We all use social media these days, so it’s more important than ever to make sure your online presence represents you well, as it can be a powerful self-promotional tool. Many recruiters now use social media sites like Facebook and LinkedIn to search for their next hires, and over 60% of employers look at the profiles of potential candidates before hiring, so it’s clear social media is key when it comes to the job-search process.
Our online profiles have become like a second CV, and as such it’s worth thinking about how you can tailor yours to ensure it stands out to a potential employer. Which may mean deleting those questionable photos of you on Facebook, or at least making any undesirable photos of you, private :)
Social media sites are now another resource for companies and their hiring managers, as well as recruiters, to make great connections to help the hiring process. So regardless of your field of work, it’s good to be aware of how you look on social media and do what you can to make your online self as attractive as possible to potential employers as the genuine article.
We’ve put together some quick tips to help you on the way to achieving this:
1. Have a complete, up-to-date, and relevant profile
Employers and hiring managers have admitted that they are less likely to hire candidates with little information about them available, so it’s best to keep all your online profiles up to date – whether you’re currently searching for a job or not. This is clearly important on LinkedIn; where you will want to ensure your profile showcases your complete employment history & education, as well as any skills related to your job. You can also include achievements, interests, and a personal note to give an idea of who ‘you’ are – it is a chance to let your personality shine. Employers can use your profile to check background information as well as looking to see if you have good communication skills or a wide range of interests.
2. Keep it professional / employer friendly
If you are actively job-seeking, it’s worth considering removing any photos you think may be deemed as inappropriate by anyone other than your friends. The Internet provides a huge platform for publicity and it would be a shame to miss out on a job opportunity based on something visible to a potential future employer or business connection. It’s best to keep most photos under a private, friends-only security setting. Also, for sites like Twitter and Facebook, its worth bearing in mind the things you post/have posted that may be visible. Bad-mouthing previous colleagues or workplace or having discriminatory remarks evident is not a good idea. Research shows that employers screen posts to see if a person is a potential cultural fit in their company, so it’s important to keep on top of what you’re putting out into the social world.
3. Join career/industry relevant groups
Social media is full of great groups that can connect you with likeminded job seekers and offer industry-specific insights. It’s also full of silly and funny groups, which while may be compelling, might not be immediately relevant to your career interests or something you want to advertise as something you like. It’s ok to be part of some of these, but make sure you’re primarily participating in groups that relate to your actual or target job, and that those others that you do like couldn’t be deemed as inappropriate.
4. Highlight your skills and achievements effectively
In your career history, be thoughtful about what you choose to highlight. Show off your achievements and skill-set with clear examples of these, such as voluntary or charity work you have undertaken, or an additional course. Also, don’t be tempted to list past activities such as being captain of the netball team from school or college; as whilst this is an accomplishment, it will most likely be of little interest to employers.
5. Keep your social media profiles up to date
It is worth updating your profiles sporadically to ensure they stay fresh and current. There is little point creating a profile to then do nothing with it, so staying active on all social media sites is important. Starting a new job or received a promotion? – post about it in an update and update your job title. Think about what you are posting.
6. Aim to keep your connections relevant
Both LinkedIn and Twitter are great platforms to make connections with potential employers and like-minded people in your industry. Keeping your connections career-focused or relevant to your professional remit is worth bearing in mind, and it is still good to build your contacts even when you’re not actively looking for a job. Getting requests to connect from old school friend’s is inevitable, as are requests from lots of people you don’t know! - but you will want to make sure the majority of the people in your LinkedIn circles are somehow relevant to your career as this gives employers the impression that you’re plugged in to your particular niche.
7. Provide clear contact information where appropriate
A recruiter or potential employer will want to get in touch with you easily should they so wish – so ensuring your email address is linked somewhere clear and easy to see.
8. Have a professional-looking headshot
Digital first impressions count! It’s important to have a good, clear photo of yourself; preferably a headshot on your social media profiles. Aim to look well-presented and engaged.
Social media can be used to your advantage when your online profile and CV complement each other – so taking the above points into account may well help you to maximise your chances of being noticed, at every job level.