All 7 entries tagged Social Media

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November 29, 2012

Using social media in your job search

social media icons

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

November 21, 2012

The art of self–promotion

Rachel Guthrie Self-promotion isn't a dirty word: it's a vital part of the graduate job search, particularly if you're looking to establish yourself in the arts world. Rachel Guthrie, final year history of art student and aspiring art critic, tell us how it's done....

Self-promotion has never been an easy idea for me. I’m a wannabe art critic, who's always liked to think that my writing could do the work for me – speaking of my ability and drive to write about the arts alone. But in the world of journalism, and even more so in the sector of the arts where critics, writers, reviewers and reporters are now all freelance and battling for every commission, self-promotion has never been more important. Having an active online presence is key to my future as an arts journalist – it’s the way in which I get known, as well as being the means of getting my writing out to a wider audience of readers and commissioning editors.

Keeping it professional

Self-documentation has always been a more comfortable concept. I began my post-school education practicing art 9-5, and my number one hobby is still photography – I love to document what I see, do and feel. This is in some ways what drew me to criticism because I couldn’t help but respond to the exhibitions I was attending and so I set up a blog (originally a blogspot, now a wordpress) when I left school. It was a commitment I made with myself and the wider web to write about every exhibition I saw. It would be my online portfolio of writing, increasingly building over a period in which I was not writing as part of my education. Here’s where twitter came in: it was a means of documenting, but not simply a list of the day’s activities one by one, but always putting an evaluative slant on all that I did.

Foremost, my twitter account was set up to be a professional rather than a personal account. But at the same time, it had to be personable, culturally all-rounded. If I want to be a critic, I am putting myself in a position where I sell myself as a beacon of good taste. I have to be trusted by readers, I have to seen to know not just what I am talking about (therefore have a good education in art history), but also be able to decide what is good and what simple is not, in the exhibition scene. This is why I’ve linked my twitter into my blog so that people can read how I’m spending my time – how, essentially, I’m broadening my horizons.

Building your persona

Moreover, as a critic, you have to be a persona. This is quite different to general journalism – to your trained news reporter – I have to have a distinctive voice. The most well-known (and fearfully respected) art critic is Brian Sewell. He hates more or less everything he sees, but he is a 100% memorable, recognisable. He is himself a brand, and this is what a critic must be. And as a critic of the visual, I have to create a brand that is visually appealing, hence I have a blog with a clear aesthetic, which hopefully reflects my writing style and artistic [contemporary] preferences, and business cards which too mimic those graphics.

My active online presence – I speak mostly of my blog and twitter account (which I believe should be seen as a form of micro-blogging) – is then a matter of self-documentation and promotion. My blog is the place in which you can find my CV, photographs and read my articles without asking for them, thereby cutting out the middle-man. My website is essentially an advertisement for my expertise, and in being cheeky enough as to suggest that I should be paid for what I love doing, I have been.

Twitter is great for this too. By following key organisations (those you’d like to work for) and including them in your tweets you can catch their attention, and they can catch yours when they mention job opportunities, competitions and the like. I also have an automatic setting so that everything I publish on my blog goes on twitter (as I have more followers on twitter where the things I speak about are broader than those on my blog), and I tweet with hashtags to gain the kind of followers that may be useful for me. By making the most of the internet, I find unknown opportunities arising helping to widen my potential.

Rachel was voted Best Arts Writer at The Boar (2011-12) and shortlisted for critic of the year at the 2012 Guardian Student Media Awards. Rachel blogs and tweets @rachelguthrie8

November 15, 2012

Blogging as a career strategy?

Student blog

Back in the summer I asked Can you blog your way to a job? and today's guest post from *Robert Brandl continues the theme, looking at how, when and why to start blogging...

Looking for ways to stand out from the crowd? Why don't you start blogging? Do it well and it could put you ahead of the competition. You do have to be prepared to really delve deep into the subject area you are involved in – or want to get into. The objective is to make a name for yourself and become recognised within your industry. So, what's next?

Why blog?

If your subject is in a media-related field, such as marketing or web design, the benefits from having a prominent online presence are obvious. After all, you are likely to be working on website or social media content in your job too. But, in principle, you can set up a useful website on any kind of topic - technology, culture, politics.

A blog can also allow you to steer your career into a completely new direction. Perhaps you've realised that you'd much rather be a photographer or travel writer? Then a dedicated blog or website is your chance to really immerse yourself in the subject and gradually build up your expertise. You do need to feel truly passionate about your chosen subject otherwise boredom or apathy can set it, and writing will become a chore, not a pleasure. If you want to make this work you must be absolutely committed to it.

