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How to use social media to market yourself

IN Career
ON May 26, 2020

We all know how important it is for businesses to market themselves to ensure they stand out against their competitors. But have you ever thought about how to market yourself against other job seekers online?

According to a survey by CareerBuilder, 70% of employers use social media to screen candidates. Social media platforms can be an advantageous tool in your job search but they can also have the opposite effect if your personal profiles aren’t spotless. We dig into the dos and don’ts of online profiles when you’re job seeking.

Social media spring clean

Firstly, it’s imperative to ensure that your online presence doesn’t actively damage your job search. Try something: type your name and location into Google. Do you appear on the first page of the search results? Does the search bring up your Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or LinkedIn accounts? If you are active on these platforms it should do and that is no bad thing since your online presence increases your visibility in the job market. Unless of course what you’re showcasing to the world might tarnish your professional image. This doesn’t mean that you have to look like a saint but if there are compromising photos of you on a drunken night out or you’ve tweeted something you shouldn’t, these can be found by prospective employers. Consider setting your personal social media accounts to private or simply follow the advice to not post anything that you wouldn’t want a prospective employer to see. Deleting accounts is rarely a good idea as employers can equally distrust the lack of an online presence. 

Company culture fit 

In many ways it is good for recruiters to be able to view your social media activity as they provide as way for you to highlight your interests and skills outside of the workplace. Many prospective employers screen candidates’ social media platforms not to find dirt on them but to gain an idea of whether they would be a good fit within the business. Far more emphasis is being placed on company culture now as employees tend to enjoy work more when their values are consistent with that of their workplace and that in turn tends to lead to greater productivity. By scanning social media sites, recruiters and prospective employers are able to get a good sense of the personality behind the CV. If you believe your personal channels paint a good picture of you, including interesting and thoughtful content, that is brilliant, but it is always wise to conduct a thorough examination just in case you were tagged in something you wouldn’t want to broadcast to employers or a questionable comment you made years ago surfaces. This includes any criticisms of past or current employers – even if you feel such comments were justified, it won’t look great to prospective employers.  

LinkedIn is a must…

These days, owning and maintaining a LinkedIn account is essential. Recruiters and employers are increasingly using the platform to source candidates for jobs as well as to advertise vacancies so a presence on here is an absolute must. Ensure it is kept up to date, paying attention to key details such as employment dates and triple check that they match your CV. Include anything that will boost your value as a candidate and, eventually, an employee. Think education, a complete employment history, and any certifications or skills you’ve gained. Post regularly, even if you are simply sharing or commenting on relevant articles or posts. Not only will that keep you in the feed, it shows that you take an active interest in your area and are keeping up to date with industry news and views. It’s also a great place to build connections and engage with the industry you work in. 

… but don’t forget about Twitter and Facebook

LinkedIn isn’t the only place to demonstrate your industry expertise – Twitter is a great platform from which to add commentary on industry news and trends. Show prospective employers that you are engaged and knowledgeable and ‘like’ interesting posts from companies within your industry – especially those you’d most like to work for. Whilst you might not view your Facebook account as a professional platform, prospective employers could and do still view them so it is vital that it doesn’t contain anything that you wouldn’t want them to see. Instead, think of it as another opportunity to build on your own personal brand. Showcase the varied interests you have outside of work, whether that’s outdoor pursuits, theatre or dance, art, cooking or reading. This all goes to show you as a rounded individual and adds to your branding.

Most of us have some sort of online presence and it is likely that it will be viewed at some stage during your job search so, instead of fearing it, turn it into a positive. Showcase your personal brand to the world and get prospective employers talking for all the right reasons.

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