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Professional online presence

Social media is rapidly changing the way students look for work. Businesses are increasingly looking up candidates online at various stages in the recruitment cycle, and the search results that come up when you put your name into a search engine can work against you, or really boost your chances of securing your next job.

If you’re job hunting, it’s a good idea to spend some time working on your online presence.

Why social media matters in your job hunt

Social media offers great opportunities for students and graduates to create online profiles that increase their chances of employment. It’s a space where you can show where your interests lie and display your career focus. Many employers are too busy to look up every candidate, but a growing number of employers do look up prospective employees online, before meeting someone for interview or before offering someone a job. Even once you have get to the stage where you have secured a new role, your new colleagues might look you up online to get a sense of who the new team member will be.

For all of these reasons, and many more, it’s important to manage your online profiles so that you can put your best foot forward at all stages of the job search and hiring process. From carefully guarding your posts right through to creating dynamic online profiles that paint a professional picture of you, there are many ways in which you can make sure that your online presence works for you.

Cleaning your digital footprint

You’ve probably heard this many times before, but it’s so important to be mindful of the photographs and text that you share online. At the very least, take a look at any existing social media profiles you might have, and think about what message they send to employers.

Put your name into a search engine and see what results come up – is there anything you wouldn’t want an employer to see? Take control of your online presence by spending some time reviewing and, where necessary, improving the privacy of your Facebook profile, so that employers can’t read any posts that might undermine your professional image. Do also check the privacy settings on photographs and ensure that nothing incriminating is in the public sphere. If you’re on Twitter, read through your tweets and consider deleting any that might create a negative impression.

Whichever online platform you use, be it blogging or Instagram or an online forum, always think before hitting “post”. If you suspect that the item you’re about to share could be a bit too edgy for some employers’ tastes, think twice before clicking.

Taking it up a notch – getting LinkedIn

Now that you’ve done some work to prevent any dodgy posts from going against you, it would be useful to proactively manage your online profiles in a way that enhances your job search. One platform which is worth investigating is LinkedIn. Although it was once seen as the preserve of mid-career professionals, students and graduates are joining LinkedIn in large numbers. This is because it can help with your job hunt in many ways, including:

  • It’s a great way to keep track of your network
  • It allows you to showcase your skills and experience to employers
  • Search for jobs and save your preferred job choices for future search
  • The Groups and news features can help to keep you up to date with the industries in which you’re interested
  • It is effectively a database showing the career paths of hundreds of millions of professionals worldwide. This makes it a powerful career research tool.

How we can support you

If you’re not on LinkedIn, or you are on LinkedIn but aren’t sure that you’re using it to its full potential, the Careers Service can support you in several ways: