Why and how to leverage social media when thinking of a career change
Social media has connected the world in ways we could never have imagined 20 years ago. Anyone with an internet connection can now share news, ideas, memories and more with others close to home - and around the world.
It’s clear that being on social media can help expand your personal network - but what about professional opportunities? When we polled our professional connections on how much social media helped them secure their most recent role, here’s how they responded:
- Not at all - 38%
- Slightly - 19%
- Somewhat - 19%
- Significantly - 25%
With 63% stating that social media played at least some part in securing their latest career move, it’s clear that this can be a valuable tool when properly utilised. But, exactly what benefits does it offer to jobseekers?
Social Media for Jobseekers:
Here are just a few of the ways in which being active on social media can augment your job-hunting efforts:
- More networking opportunities with professionals in your chosen industry.
- A greater chance of being ‘headhunted’ by recruiters and business leaders.
- An opportunity to present yourself to employers as a complete person, as opposed to a list of skills on a CV.
However, with the majority of candidates having accounts on at least one platform, standing out on social media today will require a little more than just signing up. So, what steps can you take to get ahead of the game?
Smile for the Camera!
When it comes to your profile picture for LinkedIn, take a clear headshot. Suiting up is entirely optional; if this isn’t your style, smart-casual attire may suffice.
As other social platforms tend to be less formal, you may choose to take separate photos for these in a slightly more relaxed setting.
Separating Your Professional and Private Lives
Re-visit your social accounts and remove any posts that you think could cause a prospective employer to question your professionalism. Examples may include:
- Rants or criticism regarding a previous employer.
- Strong political opinions.
- Bleary-eyed throwback photos from Freshers’ Week …
If you wish to keep these cherished memories alive, you might consider re-homing them in a separate, personal account. Make sure this is set to private, or they may still be discovered by eagle-eyed employers!
Get the tone right - and the rest will follow!
Every industry will have different expectations when it comes to tone of voice. Some business leaders favour an informal, straight-forward communication style, while others may prefer a formal manner, or expect candidates to show creativity and humour.
To determine which tone to use, take a good look at the social feeds of your industry network. This will be time well spent, as it will ensure that once you begin to engage with your network, you’ll be speaking their language!
Which social platforms should I join?
In our view, it’s far better to have a strong presence on just one or two platforms than to be barely active across 20. Building a following on any platform requires a significant investment of both time and effort - so choose carefully.
To make things easier, here’s an overview of some of the most popular social networking sites, as well as a few pointers to help you get the best out of them:
With a user base of over 500 million worldwide, LinkedIn is the largest professional social media platform and a great place to connect with professionals and businesses in a wide range of industries.
Tips for Success:
- Think of your LinkedIn profile as an extension of your CV and regularly update it with any new skills, achievements and experience.
- Persuade your managers, colleagues and friends to endorse you for skills - and don’t forget to return the favour!
- State on your social profiles that you are actively looking for work - and the type(s) of role you are looking for to ensure the right employers and recruiters find you.
- Join LinkedIn groups to find new roles and build a support network of like-minded professionals.
- Get involved with discussions led by fellow professionals and industry influencers - and start your own. This is a great way to demonstrate your expertise and learn about the latest developments within your industry.
With 1.45 billion active users every week, Facebook is the world’s largest social media platform. Although not solely professionally-focused, it remains an excellent resource for jobseekers looking to connect with businesses and recruiters.
Tips for Success
- There are many active local community groups dedicated to helping users find employment. Join any relevant groups and look out for the latest opportunities on your feed.
- Ask for your friends to point you in the direction of any upcoming opportunities.
- If you are interested in working for, or simply learning more about a business, take a look at their Facebook page and any content they share. Getting involved in discussions around their content can help you build a rapport with that business and could lead to an interview.
With over 300 million users worldwide, Twitter is a popular microblogging platform, allowing users to share news, ideas, videos and much more. Businesses across all industries are active on the platform, making it ideal for building your professional network.
Tips for Success
- Be sure to include your professional interests in your bio.
- Follow recruitment agencies covering your industry - and engage with their posts.
- Twitter is a great platform to learn about the latest industry trends, so keep an eye on your feed.
- Learn to use hashtags correctly to generate more engagement for your tweets.
- If you build a rapport with a recruiter or decision-maker, you may consider sending them a DM (Direct Message) to arrange a meeting or interview.
Get ready, get social!
We hope you enjoyed our guide and are now brimming with social inspiration! Remember, the world of social media is constantly changing and evolving, so don’t get left behind. Spend a few minutes each day reading about the latest social media trends and practices - and don’t be afraid to get involved with social media discussions, such as #BufferChat - (Tuesdays at 10am EST/ 3pm GMT) on Twitter. Good luck!
Matt Keleher, Social Media Executive
0330 380 0025