Using social networking to market yourself as a candidate to prospective employers
There is a great analogy about the difference between Facebook and LinkedIn – Facebook is where you socialize and talk with friends as if on a night out, while LinkedIn is as if you are attending an interview or recruitment fair. While there are differences, it is important that the two reflect each other. The influence of social media has increased dramatically over the past number of years. Employers and recruiters are beginning to use social media more to source and attract employees. In light of this, those searching for the right job need to market themselves as potential prospective employees, through social media like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. While Facebook and Twitter are social platforms, LinkedIn has always been the industry standard in where to market yourself professionally, but its importance has grown over the past number of years in line with social media growth. LinkedIn is about creating relationships with fellow professionals in your chosen field. It is not about how many connections you have but about how often you show up on peoples news feed. There are a number of steps that can be taken in order to market yourself as a potential employee through social media like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter:
- Choose how you want to market yourself– the content of your LinkedIn page will matter, so ensure that it is truthful and accurate. Also ensure that the information matches the information on your CV. Any discrepancies between the two could come across as dishonest. In regards to Facebook and Twitter ensure that your profile picture is appropriate for the image you want to present. If your page is public ensure the content is of a nature that you would want a perspective employer to see.
- Complete your profile – having the right profile on LinkedIn is vital to attracting employers. You should have the basic information filled out, including an appropriate profile picture and it should be congruent with your Twitter profile or, if you have a bio on you company website. If there is a mismatch between one social media platform to another is may be seen as if you are trying to present yourself as something that you are not. Your LinkedIn profile should also have more detail than your CV for example volunteer activities, projects, etc and be kept up to date with education and career goals.
- Be sure that your LinkedIn profile emphasizes the direction you want to head in, for example if you want to move towards the accounting field ensure that is the information and experience that you are highlighting. When joining groups on LinkedIn, ensure that they are related to the area that you are moving towards. Also ensure that your Facebook and twitter profile represents this direction as well by liking pages or following organisations related to the field.
- Joining groups on LinkedIn has its benefits, but being active in the right group is essential. Participating in discussions in these groups will help raise your profile. It can also help you connect with more people in the industry that you want to carve out a career in. This feature on Facebook would be to interact on pages or Twitter would be to reply to a tweet or follow the link provided by the tweet and join the discussion there.
- One of the most important features on LinkedIn that is not available on other social networking platforms is the recommendation tool. When you get recommended by a colleague or manager, the recommendation is public and any potential employers are aware that they are real. They can read the recommendation and see who it is from and can also click and check the referee’s profile to make sure that it is legit. Be sure to ask co-workers or past employers to write a recommendation for you as these will be a representation of your work ethic. Be sure to return the favour by doing recommendations for others.
Social media can be a useful tool but you need to be careful that you are presenting an image that shows your best qualities. By following the above pointers you will be able to use social media to your advantage to land your dream job!