Using Social Media for Your Career

Social media is a hot topic

Facebook is the second most used website in the world (second only to Google) and has more than 400 million active users, 50% of whom will log on in any given day. Twitter ranks 11th, Wordress 19th and LinkedIn is at number 29. To put this in perspective the BBC is currently at 41 and Apple, who must be getting a lot more hits since the launch of the iPad is at 44.
It seems that our key desire when using the net is to connect with our friends through one medium or another. If you agree with me and the general consensus, that word of mouth is the best form of recommendation, it stands to reason that letting your online friends know about your job search could just net you the job of your dreams.
Obviously this needs to be tethered with the fact you are probably also friends with your current colleagues and boss. If you aren’t then one of your friends might be.
The good and the bad news about social media is that it makes a small world ever smaller. If you are gainfully employed and your Company knows nothing about your desire to spread your wings and fly to pastures new advancing through social media needs to be covert.
My absolute favourite site for recruitment is LinkedIn. A professional site that almost asks for you to post your CV as your profile it is ideally geared to career advancement. You can see people to three degrees and can make contact with your 2nd and 3rd degree network via referral or by upgrading to a business, business plus or pro account which buys you InMail credits.
Headhunters, recruiters and employers themselves love this site and use it regularly to search for candidates to fill current vacancies. If your profile contains the keywords that a typical search would include, be assured you are going to be appearing in some shortlists. No doubt you will be getting a call or an email to assess your interest in position XYZ.
So, what can you do to help yourself?
Just as you would shine your shoes and wear a clean suit to an interview you can clean-up and polish your online profile too
  • Create what you want to post in a package such as word that highlights spelling errors, so that you can make sure that you have none
  • Get a friend to read through what you have written to make sure that it is easy to read and makes sense; the best type of friend to do this is one that is not in your industry. A future line manager might understand jargon but a recruiter or HR manager won’t so plain English is your best language
  • Double check dates as these might be used to cross-reference later
  • Write enough to explain what you do, how you do it, who you do it for and why people pick you. To back this up you can ask some select people to write recommendations for you
  • Try to put yourself in a hiring manager’s shoes; does your profile say enough about what you have done and are doing to make them want to know more. Do you come across as an honest and open person? Do you appear professional and likeable? Just as someone can tell if you are smiling on a phone-call, so a reader can get this information from a profile.
Now double check your other profiles. Do they ‘match’ what you have said on LinkedIn?
If your LinkedIn profile is all about customer service and keeping calm under pressure and you are swearing like a trooper over something that was said on the TV via your Facebook page you are not going to be displaying a calm under pressure image.
If you think it is not important, or the two are not connected, then I will tell you a secret; I joined Facebook on a request from a client who wanted me to verify the character of a candidate.   
This article was the basis for a chapter of our book; Clickst@rt Your Career.
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