As a graduate, and only 23 years old, I know searching for your first job can be incredibly daunting. As well as feeling like a full time job in itself, job hunting is one of the many emotional rollercoasters you must ride as a young adult. Being clued up on the dos, don’ts and current trends is therefore essential. Just as graduate recruitment, from a hiring perspective, has changed in recent years, so must the strategies of a job seeking grad.
Using out of date job seeking techniques can have a seriously negative impact on a job hunter’s success. The rise of social media, for one, is a tool key to 21st century job searching.
Gone are the days of newspaper ads, face-to-face applications, in person interviews and immediate starts. Its social media, job boards, telephone/Skype interviews, assessment centers and notice periods which have, in the last few years, become the norm.
With the number of graduates increasing year on year, in 2016 it’s critical to stand out from thousands of other graduates. Preparation is key. For example, starting to develop your social media profiles and focusing on building an online professional presence early on is a great way to get ahead of the game.
Although social media is a relatively new phenomenon, checking Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat is a daily practice for most of us. Even grandma is poking you on Facebook and following the latest trends on Twitter. That being said, knowing how to optimise these channels for professional purposes is unknown to most. Assuming social media is merely a personal tool could well limit your career opportunities.
Social media is now a necessary element for job search success as it’s becoming such an integral part of how we communicate. Effort is therefore required to make sure your online profiles are being noticed, and for the right reasons! (Time to take down those London ‘Thirsty Thursday’ photos.)
Although social media creates a large window of opportunities, if used incorrectly (or not at all) it can also be the one thing to shut down all those prospects in an instant.
No presence on Twitter, Facebook and especially LinkedIn equates to no online profile. Not only does this show that you’re out of touch, but it may translate to your performance being out of date at work. Being unsearchable on Google could also entail you being mistaken for someone with the same name. It is likely that in most cases this is not something that you’d want…unless your name is George Clooney of course.
To sum up, here are my top tips for creating a credible and positive online presence:
- Before commencing your job search it is essential that you’ve created a solid and complete LinkedIn profile.
- Treat your LinkedIn profile like a CV, make sure it contains work experience, achievements and everything that is relevant for your dream job.
- Secondly, add a photo, but make sure it’s just you and not ‘that’ group photo from your 2010 girl’s holiday to Zante.
- Make sure that your profile is constantly active. Posting something weekly that is relevant and educational in your updates will be seen by everyone who views your profile, in this case, the more the merrier. Weekly participation means more activity, more activity means the more visibility and the more visible you are the more effective it will be, as long as it is kept positive and professional.
Social media is the best way to let people know who you are and what you can do: it comes down to simple marketing. If set up correctly the first time round, social media can lead you to have an excellent online professional reputation and who knows… even your next dream job. Good luck!