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15. Job Hunting Using Social Media

Contents Social Media – Which Does What? Where Do I Start? Your Professional Persona Searching Through the Noise Building Relationships Resources

Social Media: Which Does What?

Social media includes web-based and mobile technologies used to turn communication into interactive dialogue. Everyone can now be part of the conversation.

Social Media: Which Does What? Facebook Launched in 2004, Facebook’s mission is ‘to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected.’ It does this by allowing users to share photos, links and videos on their Timeline. Businesses, brands and companies are able to create their own Timeline too, facilitating interaction and conversation between them and their target demographic.

LinkedIn LinkedIn is the social network for professionals. Launched in 2003, users are able to create a profile that behaves very much like an online CV, displaying current and previous job roles, descriptions, qualifications, skills and allows users to recommend each other. LinkedIn also has pages for companies, displaying organisational details such as employee information, products/services and careers.

Twitter Twitter is a real-time information network that allows users to create or read updates. Twitter limits these updates (tweets) to just 140 characters, so the brevity lends itself to focused and considered content. Unlike Facebook, which requires a reciprocal agreement of friendship, Twitter allows you to follow anybody to receive their updates, making it a very open and visible arena.

Google Plus Google+ (often referred to as G+) is the youngest and fastestgrowing of the leading social networks. Google+ allows users to post updates, links and photos with groups of people you choose (defined by Google as Circles). It also facilitates group video chat (Hangouts). It is worth noting that it is Google’s intended strategy to integrate Google+ interactions heavily into your search engine experience.

Where Do I Start?

They say: When you know what your goals are and when you know what you’re listening for, suddenly it begins to make sense.

Where Do I Start? Objectives There is no doubting that social networking is fun; it’s a social tool. However, to make social networks work for us, we need to know what we are trying to achieve. We need to give purpose to our endeavours and this can be done by writing down a series of objectives. Perhaps you’re looking to connect with key decision makers of the company you want to work for. Perhaps you’re looking to disseminate your work, research or blogs to a wider, captive audience. Think about what you want to achieve with your time spent on social networks.

Keywords Fundamental to your online job-hunting activities are your keywords: the words for which you search or for which you want to be associated with. These could be: • • •

Sector or industry names (for example, ‘graphic design’) Specific job titles (for example, ‘graphic designer,’ or ‘web designer’) Company names (for example, ‘BBC’)

To get more from your keywords, try to contextualise them. You could do this by: • •

Adding geographically sensitive terms to your keywords (for example, ‘Preston’) Thinking about how people might mention your keywords (for example it could be within the context of a job advert or vacancy; in which case ‘opportunity’ would be a useful contextual keyword)

Your Professional Persona Profile Housekeeping Facebook 1. Remember that your cover picture is public, regardless of how private your Timeline is. Consider creating an appropriate temporary cover picture that best reflects your skills or professional self while job hunting. 2. With Timeline, you have more granular control over your privacy. Take the time to go through your privacy settings and adjust each element accordingly. Review past posts and use Lists to create options of who to broadcast to or hide from. While job hunting, consider creating public posts pertinent to the sector in which you are pursuing your career to demonstrate your knowledge and expertise. 3. Activate the Profile (Timeline) Review option in your settings. Doing this allows you to select whether to display any content in which you are tagged (posts and photos) on your Timeline, mitigating the risk of friends inadvertently tainting your professional persona.

LinkedIn 1. It is worthwhile getting your LinkedIn profile to 100% completeness. Not only are users with complete profiles 40 times more likely to receive opportunities through LinkedIn, but LinkedIn profiles are generally well indexed with search engines. When people Google you, there is a strong possibility your LinkedIn profile will appear on the first page of search results. 2. Remember that LinkedIn is your professional network – your profile picture should reflect this. While it is more convenient to glean an image from a Facebook album, you should avoid pictures that you have had taken with friends in a social context. Ideally, you should have a head and shoulders shot with a plain background. This needn’t be a professionally commissioned photograph – a picture using your phone and a plain coloured wall (the university has lots of these) will work.

