Essential Social Media Advice for Graduates

Statistics now show that nearly 40% of graduates are still seeking employment six months after graduating, however using social media properly can definitely help to ensure you do not end up in this position.

Some people are scared of the implications of social media on job applications and opt for the ‘name changing’ technique. I advise the opposite – utilise social media to its full potential rather than trying to conceal it.

It is now known that one of the first things a potential employer will do is search social media platforms to try and get an understanding of the kind of person you are, therefore use this to your potential and show that you are the kind of person they are looking for.

Don’t change your name on Facebook and make all other social media platforms private, use them to your professional advantage and sell yourself to any potential employer.

Before you start applying for jobs, have a go at Googling yourself and see just what an employer may see.

LinkedIn

The biggie. Make sure to create a LinkedIn account and fill it out properly. LinkedIn has more than one hundred and twenty million users and can be a critical tool for graduates trying to secure a job.

Try and work out what kind of industry you want to enter before you set up a LinkedIn account, and then focus your profile towards this. This will be important for knowing what groups of people you will want to connect with once you have set up your profile.

Have a think about what email you use to register with your LinkedIn account. A somewhat immature email address from your teenage years may put off potential employers when looking at your profile. Use an email address you would find appropriate for putting on your CV – usually one without ‘xoxo’ in it. This is a good piece of advice to adopt for any form of graduate job applications.

The photo! The photo is extremely important and helps the employer put a face to your name. Use a photo dressed as if you were going for an interview in your chosen industry. The LinkedIn photo is a key area where people go wrong; weekend photos are for Facebook – not LinkedIn. The photo should feature only you from the shoulders up looking comfortable, friendly and approachable.

Twitter

In many ways Twitter can tell an employer as much about you as a CV, so use it to its full potential. If you have any work you would like to show off Twitter is a great place to do so, using relevant hashtags to reach a wide audience – who knows who may see it. ‘Pin’ any particularly impressive posts to the top of your profile so it is the first thing anyone would see.

It is probably good advice to not vent too much on Twitter, keep it light hearted and positive. If this is what you regularly use Twitter for, it may be a good idea to keep your profile private.

Use Twitter to follow companies you are interested in as they may post information about upcoming positions. It will also allow you to familiarise yourself with their posts and keep you up to date with the latest trends and developments in the industry. Retweet relevant articles in your field also, to show that you are actively interested and up to date.

Be prepared to play the long game – that is, making the initial point of contact with a company you are interested in and slowly building up a relationship over time. With a lot of patience this could perhaps result in a job offer further down the road. Be careful not to Tweet too many companies at once, as it will become clear that you are not genuinely interested and are simply playing a numbers game and hoping for the best.

Instagram

Instagram is a great platform to show off your personality through images and videos. It is a space to display all the interesting things you do and exciting places you go, to confirm to any employer that you are a balanced and well-rounded individual.

It is important to post the right kind of images and video’s however. Think about what impression your images convey, for example too many selfie’s may give the impression that you are vein. Selfie’s are fine and encompass a huge section of Instagram, but be careful to use in moderation.

Remember…

Although social media is extremely important, don’t neglect other more traditional channels when trying to land a graduate job.

A lot of management teams will be made up of people without a digital, social media savvy background and therefore don’t forget to focus attention on more conventional forms also. A strong profile across social media platforms will only help you so far, you need to ensure you have an impressive, eye catching CV and strong interview skills also.

Make sure your CV is full of plenty of colour – do not let it get lost in a sea of black text on white paper. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box and use a different way to display the same information, making it more eye-catching and striking. If it looks boring and dull a potential employer will probably not go to the effort to check you out on social media. Draw them in and make them want to find out more about you!

So off you go and untag those drunken photos from 2011 and spend the evening crafting your LinkedIn profile. Social media has numerous pros and cons in today’s society, but used in the right way it can be a major help for the graduate seeking employment.

Author Jen Haughton Photograph

Jen Haughton

Community Manager