If you read our recent piece “What do your social media profiles tell employers about you? Part I” you’ll already know how important your online profiles on LinkedIn and Facebook will be in your job search.
With over 80% of employers and recruiters using social media to search for potential employees or using it to check an online profile matches up with the CV, we bring you the second instalment of “What do your social media profiles tell employers about you?”. In this second part we look at social media sites; Twitter and Instagram as well as delve into the use of blogs and forums.
Twitter might seem like an unlikely place to be on your job search but with 330 million active Twitter accounts across the globe, it can still be relevant and it can still be somewhere that a potential employer or recruiter will check you out.
Here are our top tips for Twitter:
1. Twitter handle
What is your twitter handle (user name)? Is it something simple like your name or do you have a twitter handle that could represent you in a negative way? Try to keep it simple. Using your name such as ‘@johnsmith’ is the safest bet. That way not only will you come across as professional but you will also be more searchable.
Your bio is a chance to tell people a bit about you, but you only have 160 characters, so use this small space wisely.
Twitter bios also work in the same way as search engines and you can use them strategically by including keywords relevant to your industry. For example, if you are hoping to be found by Architecture recruiters it would be crucial to include the word ‘Architect’ in your bio.
3. Think about your language
Make sure you use proper grammar and spelling on your profile and tweets. This can be difficult on Twitter with the character limit, and it can be tempting to use text speak. However, you never know what tweet a potential employer might see and you do not want them to think you can’t spell, or even worse that you have no grasp of grammar, especially if this will be an important element of your job.
4. Follow relevant accounts
Following relevant accounts in your industry or work discipline can be great for increasing your network and knowledge. Following a company you have applied to is great too, as it will ensure you have up to date news in your feed and will help to create great conversations at interview.
Be careful of who you follow as well – following anyone particularly controversial or unpopular could have a negative impact on your social perception, especially if you are seen to be engaging with them favourably.
5. Check your privacy settings
Just like Facebook, but perhaps less well known, it is possible to limit who can see your Tweets. If you would like to keep your tweets private, simply login to your account and access your privacy and security settings. You can tick to ‘protect your tweets’ and if selected, only those you approve will receive your Tweets. Your future Tweets will not be available publicly. However, Tweets posted previously may still be publicly visible in some places and so you may want to delete anything you would not want a future employer to see.
Did you ever think that a potential employer could be looking at your personal Instagram account? Probably not but with over 1 billion individual people using Instagram every month, why wouldn’t they?
They say a picture tells a 1000 words and as Instagram is all about the visuals it is the perfect hunting ground for employers to find out more about their candidates.
Like Twitter, if you are in the market for a job you need to be selective of the content you choose to share. Could other people view your photos as inappropriate? Employers want to see how you represent yourself, after all, they will be looking to hire people that fit with their brand image.
Your Instagram profile is the perfect opportunity to show a bit of personality and demonstrate what you like to do outside of work.
2. Promoting your current employer
If you actively promote the work you do and the benefits of your current employer, like photos of the latest social you went to, an awards ceremony in your industry or perhaps the Christmas gift they gave you, if done in the right way this could be seen very positively from a potential employer’s point of view. Acting as a brand advocate for your current employer will give your potential employer the feeling that you could also be a great advocate for their brand too.
3. Researching your potential employer
Stand out from the crowd from other candidates and ensure you are following your potential employer’s Instagram account. This might make a difference in the interview. If you pick out certain events, new starters or a particular celebration that was on their Instagram account, it will show you are interested in the business and create a conversation.
Instagram may be visual but the captions you write alongside your photos are equally representative of you are. They are actually one of the most important elements of your post - use them wisely and only share messages that are relevant to what you are uploading. As always with social media, keep it professional but if you are using Instagram to showcase a passion you have, you should be using this space to demonstrate your expertise.
If you have been using meaningless captions that are not easy to engage with, why not consider using your caption space as a way to ‘micro-blog’. Captions are a good opportunity to share knowledge, authenticity, tell and story and build relationships. If a potential employer was to be reading the captions on your Instagram post, what story would you want to be telling them about yourself? Equally, don’t use words or messages that could be offensive to someone else.
Every hashtag you use on Instagram will make your post searchable to anybody. These are usually included in your caption and are a good way to build a presence in the specific niche you are hashtagging in your photos.
6. Privacy settings
Just like all the other social media platforms we have discussed, remember that if you don’t want a potential employer to see what you are posting on Instagram then ensure your account is set to a ‘Private Account’ rather than a ‘Public’ one.
By now, you will be feeling pretty confident in how you should promote yourself online on your social media profiles, but be aware of what is being said about you in your online brand when you are using blogs and forums too.
Blogs are one of the most effective platforms to share your industry passion and highlight skills that may be transferable to your dream job. If you haven’t already got a blog, why not set one up and share this with employers you are in contact with?
Blogging is a great tool for enhancing your personal profile, demonstrating your interests in your field and showing that you are passionate about what you do. However, when it comes to blogging you need to consider the following things;
A well-designed blog will reflect that you care about how you represent yourself in the industry. It is reflective of your brand and the work that you are capable of doing. You may not be applying for a job as a web designer but how you layout the content you are sharing is crucial.
Why did you start your blog? Employers will want to know this and they will need to be able to tell this from the moment they land on your homepage. If you want to be seen as a thought leader make sure you show this through the insights you share. Equally, if you are a designer you may want to use your blog as an online digital portfolio and include the link in your CV.
Remember, if you are sharing your blog with employers they will be looking for a reason as to why you have directed them here in the first place – so make it easy for them and don’t waste their time.
3. Tone of voice
The tone of your blog will tell employers a lot about you as a person and will help to show a bit of personality. Yes, you need to remain professional but at the end of the day, employers want to hire people that are genuine and can communicate well.
Setting a tone for your blog will help people to identify with you and as a result build trust. Using the same tone of voice throughout your blog will help readers to form an image of your brand and what you stand for.
When establishing your tone of voice you should remember to use appropriate language that is representative of who you are as a professional. Employers will be looking to see how you articulate yourself, so use your words wisely.
Forums are a great way to communicate with like-minded people, collaborate and to join a community. Many people join forums to share their passion, to seek advice and to help others. However, like any other online platform, you still need to consider how and what you post in forums as these are usually available to the public and so potential employers could potentially see how you are representing yourself.
Be selective with the forums you use
If you are an active user on forums that aren’t industry-relevant, remember that you will still need to be careful with the language you use and the forums you comment on. Like every other social media platform, think before you comment. Respond appropriately and with good online etiquette that shows you are a good communicator and someone that does not get involved with unfavourable online debates.
Here is a quick recap from everything in this blog;
- Think before you post
- Use an appropriate and representative profile photo across all social media platforms
- Use both imagery and content to represent your personal and professional brand
- Be selective of your language and keep it PG
- Use your tone of voice to build relationships, build trust and tell a story
- Use social media with a purpose
- Consider your privacy settings
Above all, remember, you never know who could be looking at your profile.
By using the above tips correctly, you could be well on your way to creating a strong online presence and creating a great first impression on potential employers.