Author: Erin Reilly
Social media connects us with friends and whanau all over the world, teaches us how to create our dream home and tells us what type of cheese we’d be if we were, well, a type of cheese.
But for all the time-wasting qualities it offers, social media can provide plenty of professional opportunities too. If you use it well, it could even help you land your dream job.
Forget InstaSnapWhatsBook though; LinkedIn is the social media platform for business professionals looking to take the next step in their career development. You won’t usually find cat videos or hilarious memes here (and if you do, it might be worth unfollowing those people). No, LinkedIn is a bit like a remote professional networking event that helps users connect with other people who work in their field.
“LinkedIn is a great way to learn more about your industry and to position yourself as an industry leader,” says Jessica Gibson, social media strategist and owner of J Bird Digital. “If you manage to get your profile in front of people who make recruitment decisions, it can be easy to land a new job or get a promotion. The trick is creating a profile that will attract the jobs you’re after.”
Create a winning LinkedIn profile
Start by completely updating your profile, including qualifications, experience and clubs or groups you’ve belonged to. “Include keywords about the industry you work in or want to work in,” says Gibson. “This will help your profile appear in front of recruitment agents and other industry professionals.”
Pay attention to the small things too, says Claire Warin from Pint Sized Social Media.
“Your photo should be a professional headshot and your profile well-written,” she says. “Make sure that your LinkedIn profile matches what you’ve said on your CV because any discrepancies will look suspicious.”
Build a network
Start by connecting with people you know (think ex-colleagues, ex-bosses and ex-fellow students) because who you know can be more important than what you know.
Next, invite people to connect with you who work in the industry you’re trying to get into. You might not know these people directly, but their jobs might sound intriguing or their company one that you’d love to land a role at. Include a personal message with your invitation so they know what your motivation is.
Engage, engage, engage
The more visible you are on LinkedIn, the more likely a decisionmaker will come across you in their newsfeeds. “If you can offer insights, news updates or learnings of your own, post these as well,” says Gibson. “LinkedIn is just as social as Facebook or Instagram, just with more of a focus on professional growth.”
Don’t forget your other social media platforms, says Warin. Here are her top tips to making your social media platforms work for you:
1. Overhaul your social media
Audit your social media accounts before you send out applications because one of the first things a potential employer will do is search for you online.
2. Personal vs professional
Employers understand that your Facebook and Instagram profiles are personal but it’s still important that these give the right impression.
3. Privacy settings
Unless you want potential employers going back through the last 10 years of your life, it’s a good idea to get those privacy settings on lockdown.
4. Don’t forget your email address
“I once worked for a company where someone applied for a role using the email address ‘f***theworld@….’,” Warin says. “They didn’t get an interview. A sensible email address that uses your name and won’t lead to any embarrassment is always a good option.”