Social Media - professional networking and job hunting
The majority of employers are now using LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook as one of the main ways to recruit staff. A recent US survey showed that nearly 90% of employers use social media for recruiting. What are they using - 87% LinkedIn, 55% Facebook, 47% Twitter and 16% blogs.
The three main ways you can use social media are as follows:
- Careers research – LinkedIn, Blog, YouTube, Facebook
- Seeking opportunities - LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook
- Marketing yourself – LinkedIn, Twitter, Blog, YouTube
Using the analogy of a bar might help you differentiate between the main three: Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. So Facebook is the bar you hang out with your friends, Twitter is where you meet random people and LinkedIn is the networking event.
Saint Connect is the Career Alumni Network for the University of St Andrews. Saint Connect brings together Alumni and Current Students to facilitate networking, enable informal mentoring, provide industry discussion groups, and enable graduates and students to stay up to date with their student societies and sports teams.
LinkedIn - use it to find out more about a sector/employer/role, find jobs or be found, have an online CV/business card, network with employers and alumni. You can join professional groups to keep abreast of what is happening in that sector. A St Andrews graduate has set up two groups: the University of St Andrews Alumni and a subgroup, University of St Andrews Alumni – Mentorship Programme. Use our LinkedIn page to find out more about these groups.
Facebook – employers use it to promote their brand and their graduate programmes. Some feature networking opportunities with graduates and recruitment staff. You can pick up useful tips on the recruitment process and the company. “Like” the Careers Centre Facebook to keep updated with career-related activities.
YouTube – great source of information from graduate recruiters on the application process and different roles – do be warned some are spoofs . Video CVs were hailed as the next big thing but they haven’t taken off as much as expected. If, however, you are applying for jobs where personal skills are at a premium, then try it out. Here is a successful example.
Twitter - graduate recruiters use Twitter to post vacancies and give out information about their organisations. Follow people, companies, brands or issues of interest and then when you feel more confident start tweeting yourself to show your interest and activities in a particular area. Search for hashtags and keywords relevant to your chosen career area.
- Find advertised jobs - to find advertised jobs on Twitter, use the search box at the top of the Twitter homepage and search on keywords, eg 'graduate finance jobs'. However, specialised Twitter job search engines such as twitjobseek.com can also be useful, as they trawl Twitter specifically for vacancies that meet your search criteria.
- Communicate with graduate recruiters - following graduate recruiters on Twitter is a good way to find out about the latest opportunities, deadlines, when they're on campus etc. Some recruiters even tweet "insider info" eg application tips, or hold live Q&A chats with their recent recruits. If you have a question for a recruiter, contacting them via Twitter is a good way to get a quick response.
- Network to create your own opportunities – through Twitter you can make contacts with professionals in your chosen career area which could lead to work experience or a job. As with other social networking contact, start off building the relationship before asking for an opportunity. Some ways to get started:
- Find and follow professionals and organisations in your chosen career sector. Observe them and see what sorts of things they tweet about.
- Re-tweet interesting things and comment on the industry news. Try to sound like a "professional in development" in your tweets and you will gradually start to "get on the radar" of professionals in the sector.
- Gradually join in conversations with the professionals and organisations you're following, pose relevant questions and add your thoughts. You tweet along the lines of: "Interesting blog on the outlook for publishing sector, thanks! Do you envisage your org. will be needing grads with editing skills?" to try to direct the tweet towards job opportunities.
- If you have a LinkedIn profile or a blog, link to that from your Twitter profile so that recruiters can "check you out" and get a more in-depth view of you as a person and future employee. If your blog is relevant to your chosen career sector, you can feed your blog posts onto Twitter.
Blogs are another good way to get an insight into an organisation. Major graduate recruiters often encourage their graduate trainees, interns and placement students to blog about their experiences.
- Job searching - just Google the name of the company or career area you are interested in, eg Apple+blog or publisher+blog.
- Useful career related blogs – just google graduatecareer+blog. US careers expert Lindsey Pollack has an interesting blog to follow
- Writing your own blog can demonstrate your writing skills, your knowledge of a particular area and your enthusiasm to a wide audience
- Advertise yourself
More recruiters are checking a candidate via on-line profiles so you need to make sure you are in control of what they can see.
- Keep an eye on your privacy settings – these constantly change
- Search for yourself on Google and clean up any images/text you would not be happy for recruiters to access