You will need to feel some level of affinity for the medium. If online media are not really your thing, then ask yourself if you are prepared to spend a lot of time on it from now on? But if it's just the technology that puts you off the idea, then don't worry: you’ll be surprised how easy to use website builders or blogging platforms like Wordpress are.

Think about your content

There are two types of content you should consider:

  • Static information and resources
  • News and social media links.

If you are already working in your chosen field, or have a degree in the subject, you can use the background information and knowledge you already have to create the static content of your site. In your blog meanwhile, you can write about your everyday experiences and challenges, or thoughts on issues relevant or topical to your industry. You can also share tips about software or online tools that you are using. In almost any line of work, tips on improving productivity and time management are almost always appreciated!

Remember: you should never divulge confidential information about your employer. Keep information anonymous, or, if you need to mention company names, make sure you have cleared this with your employer first.

Start thinking about your content early (certainly before you start blogging), as it can take time to build your blog and develop an online following. Before you launch have a number of posts in reserve ready for posting; you don't want your blog to look sparse.

Use social media

Your next step is to use social media networks. Set up a Twitter profile if you haven't got one already, and follow people who are influential in your field. Use Twitter to let the world know about your own website and blog. And don’t forget Facebook and LinkedIn. Read other people's blogs too, and leave useful comments, making sure you link your comments back to your own website or blog. This way people will notice you and find out about your work. This may all seem like a lot of effort. But it’s worth it for the chance of landing a great job.

If you're looking for an example close to home then watch out for next week's post from Rachel Guthrie, History of Art student, future arts journalist and seasoned blogger. Rachel's blog has helped sharpen her critic's eye and elevated her online profile within the arts community. Seems like a winning strategy to me!

*Robert Brandl created WebsiteToolTester as a resource to help beginners build their own web presence.

October 29, 2012

Top tips to get you LinkedIn

LinkedInWe've been pretty animated by the topic of social media in Careers & Skills recently and I think it's fair to say we're trying to update, upskill and upgrade! Some of us are more keen than others to like it, tweet it and pin it but one thing we're all agreed on is the need to get LinkedIn. So over to Anne for a quick guide to the world's leading professional network.

Managing your professional online presence is no longer an optional extra with 53% of graduate recruiters using social media to check out potential applicants. Students and graduates have woken up to this and are joining LinkedIn in their droves. And you can see why: LinkedIn is an effective way of developing and increasing your online connections. It can help you find people who share - and may potentially advance - your career interests. Over 175m professionals use LinkedIn, with more than 2 million companies having webpages - ignore it at your peril!

If you're a complete novice, YouTube has some great 'tutorials' including this one:

We think LinkedIn is a great way to establish and cultivate a professional profile (and network), but you need to know your way around. Here goes:

  1. Google yourself first. Before you expand your online presence further, see what's already there. Check your digital footprint - what's left behind for others to see? Adjust your privacy settings, and carefully manage what appears online. And remember: tweet in haste, repent at leisure!
  2. Create a professional profile. Do yourself justice - think about the image you want to project. If you have a blog, twitter feed or visual CV, this can be a good way to draw attention to it - just make sure the content is 'recuiter friendly'. If not, the lock down rule applies. Upload a photo of yourself - people are more likely to connect with a real person than a silhouette. Just make sure the photo is professional - no drunken party pics. One of our job search advisers will be happy to check your online profile and see if it ticks the right boxes. This will form part of your application check though, so you'll need to attend the 'effective applications' workshop first.
  3. Generate career ideas. If you're still weighing up your options or looking for inspiration, LinkedIn can help here too. Type job roles in the 'advanced job search' to type in job roles and this will take you to profiles of LinkedIn members. This can give you a great insight into peoples' career paths. You can also use the search to generate opportunities. Looking for an internship? A quick search yesterday (29/10/12) found 106 UK internships, many for summer 2013.
  4. Research companies. Use the LinkedIn company pages to help you find out more about an organisation's size, employees, locations, culture, jobs and more. Find out which companies are in demand, as well as current trends. Use this information to help shape your applications, and put you ahead of the field.
  5. Expand your job search. Increasingly recruiters are using LinkedIn to advertise positions through their corporate pages and groups. LinkedIn enables you to join relevant groups and subgroups of organisations you're interested in. Through these groups and associated news and discussion threads, you can glean a lot of valuable, insider information. Perhaps you're looking for an internship? A quick search yesterday (29/10/12) generated 106 intrernship opportunities in the UK, many for summer 2013.
  6. Build your contacts. Always personalise your request and offer a reason for your approach. Use other contacts to broker introductions for people who are not listed as a level 1 contact.
  7. Mind your manners. There is such a thing as LinkedIn etiquette - follow it! LinkedIn can be a source of opportunities for graduates, but it's considered ‘bad form’ to ask contacts directly for a job. However, it is ok to ask for help, advice or expertise.
  8. Connect with alumni. You may well come across Warwick alumni when researching companies and organisations. Politely request to link (avoid the standard, impersonal message) and you may find they're willing to share job search strategies or application tips. Tap into groups: Advertising Professional has over 80 000 members so there's a pretty good chance you'll stumble across some Warwick grads. Just find your niche.
  9. Get recommended. If you have completed a work placement or internship, and feel you demonstrated your capabilities and potential, perhaps ask your manager for a testimonial. This is a great way to secure a credible, professional endorsement publicly viewable by potential recruiters. Avoid spamming employers with requests though; be selective about who you approach. There are plenty of online guides to help you avoid the pitfalls, but 'how to ask for a recommendation on LinkedIn' is really succinct and digestible.
  10. Manage your Apps. Use LinkedIn Apps to share files, showcase what you've done and promote your brand i.e. YOU!

