We all know job competition is fierce in today’s economic climate. Social media is increasingly important as a career building tool for job seekers, and as a recruitment tool for employers. But how do you make the transition from using these platforms to connect with people socially to making them work for you in a professional capacity? A range of online activity can be effective, especially when combined with other approaches, such as networking, applications and working with recruitment agencies.
Set up a LinkedIn profile, and add your skills and experience, from your degree course, paid work and volunteering. Use LinkedIn to build a network of contacts; you can join relevant groups in the sector that interests you and join in the group discussions; search for employers to get an idea of the kinds of people working for them.
You can follow companies, brands and professional bodies as well as individuals on Twitter, to keep up with current issues and concerns. Use hashtags to search for industry-related tweets. Twitter’s advanced search allows you to specify a location followed by some keywords. Your own tweets can show your interest in a particular career, and you can include a link to an online CV.
As well as connecting you with friends and family, Facebook can be a useful professional networking tool. You can follow companies you’re interested in, and find out about the organisation and their recruitment process. Use status updates to say what you are looking for and see if anyone has useful contacts or experience in your preferred job sector.
Writing a blog is a useful way to showcase your writing skills, knowledge and enthusiasm, and is particularly useful if you are thinking about a creative career. Blogs can also be a good way of getting an insight into an organisation. Some of the major graduate employers encourage their graduate trainees to blog about their experiences (although it’s worth bearing in mind that they will want to present their company in a good light!).
Be careful about making personal data public. You do not need to include personal details (address, passport details, date of birth, national insurance number) on your CV posted on online job sites. Use different passwords for job sites, not the ones you use for other online activities like email, banking etc. Check privacy and website settings in your Facebook account to control who sees what.
- Information sheet: Successful Networking (www.york.ac.uk/careers/infosheets)
- Helpful advice at http://www.safer-jobs.com/advice.cfm
- Careers Guardian articles on using social media and marketing yourself
- Telegraph article on social media in job search.