Bryony Gibson, Managing Director of Bryony Gibson Consulting, shares her thoughts on how you can use social media to help, rather than hinder, your career.
Social networks are where you go online to chat with friends about things that interest you, but do you ever stop to think about the impact you could be having on your career? Despite being called ‘social media’, research suggests that 93% of employers screen your social footprint before making a job offer. They examine the nature of photographs, videos and posts, references to drink, drugs, race and gender, the quality of your communication skills, your range of interests and whether your personality fits with their company’s culture. More than half the hiring managers interviewed said when doing this they’d found cause to reject a prospective employee. A third said they decided to employ a candidate after looking at their social profile.
With over 2bn global users Facebook’s influence is huge and by allowing jobs to be posted on company pages in the US and Canada, with applicants completing pre-populated application forms, it’s only a matter of time before we see job postings in our news feeds. If you’re looking for a new challenge you should update your bio to reflect your career and ambition. You can also add up to five photos here, so pick wisely to highlight your personality and interests positively. With 52m tweets about job hunting last year, Twitter is a major source of opportunity. Keep up to date by using the best hashtags e.g. #recruiting, #hiring, #NEjobs. Include your company, job title and passions in your biog and regularly tweet about industry related matters. Retweeting or replying to people of influence can raise your profile, but adding them to Lists is a more effective way to get noticed, especially if it’s got a flattering name!Instagram More creative than other networks, commenting is king on Instagram. Keep it clean and be thoughtful to the way you come across. Stay authentic, and try not to pounce on everything someone you admire is saying. Insta Stories are a good way to show off a glimpse of the real you.
LinkedIn The most popular dedicated business platform with almost 500m members, LinkedIn is more than a network; it’s a source for job vacancies, with more than 10m active job posts live at any time. Although getting established can be difficult if you’ve just graduated or don’t have industry contacts, a strong online presence is essential to ensure your skills and experience are available for recruiters to see. Be helpful, engage with Groups and conversations, but remember to stay professional, especially with your photo. The image you choose has a big impact on a prospective employer’s first impression.The Social Media Mullet Whilst I can’t claim credit for the analogy, when you’re looking for a new job the best way to think of social media is as ‘mullet’ haircut: business at the front, party at the back. Make sure all of your profiles focus on your achievements and goals. Include keywords that appear in job descriptions so you resonate with employers; this will also help them to find you easily. When you start to look for a new role, have a purge of your pictures and posts. Remove bad language and try to lead with positive work related content ahead of your interests. Rather than simply liking things linked to your job, make a comment or start a meaningful conversation.
Despite being called 'social media', research suggests that 93% of employers screen your social footprint before making a job offer.Bryony Gibson
If you write blogs, keep them focused on areas of expertise. If you do this well while building a structured group of contacts, then it can really help you to gain respect as an authoritative voice in your industry. If an employer has a hard choice to make your margin for success can be very fine. Whatever you decide to do socially, staying true to your beliefs is important, just keep in mind that those drunken holiday pictures need to vanish while you’re searching for that dream job!