Using social media in your job search
We've already blogged about the power of social media, but plenty of students are still unsure how to use social media to further their job search. I recently caught up with Tom Bourlet, Social Media and SEO Executive, to ask for his thoughts...
How can Twitter help my job search?
There are a number of useful tools which you can incorporate into your job search. Tweetdeck can allow you to track keywords used in tweets in a well laid out platform. If you're searching for a marketing job in Brighton, type in ‘marketing job Brighton’, and Tweetdeck would list all tweets recently sent out including these keywords. Alternatively you could search for ‘marketing jobs’, ‘jobs UK marketing’ or ‘advertising vacancy Brighton’. And don’t forget to use TwitJobSearch to find jobs on Twitter. A quick search for ‘PR intern UK’ generated 198 results. Not bad for 2 seconds’ work!
Following companies on Twitter that you have an interest in or are applying to and also regularly commenting on their posts can also help your visibility (and credibility) and may help you find a point of difference from other applicants.
If you're going to make your Twitter feed publicly accessible - and it rather negates the point if you don't - then make sure your profile and avatar are professional. Don't neutralise your content to such an extent that it feels bland, but trying to balance the personal and professional. Optimise your bio to include relevant, specific information. Every word counts.
Building a strong profile in your industry on Twitter and gaining regular influencers as followers can significantly increase your chances of hearing about a job position which have not been placed online yet placed online yet. I have received a number of job offers through Twitter simply through contacts I have made while networking on the social platform. But it is important not to overstate its impact - in some sectors (PR, media) you may be heavily disadvantaged by not having a visible Twitter feed; in others it will make no difference at all.
What about LinkedIn – do recruiters really look?
If you’re actively looking for a job, it would be inconceivable to ignore LinkedIn. It doesn’t take too long to simply transfer your CV content onto the social platform. Also consider the judicious use of keywords in your summary to make sure your profile appears in LinkedIn itself and external searches. Join some of the groups based on your industry and if there aren’t any, why not take the initiative and set up your own? Other users might start to gravitate to you as a ‘power member’ – a great way to get yourself noticed. If you're completely new to LinkedIn check out these 'Top tips' to help get you started.
Facebook is my social space - how can it help my job hunt?
You’re probably all aware that some recruiters are checking out potential applicants on Facebook (stats vary - anything from a highly questionable 90% to a more likely 40%) and you’ll all be familiar with the need to manage your profile and adjust your privacy settings to control what information is publicly viewable. Understandably many of you want to keep that distinction between ‘work’ and ‘social’, but don't dismiss the (potential) power of Facebook as a job search tool. And talking of 'search' use this function on Facebook to help you find relevant groups and employers. Finding people with shared career interests and common goals is a quick and effective way of growing your network. Most major employers will also have company pages, so find, view and like the page as a first step to showing your interest.
There are a number of Facebook job search apps, but reception has been somewhat mixed. It may be, for now, that the best way to maximise the power of Facebook is to use keywords, status updates (tell people you're actively looking) and group/company pages to keep yourself updated and informed. It's unlikely that Facebook will overtake LinkedIn as a professional networking platform, but the chances are you're on there anyway, so you might just as well exploit its job search potential.
What about blogging?
Blogging can be another way to illustrate your knowledge, technical abilities and establish your online profile. Writing a blog is very simple to set up, and the benefits are considerable. Set up the blog as your own website with consistent, content rich posts and others will soon recognise you as a strong voice in the field. Having a successful blog can also help place your name in front of organisations that you might consider applying to.
If you do decide to set up a blog, try WordPress as there are a vast number of benefits to this platform, including the wide array of plug-ins which can be used. You could also sign up to Triberr and build a strong blogging community with others in your related field.
Google places a lot of power in authorship, so if you blog regularly and set up rel=author properly, Google will begin to recognise you as an expert in your field – this should certainly wow any potential employers.
What else is out there?
Try thinking outside of the box and consider some of the other platforms such as Instagram, Pinterest or setting up a YouTube Channel. A few people I know have actually received job interviews partially based on their work on Instagram, using it to help them connect with people and showcase their skills and creativity. But, it’s not just for the creative or media savvy: neither of these friends worked in creative fields - one is a nutritionist and the other one works as in procurement. What may start off as a side project or interest can potentially generate some interesting career opportunities - at the very least it will demonstrate a raft of skills to potential recruiters. Writing, presenting (if you're feeling bold!), editing, creativity and a general confidence with digital media. Believe me, there are plenty of graduate job seekers out there who don't have these skills...
Tom Bourlet is a Social Media and SEO Executive for Directline Holidays, a freelancer and consultant for a number of companies including SNC Direct and Omprakash. Tom graduated from Brighton University with a degree in Business Management. You can find Tom on Twitter @tom_bourlet