Put yourself in the driving seat

I think it's easy to exaggerate the influence of social media on employers' recruitment practices. We're still some way adrift of the US, where an overwhelming proportion of employers make positive and negative decisions based on an applicant's digital profile (at least according to a 2009 Microsoft survey), but you won't have the luxury of knowing which employers choose to scour through myriad social networks, and those who don't. Assume they'll be checking and you won't got far wrong. And bear in mind LinkedIn appears very high in Google searches, so if employers do look, you've got a great chance to make a positive first impression!

August 10, 2012

The power of social media

social mediaA guest post from Tripp Martin, Talent Acquisition Manager at Enterprise Rent-A-Car, assessing the growing importance of social media as a job search tool.

I have seen a lot of changes – both personally and professionally – in 15 years of working since I graduated from James Madison University in 1997. Back then, the Internet was in its infancy and we certainly didn't have YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Job seeking (and socialising!) happened the old fashioned way, but some things hold fast and one of those is the power of networking. The how has changed but not the why...

Surround yourself with good people

One thing I did learn from one of my business professors is the power of networking. I can still hear Dr. Jone’s voice, "I don’t care how successful you are or how high you get in a company, always have your resume up to date and always surround yourself with good people both inside and outside of your organisation." I have always remembered that advice and in my 15 year working career I have enjoyed great success mainly due to the people I have surrounded myself with.

Social media speeds up the process

So how does this relate to social media? The concept of networking and building relationships has not changed. What has changed is how easily and quickly you can pass information and reach contacts within your network. I see many students who wait until graduation to start looking for work. They take one look around and are puzzled about where to start. I encourage students to start building relationships now. If you aren’t already, get involved on campus, get as much work experience as you can, and utilise Careers Services who already have contacts within organisations you are interested in working for. Sign up for LinkedIn and connect with the professionals you meet on campus and through your work experience. We know that Twitter is only used by a minority of students and grads, but that's set to change: it's a great way to build on relationships you develop, so get tweeting.

Making it work

The media is replete with stories of graduates taking to Twitter to further their job search; some of you may be familiar with the story of Ulrike Schulz, who used Twitter to land her dream social media role at We Are Social. If you're a current job seeker and use Twitter (perhaps you just 'lurk') you'll probably have seen the growth in job search hashtags as more and more people switch on the power of online networking. Here are just a few currently doing the rounds:

  • #hireme
  • #needajob
  • #jobsearch
  • #jobhunt

I've got a great personal example of how this works. I've known Peter Bailey, a student from Loughborough University, for over two years. I first met Peter when he applied for the Targetjobs Management Undergraduate of the Year sponsored by Enterprise Rent-A-Car. I interacted with Peter on numerous occasions after that, mainly through SIFE (Students in Free Enterprise). Peter never missed an opportunity to get to know as many business professionals as possible both within Enterprise Rent-A-Car and other companies. Recently, Peter’s 12 month placement in Malaysia fell through. It is difficult enough to find a placement a year in advance but it was now June and he was without a placement for this year. Peter tweeted about his placement falling through, how difficult it would be to find a placement at such short notice and, importantly, that he was actively looking. I immediately contacted Peter and he is now working at one of our local West Midlands offices as a Management Trainee Placement. Not bad for 140 characters!

You're in control

This is a perfect example of the power of social media. You still have to go out and get to know people and build a network of contacts. Social media simply allows you to contact a larger audience more quickly and efficiently. In Peter’s case, instead of calling up his contacts one by one over a matter of weeks trying to find a placement, he simply typed a 90 word message and hit send. That’s powerful, and immediate.

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