It is a well known fact that in the current climate there are a growing number of unemployed young people desperate for job opportunities. Social media offers a pathway towards securing a position in the work place – if it is used appropriately. Young adults are used to viewing social media, for exactly what is named after: social purposes. Most young people indulge in text speak, drunken photos and inappropriate jokes. Definitely not what a professional environment is looking for in a potential employee!
Unfortunately, young adults do not know how to use social media as an effective tool for securing a job position. This fatal error is a make or break scenario, between being considered for a position and being rejected. With hope of avoiding the latter!
According to Universum, 50% of employers use social media to gain a general idea about potential applicants. Two thirds of hiring decisions are based on what’s on an employee’s social platform – shocking right? This demonstrates that it is vital for young people to keep personal and professional social media accounts separate; keeping the personal account private and to be wary of what they choose to post online. It all comes down don’t post anything online you wouldn’t want your mother, let alone your future employer to see.
As a student currently in my second year at Birmingham City University, it’s all too easy to relate to this developing phenomenon. Personally, I love social media as it keeps you informed about what is going on in the world, but I also understand how important it is to be careful when it comes to posting online. On the Media and Communication course that I am studying, lecturers constantly talk about the importance of conducting oneself professionally, in both real life and online contexts. Here’s some of the main advice that I have been given in relation to social media:
- Create a ‘professional’ Twitter account. This for the benefit of interacting and engaging with companies and potential employers. This account should not include any swearing or profanity, as it casts an employee in a negative, unprofessional light. There’s a need to separate your personal persona from your professional one.
- Writing about professional interests. As a student, I have also been encouraged to retweet things relating to my interests in the media. The use of hashtags and tagging Twitter users is paramount, as it ensures that what you have to say will be read by a wide audience – this includes potential employees. If you walk into an interview and tell your employer that you love to write, why not make use of this by having your own blog? It gives you a platform to convey your passion, your talent and let’s them see a little personality. Whilst the grades and experience are paramount, it never hurts to be personal if you convey yourself in the right way.
- Following people in relation to your interests. It’s important to stay in the loop when it comes to developments occurring in your area of interest – and following influential people in your industry helps you to do this. This allows you to demonstrate your knowledge about current affairs in job interviews, but also illustrates your passion for the industry.
- Self-promotion. Twitter and other social media sites, such as LinkedIn are the perfect opportunity to showcase your talent and skills. This can be in the guise of blog posts, articles, press releases – anything that is relevant to the industry you want to work with in the future. According to Socialtalent, 93% of employers hire candidates via LinkedIn, so it is worth presenting yourself in the best possible light. There are eyes everywhere on social media, so make sure you are putting on a good show.
Social media is a great tool. It can help you keep in touch with friends and family, but it can also offer you fantastic employment opportunities. Just bear in mind that it’s the way you use social media which determines whether or not you’ll bag your dream job.
There are hundreds of ways you can set yourself apart from candidates. If you have any ideas of your own, why not get in touch? We’d love to hear how you conduct yourself professionally online. Whatever it is, we want to hear it – The crazier, it’s all about standing out from the crowd!
Blog post written by Olivia Brown-Wallace