Using Social Media in your Job Search

Most of us use some form of Social Media but how can we get the most of it in our job hunt? Here, we'll take a look at the most used sites with tips on using them most effectively when looking for work or raising your profile within your chosen profession.

Tips for using social media while looking for a job. 

What is the web saying about you? Have you Googled yourself lately? This is important as you need to know what an employer will see if they do the same. How 'professional' are your usernames and email address? 

Use the same photo on your public sites e.g., blog, Twitter, Linkedin.

Participate in conversations, share updates and leave comments but remember that everything you put here is in the public domain and visible to employers.

Use the most appropriate media for your interests. Use a small number of targeted sites extensively rather than trying to use many sites at once. 

You can add the url for appropriate profiles on your CV or business card.

Companies and other websites that interest you may have RSS feeds of news that do not go to a site already mentioned. There are many RSS Reader websites and apps that are easy to set up. 

Have a Google account? Set up Google Alerts for your chosen field and companies that interest you.

Mashable.com have tips on using social media in your job search (US focus).

http://libassets.manchester.ac.uk/social-media-guide/

Making the most of LinkedIn

LinkedInis a network to link people with common business or professional interests. Here you have a personal profile, connect with people and join groups which can also have job listings.

LinkedIn is very popular as a means for users to source job vacancies and users to source potential employees.

How to make an impact with your profile:

Complete your profile. Complete profiles are more likely to be found during searches.

Keep your profile updated! When you change something it appears in your connections' feeds. If you are job searching, then you should also have your profile visible to those you are not connected with. Check your settings for options.

Pick the right photo or get a friend to take one (headshot is best), preferably not one taken on a night out (it may be a nice photo but unlikely to be your 'professional face'). Keep the background neutral (not too busy or distracting). 

Update your Headline using keywords that are appropriate to your career profile (not just the default 'Student at NUI Galway')

Summary - use this like a short personal statement or cover letter. What are the main points about your history that make you stand out or that highlight your expertise or what you can offer an employer

Don't ignore the other sections! These include Skills, Publications, Languages, Patents, Certifications. This will increase your visibility. It's relatively easy to fill out the Employment, Education sections, but what about the awards (did you get any academic awards while at NUIG or elsewhere?), organisations (are you a member of any clubs or societies on or off campus?), skills (employers can search using key words so make sure you've mentioned the important ones, particularly languages).

Fluent in a second language? LinkedIn supports many languages and you can edit your profile to add your information in another language easily.

Use keywords: potential employers search for specific words, so instead of only putting in 'BSc IT' add details such as 'Modules included: C++, Java' - get as detailed as possible with techniques / tools / systems used or studied.

Recommendations - have you worked closely with someone (project supervisor, tutor etc), it doesn't have to be an employer reference that you would use on a CV.

Contact details - you can allow group members and others to contact you through LinkedIn, check your settings. We don't recommend adding your mobile number and your personal email may not be necessary if people can contact you through LinkedIn, but if you have a personal website or blog that is relevant to your career then do add that to your profile. 

Personalise your profile url (www.linkedin.com/in/name) and use it in your CV.

Here's a sample student profile created by LinkedIn.

Discussion Groups:

Join relevant groups and participate in discussions where suitable - there are groups covering all types of careers and interests

Join the NUI Galway alumni group and check if there is a group for your specific College / School.

You can get daily or weekly email digests of discussions within your group.

Each group also has a jobs feed.

Connections:

Using connections - see some tips on getting a job in the LinkedIn blog
http://blog.linkedin.com/2012/10/17/how-to-get-a-job-with-your-dream-employer/   

Getting updates:

You can follow companies that interest you. These pages may also have Careers sections and links to their groups. Company pages also allow you to see employees and to see what their career history is. 

You can also follow individuals   

Tracking career options:

See graphs of alumni from your university or subject specialism over various years (it defaults to your own attendance years so perhaps change the years in the search criterion).

You can also browse by degree subject type.

Now that you're started:

Search job opportunities on their job portal for students and recent graduates http://www.linkedin.com/studentjobs

Read gradireland's blog post on using LinkedIn

LinkedIn's Learning Centre has a student section with video and tips

Finally, have a browse through the topics in their blogs tagged LinkedIn for Students. There are loads of hints and tips as well as presentations for using LinkedIn effectively. New features are added regularly.

Getting the most out of Twitter

As well as being used to have real-time conversations and discussions this site is also used by all sorts of brands, companies and individuals as PR in a relaxed, easy to scan way that can be very useful to your job search. Use it to...

Find jobs

Follow jobs sources to hear about the latest jobs being advertised (e.g., @gradireland, @eurobrussels).

Follow specific companies you'd love to work with (e.g., @UNCareers, @KpmgCareersIrl) and hear their latest news and opportunities - also great preparation for interviews to understand what is important to the company.

Search for updates to relevant hashtags (e.g., #JobFairy).

Keep up to date

Professional associations - what is happening in the sector that interests you? (e.g., @CIMA, @EngineerIreland).

General news (e.g., @IDAIRELAND, @IrishTimesBiz).

Sector specific news (e.g., @LookWestie, @siliconrepublic).

Magazines or other publications for your sector (e.g., @newscientist).

Careers related news! (e.g., @NUIGCareers, @GuardianCareers)

Raise your own profile

Be careful what you tweet! Be aware that this is a public site and potential employers can read everything - but this can be used to your advantage.

Use hashtags (#tag) when commenting on major and/or trending topics to maximise the chances that your tweets will be seen by more than your followers.

Engage in (appropriate!) conversation with people you follow and ask for advice.

Do you have a blog relevant to your profession? Link to new posts on Twitter too - most blog sites have an option to feed directly to Twitter and other accounts, you'll never know when someone may come across the link.

Complete your bio so readers know a bit about you (e.g., recent BSc Zoology grad interested in .... ).

Blogs

Blogs can be a useful way to have an online presence. They can be reviews, short and topical opinion piece or a personal experience although rants probably won't be viewed favourably by potential employers. They can be text or incorporate video, photography, art etc.

Aspiring journalists, writers, media, marketing, PR, buyers - particularly fashion, photographers and other creative artists, IT and engineers etc. all can have blogs promoting their skills and knowledge and proving themselves as potential employees.

There are many free sites that host blogs (e.g. Wordpress, Posterous, Tumblr). Comments are useful but make sure you moderate them!  

Getting Creative with your CV

You could use YouTube or another video sharing site to upload a video CV. Some employers now use video as a screening process in their application. Check out Jameson Graduate Programme on YouTube for successful examples.

Use a presentation to showcase your skills. Slideshare and Prezzi have some great examples of CVs.

Finally...

Pinterest is a great source of job search tips using infographics.

Google+ can feature some really useful hangouts.

Follow companies that interest you on Instagram, Snapchat etc. It's another way to see how the company is presenting itself to it's customers.

If you prefer video, there are loads of company videos featuring new grads in 'why work for us' videos to give you an insight. However, these tend to be the larger companies that hire many graduates each year rather than SMEs.  

Social media is constantly changing and developing. Realistically, you can't be using everything and companies can't either. Pick the ones that fit your sector.