by Sellick Partnership | 15 August 2014
The world of work is always changing - the ebb and flow of outside factors such as the economy, legislation and politics mean that it's near impossible to predict what your office will look like in five years.
However, something that is sure is that social media is here to stay. A question we frequently get asked is how individuals can really make the most of social media in their job search, and whether it really makes an impact on the application process.
The answer is yes; having a strong online presence can make a difference and help you to stand out from your competition. When taking your job search online, there are certain channels worth spending time and energy on to really boost your personal brand.
Forget Snapchat, Instagram and Pinterest; this is the big professional player...LinkedIn.
The number one network for professionals, LinkedIn has over 300 million users and is a great place to start building your brand and begin networking with peers; even if you're currently in a role, it's a good idea to have a profile set up to generate contacts for those future job searches.
Setting up couldn't be simpler - set aside some time to make sure you can fully complete your profile and give yourself the best start online.
This is very much your online CV, so it's a good idea to follow similar rules. Complete your profile with your work history (your last three positions will be sufficient) and a brief overview of your responsibilities in each role. Adding your education background will allow other alumni to find you with ease and connect - you never know where your school friends will have ended up!
Your summary is almost like your personal statement; what kind of professional are you, and what do you specialise in? This section can also include a description of your current role, but keep in mind that you may have to change this depending on any changes in the workplace.
Make sure to complete your current contact details so people can contact you. If you're looking for a role, be sure not to include your work details, but instead provide your mobile or home number and personal e-mail address.
Use an appropriate photo - so no other people, family members or pets! Keep it simple and uncluttered to help you stand out in other people's 'People You May Know' section.
Groups and Companies
Joining groups is a great way to network with likeminded professionals without having to connect. They are the perfect place to start discussions - about market trends, what role you're looking for etc. - and, you never know, your enthusiasm for your sector may be spotted by a potential employer.
A good idea is to start with alumni groups for your university or subject, then move on to sector specific groups. You'll find regional, national and global groups with varying amounts of members; everything from Legal Locums in the UK to Manchester Sporting Professionals - it's up to you to pick and choose the communities you think you'll get the most out of as an individual.
You can also follow companies, meaning you're one of the first individuals to hear about their insider news or any resources they may have available for interested job seekers. Why not start by following Sellick Partnership? Additionally, you can find the profiles of our specialist consultants, who are ready to help you take the next step in your career.
A great place to start with connections is current work colleagues or friends; type a name in the top search box and select the individual you wish to connect with, view their profile, then choose to connect.
Select how you know the individual and include a personal message. This small note can be anything from how you know them or why you want to make contact for career reasons; if you connect with people for no reason or people flag that they don't know you, you run the risk of have your account restricted.
You can also find new connections via the 'People You May Know' section, which will list people you have shared connections with or similar job titles, and also the 'Who's Viewed Your Profile' area; this can be a great insight into the type of account you are attracting, and whether you're being noticed by recruiters and hiring managers.
There are individuals on LinkedIn who identify as LIONS (LinkedIn Open Networkers) which means they will accept every connection invitation. These accounts can be useful for news or market updates, but are unlikely to give you anything of direct significance to your career, such as opportunities or personalised advice.
Much like other social media channels, you can share updates with your connections which will appear on their home page. Avoid the pitfalls of familiarity here - this is your professional network, not personal.
Share relevant news stories about your sector or desired career; has legislation recently changed, or have there been big changes in management structures in your dream company? Website or resources that could help your fellow job seekers are also a great idea, as you'll be seen as a reliable source of information.
The Pulse section of LinkedIn is where you can find interesting news stories to share with your connections or join in discussions. Select which influencers you would like to hear most from, making your LinkedIn home page personalised specifically for your career and interests.
For further advice on your job search and social media, visit our candidate resources here, or connect with me to contact me with any questions you may have.