facebook page , your linked in page, your twitter page, your location,  that ‘not so friendly’ post your wrote on that forum last week, things you don’t want people to know about!

The Drum recently posted this article which claims 91% of potential employers screen candidates through social media sites – so when you’re applying for graduate jobs, maybe you should re-think your profile picture! http://www.thedrum.co.uk/news/2011/10/24/91-employers-use-social-media-screen-applicants

One final thought, do check out our events webpages for any interesting networking workshops or employer events.