The way we use our social media channels can have an impact on our career hunt. Employers are taking to the web to find a treasure trove of information on potential hires. In many cases, what they find is detrimental as opposed to helpful. Facebook pictures gone awry, Twitter posts that were intended to be funny but missed their mark and fell into the offensive category, Instagram photos that reveal a little more than desired, and, well, I think Snapchat is designed to save you from yourself….
Getting your online footprint just right is essential if you want to market yourself effectively to employers. What will they find if they Google you? Go on, do it now. I’ll hang on here and have a cup of tea whilst you do.
How did you get on? All good? Did you find nothing but good news? Or were there any hidden gems that left you shocked? Chances are, you will find something unexpected, be it good, bad or indifferent. Google has a habit of doing that – recording all sorts of information about us we thought would never see the light of day again.
Twitter can be especially powerful. Plenty of us pay less attention to our Twitter privacy than we do to, say, Facebook. Yet, our tweet history is there for all to see, and the diligent employer will look through enough to gauge a clear picture of your personality. What will they find? Well, here are 5 tips to ensure it is what they want to see.
1 Be who you say you are
We’ve all done it. We have all applied for a job that we aren’t really that in to, but stated on the application form how interested we are in a career in law, investment banking, digital marketing or something equally not in keeping with our personality. Employers will look at your tweets to see how valid this statement is. Picture the scene. You have told PwC that you are interested in accountancy and business, yet you follow TOWIE celebs and clothes companies. You aren’t reflecting the interests you told the employer. You should be following people in the industry you are applying for. What’s more, you should make observant tweets about that subject, commenting on pieces of news, involving yourself in conversations and showing your awareness of what’s going on. Employers look at your followers and tweets. Make sure you are demonstrating the interests you say you have.
2 Get involved in conversations
On Twitter, it is acceptable to conversation hijack. You can use this to great effect by: –
1) Finding conversations relevant to the career you want, by people who have influence.
2) Adding to the conversation.
The best way to do this is to provide a thoughtful comment that demonstrates you know about the person you are trying to reach, and allows them to reply. You want your tweet to be interesting enough to warrant a response. Questions work really well for this.
“I notice you are HR manager for Google, what are you looking for in your grads?” (Is that 140 characters?)
Jumping into conversations with people who are relevant to the industry for which you are applying is essential. It shows you are aware, proactive and willing to learn. Twitter search is perfect for finding such conversations. Twitter search is not like Google search. Think about what someone might tweet: – “Recruiting new grads today for @google” or something of that ilk. Look at the tweeters you find and jump in with something relevant.
3 Make your bio relevant
Tell people who you are in your bio. Leave nothing to obscurity or interpretation. If you want a career in accountancy, say “aspiring accountant”. If you are much more vague about your potential career, state “Business student seeking a graduate level career”. Your bio should instantly give a flavour of where you are at in your life and your interests. Anticipate that employers will look at this. They also know that if you are eventually working for their company, you will representing their brand. If you have something misguided and irrelevant, that says a lot about how you will represent their company. Can they trust you with their brand? Demonstrate that you can be trusted by writing a relevant bio.
4 Weed out the potential landmines
The determined employer will dig through your tweets like Alan Titchmarsh on pro plus. There might be something in amongst your 140 character contributions that will place you in a less than exceptional light. Ensure that you do not fall victim to carelessness. If you know that your tweet history is whiter than white, breathe a sigh of relief and implement the proactive tweeting strategy to gain notice with employers. If you think there is a remote chance that you tweeted something remotely controversial somewhere along the line, then get weeding. If that strikes you as too much effort, switch your tweets to private. Better safe than sorry.
5 Redirect back to your relevant blog posts
Blogging is a great, no essential, way of showcasing your interests, motivations and proactivity. You should have a blog, and you should write about your potential career. What’s in the news? What’s going on in relevant companies? What are you doing at university that’s interesting? You should be blogging regularly to showcase everything you are interested in. You should then post these links to your Twitter account. When an employer inevitably looks at your account, they will see how interesting, motivated and hard working you are. And wouldn’t that be a great impression to create?
Don’t know how to create a blog? You can do it on your Kloodle profile – http://kloodle.com.
Your social media footprint is an accurate representation of who you are, what you can offer a company and how employable you are. Ensure that your profiles are telling the story you want people to read. Oh, and make a Kloodle profile. Its the best way to showcase your professional attributes.