“Consider creating an appropriate picture that best reflects your skills”

Your Professional Persona “Give people a reason to follow you”

3. Beneath your name on your profile is your headline. By default, LinkedIn states your current position at your current employment for your headline. Instead, you should edit this to sell yourself to anybody browsing your profile. For example, one student’s headline reads, ‘Aspiring graphic designer with a passionate flair for branding & typography seeking graduate roles in a creative team.’ From that one sentence we know what they do, what they are good at and what they are seeking.

Twitter 1. It’s important to give people a reason to follow you on Twitter. Start by creating a relevant username; ideally, you should use your own name where possible. Also, consider the length of your username – if it is too long, you are hampering the likelihood of being retweeted (to increase your reach) due to encroaching on the 140 character tweet limit. 2. Use your biography effectively. Tell people who you are, what you do and perhaps include what you will tweet about. It is this information that will help people to decide whether or not to follow you. 3. Update and include your location in your profile settings. Remember, while you’re actively seeking work and researching your career, employers and recruiters are also looking for you. Part of their search will be location specific, so be sure you’re being found in the right places.

Google+ 1. While job-hunting, you can update your Google+ profile’s About section to reflect your aims and objectives. Similarly to your LinkedIn headline, you should confidently underpin your skills and demonstrate your value, giving employers a reason to connect or get in touch. 2. Similarly, you could use your Google+ profile as a portal to link to the areas online where you want to be found. Whether it’s your blog, your LinkedIn profile or your online portfolio, construct an area that best promotes yourself. 3. Google+ arranges your friends into groups called Circles. For job-hunting, you could broadcast specific, industry related posts to your professional contacts. Conversely, you can use Circles effectively by sharing less professional content with close friends and family only.

Searching Through the Noise 1. Google yourself. Most of us have done this at one time or other, but as user generated content grows exponentially, it’s vital we Google ourselves frequently. The most effective way of doing this is to create Google Alerts: these are emails sent to you when Google finds new results (such as web pages, newspaper articles or blogs) that match your search term (in this instance your name). Include iterations of your name and misspellings too. Go to to create yours. 2. There are areas online that even Google doesn’t reach. For these, you should use a service such as Topsy (, which search the social web. A Topsy search will crawl archived tweets, photos and videos from which you can create an email alert. 3. Combining these two services are people-searching tools, such as, that help you control and manage your digital identity. By identifying where you appear online (and where employers too might find you), you can begin to effectively manage and edit your profiles.

Building Relationships Across all social media platforms, it is vital to develop, build and nurture relationships. A common misnomer is that we should focus on the numbers: more followers, more friends, more connections. This simply isn’t true; instead of a volumetric approach, we should consider the degree of influence and integrity that your connections have. Consider the value of conversing with the CEO of an influential company as opposed to broadcasting to hundreds of disengaged friends, followers or connections. Though the mechanics of social networks may differ, the principles of online relationships are universal. Demonstrating respect and courtesy will be appreciated. Being interesting as well as interested will increase your listening and engaged audience.

“Consider the degree of influence that your connections have”

Resources UCLan Futures 1. Like us on Facebook for updates and news: futuresuclan 2. Follow @uclanfutures on Twitter for career help. 3. Join in the discussion using the #uclanfinalists (for final year students) and #futureswebinars hashtags. 4. There are regular career focussed discussions on Twitter. For example, #careerchat and #jobhuntchat.

Designed and written by @3ManFactory

If you require a copy of this publication in large print or another format, please enquire at Futures Reception. This symbol is used to highlight information of relevance to students with disabilities and/or learning difficulties

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Futures Team University of Central Lancashire March 2012 / Version 1

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15. Job Hunting Using Social Media Contents Social Media – Which Does What? Where Do I Start? Your Professional Persona Searching Through th...

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