Starting the job search for the first time can make you feel like a tiny drop in a talented and qualified ocean – but a well-planned social media strategy could position you above your peers.
In fact, 70 percent of employers admit to screening applicants’ social media accounts before hiring, so your accounts are a powerful platform for creating, finding and securing opportunities.
“In a digital world, your social profile is what’ll get you in the door for an interview. It’s also something people will ‘study’ before meeting you – hence, a good social profile often ensures a good first impression (in most cases),” the Editor of a global technology media brand told Study International.
If you’re about to enter the grad job market, it’s worth getting your social media accounts in order and putting a strategy in place.
1) Perform your own digital audit
In the digital age, everyone has a footprint of themselves online. Some of this footprint will be things you’re aware of like social media accounts and job profiles, but you may be unaware that other parts exist.
Articles your name is mentioned in, pictures uploaded to the web and even companies or people you’re associated with can often be found through a simple Google search.
It’s important to make sure your digital footprint is as clean as possible, so Google your name and see what it brings up. If you’re not proud of the results, you can change your social media settings so you’re not as searchable, or even ask the platform to take an article down if it paints you in a bad light (no guarantees this will be possible, though).
If you can find these pages, so can a future employer – get ahead of the game and make sure everything looks professional.
2) Upload a professional headshot and description on social media
Your profile picture is the first thing employers will notice when they find your social media. A quick Google search can bring up your Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram profiles, making it the most obvious way to make a good (or bad) first impression.
When you’ve spent the last few years surrounded by student parties and mishappenings, you can quickly lose perspective of what’s acceptable outside your student bubble.
Ditch the glitter when it comes to public profiles. Source: Giphy
Make sure you have a professional head shot against a neutral background set as your profile picture and ensure any photos of you that could look bad to employers are only on your private channels, if anywhere.
We all have pictures that don’t show us in the best state, but in your employer’s eyes you will be representing the company once you work for them – would you want someone throwing up in the street or shouting obscenities representing you? Unlikely.
Hayley Dugale, a recruitment manager based in the UK, told Study International it’s also important to keep your profile up-to-date with your job roles and duties, especially on LinkedIn. Buzzwords relating to your industry allows you to be searchable by recruitment professionals, and get you noticed by industry leaders.
3) Engage with businesses and influencers in your industry
Even if you don’t have many followers, following corporations, start-ups and influencers in the industry will keep you up-to-date with market trends as you make a name for yourself.
Replying to tweets and engaging in conversations with these people will allow you to build your network and find job opportunities before your peers.
Being a professional keyboard warrior is a good way to make connections. Source: Giphy
This will show your future employers that you’re proactively seeking opportunities and are dedicated to the field, says Dugdale. While other graduates have submitted applications that now sit in an email inbox, you’ll have already started forming professional relationships that will serve you well in your job search.
Many companies are using social media to recruit future employees and build their brand in response to consumer trends, so while it may seem like a shot in the dark, you might find people are just as willing to talk to you.
4) Post relevant and conversation-starting material
Another way to use social media to find a grad job is to bring potential influencers to you. This strategy relies on you posting engaging content on industry trends that encourage employers and others in the field to communicate with you.
These posts could be articles you’ve read, recently released reports or blog posts you’ve written on relevant topics. Try to include your own opinion in your caption if you are reposting articles, or even ask a question to spark a debate.
Here’s an example:
If you regularly post engaging material and enter into conversations with people in the industry, you’re more likely to be thought of when positions arise.
5) Have direct conversations with people once you’ve established a connection
After you’ve sent a few public messages back and forth, you should introduce yourself on private messenger. This allows you to have a closer relationship with people in the industry and uncover any openings.
Using private messenger, you can share that you’re seeking a graduate role, and you may find positions that are not advertised online. Even if that person doesn’t have any leads for you, they can still give you advice on making it in the industry and provide mentorship through your early career.
This will also help you look proactive and confident – precisely what employers are looking for in graduate talent. You could have all the skills on paper, but by showing you have people skills and initiatives to go with it, you’re going above and beyond your graduate peers.