Social networking and your career

With unemployment at approx. 2.6 million in the UK, job-hunting is becoming an increasingly fraught experience. There are approximately 6 people chasing every vacancy. In many cases the other 5 people will have just as much, if not more experience/qualifications as you do.

So how do you make sure that you are the top of that queue that you are aware of the vacancies in your sector and you get that crucial first interview?  Here we look at Social Networking and how it can maximise your chances of landing that job.

Social Networking has become increasingly important in the job market. In the past when hunting for jobs one would scan newspaper ads, submit cv’s to agencies or make speculative applications. There has been a gradual shift away from this model in the last few years. As well as using the traditional methods, there are a number of new ways to get that crucial first interview using Social Media.

1. LinkedIn

Create a professional LinkedIn profile and start building your network. Join groups relevant to your industry and follow individuals that interest you within your sector. Ask for recommendations from past colleagues to help prospective employers build up an accurate picture of you. Also ensure that you have an up to date CV uploaded, detailing all your experience.

Many companies now have Company Pages on LinkedIn which amongst other things details any current vacancies. You can also get more information on particular individuals in that company, their past, qualifications etc. This will help you build a picture about the kinds of people working there and what they could be looking for in a new hire.

Having a LinkedIn profile also makes you more visible to recruitment agencies. They regularly use LinkedIn to look for suitable candidates for their open vacancies so this is obviously a good way of making yourself known to them.

2. Facebook

Although Facebook is not a professional social media site in the same vein as LinkedIn, it does have its uses when looking for a job. Find the Facebook page of companies you are interested in and ‘Like’ them. This means you will have access to any news or activities within the company and by definition, new job vacancies. Increases your visibility to the company, comment on posts, make posts yourself and become involved in the Company’s Facebook community. You will make important contacts and learn about the company culture, which will help in that first interview.

3. Twitter

As with Facebook, follow companies that interest you, tweet on relevant subjects and retweet any interesting posts from companies you like, this will allow you to stand out from the crowd.

4. Blogging

This can be a very interesting way of letting prospective employers know what you have to offer. Whether you are a web designer or writer, blogging about your ideas/concepts will enable employers to see you as a potential leader and asset to their company.

A word of caution. Whilst social media has its benefits in job hunting, you must also be aware of the potential pitfalls. There are many stories about employers being scared away by profile pictures and stories on Facebook.

Companies now routinely run social media checks on potential candidates to ensure that said candidates meet their expectations. Make sure your privacy settings are set correctly and that companies aren’t seeing things you don’t want them to see!