What is social media?

Social media networks are online communities where people can create, share and exchange information and ideas.

The most popular social media networks for jobseekers are:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn

How can I use these sites to find jobs?

Facebook

Ask your friends.

Post a simple, polite, professional status asking if anyone knows of a place that is hiring. You may even want to be more specific about your needs and ask if anyone knows of an open position in the area you want to work in.

Search

Type ‘jobs’ or something more specific like ‘retail jobs’ into the search bar on Facebook and see what comes up.

Like pages

What are your interests? ‘Like’ the pages of companies you’d like to work for. They will often post their jobs on Facebook as it's cheaper than traditional advertising.

Take care with your profile

Potential employers might look at your Facebook profile. Remember that your Facebook profile should be for your friends and family. You can change your privacy settings and think about what you post.

Twitter

Follow companies

Follow companies you might want to work for. Many will post links to vacancies.

Search hashtags

Searching for ‘#job’ is a good way to see jobs posted, but you might need to narrow down the search using other key terms such as ‘UK’ or your local area.

Twitter is a global network. Search when local companies would be posting jobs – generally between 9 am and 5 pm.

LinkedIn

What is LinkedIn? (video)

Your LinkedIn profile is like your online CV. It should follow the same basic rules as your CV:

  • Be clear with your objectives in your personal profile.
  • List your most recent job or training first.
  • Be professional.
  • Be honest.

Find out more about how to create an effective LinkedIn profile.

Picture

You only get one chance to make a good first impression. Your online presence relies heavily on your profile picture. Your picture should ideally be a forward-facing shot of your head and shoulders, in which you are smiling and dressed smartly. This doesn't necessarily mean wearing a suit and tie, it just means looking presentable and professional.

Summary

The summary is one of the hardest parts of the LinkedIn profile. You need to tell people who you are and why you’re the ideal candidate, without repeating information that appears elsewhere. The key thing to remember with your LinkedIn summary is that it is more professional than Twitter or Facebook. You need to use the kind of language that would impress a potential employer. Know your strengths and skills and highlight these in your summary.

Experience

You may have gained essential transferrable skills in roles that are quite different to the job you are seeking. When describing roles less related to your chosen career, it’s only necessary to put in a couple of lines about your experience. Include a more detailed paragraph about anything you’ve done that is directly related to the career you want to follow.

Education

As with a CV, list most recent qualifications first and leave off ones that are not relevant to your job search.

Skills and expertise

The skills and expertise section of your LinkedIn profile is where you can list your skills with keywords. Show the 10 most relevant skills to your career first and put these at the top.

Skills endorsement

LinkedIn allows your connections to endorse your skills. Including specific skills on your LinkedIn profile is a great way to showcase your abilities to other members, managers and recruiters. Statistically, members with more than 5 skills are 27 times more likely to be discovered by recruiters. Having these skills validated by your current or former colleagues can also work as a virtual reference. For more information, watch the following video Skills and Endorsements.

Job searching on LinkedIn

LinkedIn has a job search function. Click the jobs tab at the top of the page.

Follow companies

You can follow a company on LinkedIn. This means that all their news, including the jobs they advertise, come up in your feed. You can also use LinkedIn to research companies when preparing for interview.

Exercise caution when using social media

  • Be careful. Social media can be a great place to find a job but remember employers can also search you. This can be beneficial but don't share something that you wouldn't want a future employer to see.
  • Ask someone to read your profile before you start posting anything or interacting with companies or individuals.
  • Read this cautionary tale about using social media with discretion. 

Simple steps to follow

Be consistent

Got a great Twitter profile, but it's under the handle @wizardman67? Nobody will find it. If a potential boss can't see you're up to date with social media platforms, that could affect your employability. Use your real name across everything, keep a consistent tone and think of it as your personal brand. If your name is taken, you can simply add numbers to it, such as your year of birth.Your Facebook biography will be different from your LinkedIn profile description, but if you keep things consistent and the general tone similar, you'll look in control.

Google yourself

Find out what information Google has on you. And don't just check out the first page. Interested employers will go a few pages back to find out information about you.

Request your Twitter archive

Go into your settings and into the account tab. You can find out here how to request an archive containing all the tweets you've ever sent.

  • Check over the last 2 years.
  • Use Tweet Eraser to search for any offending tweets that you wouldn’t want recruiters to see.

Hidden vacancies

Not all vacancies are advertised. Instead of advertising, employers will fill these vacancies by word-of-mouth, headhunting or recruiting internally. Knowing how to get yourself in contention for these roles could give you a major boost when it comes to finding your next job.

Get the word out

Using your network is the main way to find hidden positions. Past employers, colleagues, friends, family and just about anyone you meet can form your network. For serious jobseekers, even the most casual of meetings should be treated as a potential job lead.

Make a move

Even if an employer doesn't have any vacancies right now, they may be willing to create a position if an exceptional applicant comes along. Contact companies to ask if they have any opportunities for somebody with your skills. 

The best way to do this is to give them a call. If appropriate, follow up with an email thanking them for their time and attaching a copy of your CV. Try to contact the manager of the department you're looking to work in, who will then pass you on to the relevant person in the HR team to follow up. You can often find contact details on the company's website or via LinkedIn.

Need employment advice?

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