Social media | social networking online

It is important to maintain a professional presence online. You can use this as a great tool for making contacts with recruiters, professionals and conveying a professional image. Be aware of how you present yourself on social networking sites and other platforms. Many employers use social media as a tool to “check out” job applicants for suitability to the role on offer. 

Twitter

Twitter can be an excellent tool for job hunting and networking with recruiters and professionals. It is a very ‘open’ social network as you can usually follow whoever you like on Twitter without them ‘approving’ you as a friend. This makes it easy to find, follow and communicate with organisations and professionals in every industry.

It is frequently used by employers to advertise internships and jobs, promote events and competitions, and communicate with potential job applicants. For some sectors, eg media and marketing, employers will often expect you to have an active Twitter profile. Some jobs and work experience opportunities may only be advertised via Twitter, so if you are not using it, you can miss valuable opportunities.

Linkedin

LinkedIn can be described as a key global professional networking site and can be an invaluable tool for people to network with recruiters. Many have made professional contacts in even the most competitive sectors, such as the media.
Employers are also using LinkedIn as a recruitment tool. Eg one leading graduate employer said that her company may no longer use application forms to recruit – they may just use LinkedIn instead.

Facebook

Facebook is the world’s most popular social networking web site. It enables users to connect with friends and family by sharing status updates, personal photos and other items of interest. Founder Mark Zuckerberg created Facebook in 2004 while a student at Harvard, designing the site as a means for other university students to communicate and to socialize online. The idea quickly spread from there and has become a global phenomenon, with more than 160 million users in the United States alone.

Learning to leverage Facebook’s popularity can prove beneficial to you and improve your chances of increasing your network database.

Join groups, launch events and make personal/business pages and manage your social network reach.

DIGITAL FOOTPRINT

Many employers check candidates’ online profiles (Google searches, checking Facebook and Twitter profiles etc) at some point during the selection process. Your digital footprint will form part of the overall impression that the recruiter has of you. You have every opportunity to impress recruiters with a professional-looking profile, but you can damage your chances of getting a job with an ill-judged photo or comment that makes you look unprofessional.

To ensure you maintain a professional online profile:

  • Keep your personal and professional social networking profiles separate, and make sure you set your privacy settings to the maximum on any profiles you want to maintain for purely social purposes (e.g. Facebook).
  • Do a regular Google search on your name (while logged out of your social networking accounts) and look at the search results through the eyes of a potential recruiter.

Recruiters

What won’t impress potential employers:

  • Poor grammar and spelling
  • Inappropriate photos (i.e drug use)
  • Lying about qualifications or experience
  • Unprofessional screen names/emails/usernames
  • Racist, sexist or offensive comments.

What will impress potential employers:

  • Excellent communication skills
  • Professional image portrayed
  • Wide range of interests
  • Expressions of experience
  • Positive recommendations, achievements, qualifications and awards