Social media lets you connect with potential employers, learn about new opportunities and communicate with people you might not be able to meet face-to-face. It gives you access to a huge variety of networks for gaining insight and information. It also allows you to showcase your talents and skills and create your personal brand.
While Twitter and Facebook can play a role in your job search, LinkedIn is the more professional method of online networking. It can help you connect with professionals around the world and also help you learn about new opportunities and better prepare for them.
Consider LinkedIn as your electronic CV; use it to demonstrate the skills and experience you have and to raise your visibility with existing and new networks.
Use it to help you:
Here are some tips for creating a professional profile:
This can reflect your career goals and contain contact information. The site will default to your most recent job title, so make sure you change it to create a strong personal brand if it doesn’t do the trick.
A picture speaks a thousand words. Using a well chosen photograph can create a great first impression. Consider the image your photo can convey to a prospective employer.
A well crafted summary of your education, employment and other relevant aspects of your professional life is the foundation of your profile. A clear, concise and professional story reflects your career journey to date, including how university has shaped your skills and how you wish to transition to graduate employment. Try to keep this fairly brief.
Consider how the skills, knowledge, and experience from paid work and internships relate to employment. Use action verbs (managed, administered) and key words from your target industry to help make the link.
Include fundraising activities, community engagement and supporting others.
If you came directly from high school to university, list subjects you loved and any related extra-curricular activities and academic recognition. If school is a distant memory, focus on your university journey. Ensure that you list the full title of your course and the university you attend.
Once your profile is up, you will instantly be able to communicate with millions of members.
Check the resources on LinkedIn (students.linkedin.com) for more advice and direction.
Image source: Aurora Project
Although LinkedIn is the standard source for professional social media and networking, use Twitter to demonstrate your confidence using social media and ability to communicate and network innovatively. If you are interested in working for particular organisations, sign up to their Twitter pages to find out the latest company information and recruitment activities.
Treat Facebook as more than just a social experience. For example, let your network know what type of role you are looking for. Could they put you in touch with people who could help? Use it to connect with relevant groups, including employer pages, which can be a great way of asking questions and getting tips.
Google yourself regularly. What information is available about you? Do you like what you see? Monitor changes in privacy settings and take steps to remove or limit the visibility of any undesirable content.
Start before you need a job. Networking is a long game based on developing and maintaining reputation and relationships; neither happen overnight.
There are hundreds of social platforms out there. Find out where the people in your field of interest spend time and focus your efforts in these places.
Get a feel for how people in your field of interest communicate on different platforms and adjust your style accordingly.
Stay relevant on other people’s radar. This includes sharing interesting content and participating in discussions – but not sending irrelevant updates. Know how to switch broadcasts on and off.
A consistent personal brand across platforms creates greater impact and enables people to easily identify you