Whether we consider it to be intrusive or not, the first step of many employers when considering candidates is to do a quick bit of online research on the individual. This could mean navigating to the candidate’s LinkedIn profile, their information on a former or current company’s website, or a check of their Twitter feed. When it comes to the world of social media, as with day to day life, first impressions are very important, and that is why it is worth candidates thinking carefully about how they are perceived on social media channels and the internet as a whole.
In this blog, we look at ways candidates can make their social media brands shine, meaning all they need to do is excel at filling in applications and in the interview room!
When we know that many employers ritually check a candidate’s LinkedIn profile, why fall at the first hurdle when applying for a role? By making sure your LinkedIn brand is up to scratch, you leave yourself free to focus on other elements of an application.
LinkedIn is the world’s busiest professional social network, recently purchased by Microsoft for a cool £19.8 billion, but while it is a lot more formal than channels such as Facebook and Twitter, some similar golden rules attached to a successful account apply.
Activity is key, and your profile should show some evidence of recent posts which are relevant to the sector you are looking for your next role in. Sharing articles and blogs, ideally written by yourself, but alternatively from respected news sources, can go a long way to presenting you as someone who plays an active role in his or her industry. Delivered any successful presentations at your office, in a seminar or conference? Why not post slides from the presentation for all to see? Similarly, any tangible evidence of your success, be it hitting targets, awards you have won, or positive press coverage will be a central part of enhancing your attractiveness as a candidate.
This principle filters down to your endorsements at the bottom of the profile page. LinkedIn allows your connections to endorse your skills in a number of areas. You can encourage the organic endorsing of your skills by making sure you add every present or past colleague and business acquaintances, as well as your friends, as a connection. By endorsing their skills, you can expect that a fair share will return the favour.
LinkedIn is home to a number of groups which cover a range of sectors, acting as discussion forums, platforms for news and announcements, and company developments. By joining up with groups relevant to your target audience of your job search, you show evidence that you are an active industry member invested in a sector, rather than a bystander with only a casual interest.
Lastly – don’t forget the LinkedIn basics. Make sure all your job information, such as past and present roles, dates and key responsibilities are all updated and proofread for their spelling and grammatical correctness. That’s an important step in the process of building a social media brand on LinkedIn.
With its 150 character limit and deluge of sharp and engaging content, you can make Twitter work for you as a job candidate. Make sure you are following key influencers in your chosen sectors, and retweet the posts that take your interest. Keep your timeline busy with a variety of posts, from the lighthearted to topical debates, and, of course, it can always pay dividends to follow a company you’ve applied to – they might appreciate the interest you have taken and you will be able to keep track of their news ahead of a potential interview. As with any of the less formal and more social networks, make sure your posts that are not work related are not at risk of compromising your application. Cross linking is also a good idea – if you’ve just posted a piece of content on your LinkedIn, why not share it from that network to your Twitter, and give yourself a chance of increasing your connection count?
As far as the social media profile of the job seeker goes, Facebook can present more pitfalls than potential benefits. There’s no reason to shy away from lighthearted content on the basis that a prospective employer might check your account. But be aware that any content that could be considered racy or offensive to some could compromise your application, should it be viewed in a light you didn’t intend.