Estelle James, Director at Robert Half, gives us some top tips on how to effectively use social media to improve your job prospects. View the video below:
Increasingly, hiring managers don't just rely on a CV, cover letter and interview before deciding whether or not to offer you a position. Social media is now playing a growing role too.
With this in mind, you should ensure that your digital footprint is both suitably professional, whilst also showcasing your personal brand to any would-be employers and convincing them that you deserve the job.
Depending on your privacy settings, all of your social media outlets could be reviewed by hirers, but LinkedIn is the primary one for business, so it's important that you get this right.
LinkedIn has more than 50 million members worldwide and isn't weighed down by funny photos and shared celebrity gossip – instead, you can join groups to help you network with like-minded business individuals, search for company pages for information and career opportunities, and promote yourself to recruiters.
In that regard, this profile is a bit like an extension of your CV, insomuch as you fill it with all your past work experience but – like with your CV – be honest with what you put: build yourself up without exaggerating or lying.
Make sure you complete all the relevant fields to demonstrate your successes, both in your working and educational history – people can search for you by qualification, so it's important to ensure that this is filled out fully.
Also include a professional photo of yourself and list your interests to complement the rest of the content so that recruiters can get a more rounded impression of you.
A recent Robert Half survey has found that 65 per cent of UK finance directors rate your experience section as the most important element of your profile, so consider this when you construct it. Also think about using key words for the industry so that you make your profile easier to find when people are conducting a search.
Where LinkedIn differs from a regular CV is in its ability to link you to people who work in the industry or industries you work in or aspire to work in. This can include colleagues or others you've worked with in a business capacity who can endorse or recommend you, which will add to the credibility of your profile.
However, when trying to link with other professionals, there is a certain etiquette that needs to be observed, otherwise your networking efforts may end up having the opposite effect.
If you meet someone in person and exchange business cards or contact details, ask if you can connect with them on LinkedIn soon afterwards. Leaving it for weeks or months could mean that they forget who you are and you could have lost a potentially useful contact.
You can add people without having met them before if they're connected to another of your connections, but make sure you ask the mutual link if they mind you doing so. It's not unusual to add someone who you have no connection to at all, but you need to fully explain why you added them or they may consider your request spam. Always change the default invitation request language for all connections as doing so will demonstrate that you took consideration in adding them to your network.
Other than LinkedIn, most people will probably be on Facebook and Twitter too and while you may not plan on using these to help you get a job, any future employers may search for you on them to flesh out your CV and find out about your personality, so don't post or tweet things you wouldn't want them to see.
You can always amend your privacy settings so that only people you know can see what you include, but the simplest thing is avoiding controversial messages about others, particularly criticising current employers, vendors or clients. Be careful about the photos that get uploaded too. Generally speaking, if you wouldn’t want your Nan to see a particular photo, you probably wouldn’t want a potential employer to see it either!
There are positive ways in which you can use Facebook and Twitter to build your brand, of course, like following people or organisations from the industries that interest you to help you keep abreast of the latest sector news and potential jobs.
Social media is as much about being active as it is about reading information from others, so keep your profiles updated with messages, share content that interests you and don't be afraid to pass opinions on issues. As long as they're considered, spelled correctly and well thought out, they can help to build your personal brand.
Utilise social media to help boost your job prospects by keeping them updated with relevant content that builds you up and sets you above other candidates. Contact your local recruitment consultant for more advice and job search tips.