Social Media for Employability

In an increasingly competitive job-market, using social media effectively can really help our students stand out from the crowd.

What is social media?

Social media refers to websites and applications where users create and share content, networking across like-minded communities. The most popular in the UK are Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Why should my students use it?

Networking is crucial when you’re searching for work. Most companies advertise vacancies online and your networks can inform you about positions as soon as they appear, as well as keep you up to date with the latest industry news. They can be used to find out about a particular career, what it’s really like to work for a company or to find inspiration from someone’s career progression route. Alternatively, students might be interested in working for themselves…

Social media provides a platform for students to showcase their talents to a worldwide audience, often for no money. They can get feedback on ideas, develop skills and even sell work. Employers increasingly ‘google’ candidates to find out more about them. It is therefore advantageous to create a positive ‘digital identity’, promoting work, hobbies and other experiences.

Finally, being confident in using social media is a skill in itself, essential for self-employment and valued by employers.

LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook

LinkedIn describes itself as the “World’s Largest Professional Network” with over 200 million users. It includes job-searching and recruitment tools, and you can join groups to share news and network. LinkedIn works through users creating connections with others, sharing news and projects through ‘status updates’. Your profile page can include recommendations from people you’ve worked with, as well as links to other social media sites, letting you demonstrate a range of skills.

Twitter is a quick ‘chat’ service, organising subjects through ‘hashtags’, often used for TV programmes, eg. #bbcqt. You ‘follow’ people who share your interests, who might follow you back – it’s not compulsory! Messages are limited to 140 characters but can include links and photos. Twitter is great for breaking news and discussions …and being alerted to vacancies!

Facebook is primarily designed for sharing news with friends through ‘status updates’, photos, videos and links. Because of this, employers check Facebook Profiles the most so it is essential that students manage their privacy settings to ensure they are not sharing anything that might cause a problem!

The Facebook Timeline could be used as an effective ‘living’ online CV – sharing life events such as passing a driving test, links that promote work and updates about experiences such as travel or voluntary work.

How can I find out more?

For more details please see ‘eGo: make the web work for You!’, a presentation, created in collaboration with Careers Advisers. You can also contact your local Careers Adviser and/ or Learning Technologist.

* Adapted from an article which originally appeared in the University’s ‘Graduate’ newsletter

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