Social Media: What to consider
With most employers using social media as a valuable tool to research prospective employees, it is highly important that you have an awareness of your online social presence. If utilised effectively, social media can be a great way to market yourself to possible employers but it's also possible for bad social media practices to hinder your chances without even realising it.
Social Media can be a very useful tool when looking for a new position. First and foremost, it can be used to portray a very positive image of you in a professional capacity. Foremost amongst professional networking and social media is LinkedIn. It is a site that allows you to complete a professional profile that can act as an online CV.
If you don't already have one, we strongly recommend setting up a LinkedIn profile as a lot of employers and recruitment agencies use LinkedIn to search for suitable talent. It is also an excellent forum for showcasing your skills and knowledge, as well as testimonials from referees and colleagues.
Aside from simply showing how great you are, it allows you the opportunity to learn, network, share knowledge and much more besides. It is a fantastic tool for any professional whether looking for a new role or not.
Aside from LinkedIn, most other social networking sites are predominantly used for non-work related socialising but are still useful platforms for job searching.
Although a lot of people think Twitter is just a place for finding out what a celebrity had for dinner, but there are also a large number of employers and recruitment agencies using twitter to tweet company news and the latest jobs. Some recruitment profiles will also let you register for jobs and using twitter on a smartphone also has the advantage of being able to quickly favourite tweeted jobs to apply for later whilst on the go.
In addition to showcasing your professionalism, social media is also a good way to show some personality to potential employers. Think of it as the interests section on your CV, but much more powerful. Make sure your profile features lots of photos of any events you've done as part of a sports club or society.
For most people, the cons will be fairly obvious. The one major issue with social media when looking for a new role is the fact that a potential employer sees something they do not like on someone’s social network profile and they do not offer them an interview.
Today’s internet savvy individual is very comfortable with sharing all kinds of information about themselves and the heavy weekend they just had. Sharing pictures of yourself with friends is fun, but consider how they may appear to a potential employer. Most employers will want to see an outgoing and social personality but whilst pictures of completing a marathon shows commitment and motivation, photos of you passed out unconscious in a bathtub aren't likely to be viewed favourably.
Make sure you regularly review your privacy settings and do online searches of yourself whilst signed out, to see what others see when they search for you.
It is well documented and evidenced that employers use social media searches to evaluate potential employees or interview candidates so don’t let your ‘anti’ social media cause you any issues.
We advise that you keep your personal and professional social media use entirely separate. If you want to demonstrate your skills and professionalism to potential employers, use accounts on social media sites meant for that use. Set yourself up on LinkedIn or Xing and create well populated, sensible professional profiles. Also, to make the most of them add links to your profiles on your CV.
When it comes to your personal social media, ensure you double check anything you post, ensuring it would not offend a potential employer. Also, check your settings on personal sites to ensure they are strictly private – this will minimise the risk that a potential employer will ever see them in the first place.