Using Social Media to Enhance Your Career Prospects

Social media has been a world-changing phenomenon. Before Facebook’s founding in 2004 there was the likes of BeboFaceparty, and MySpace. However, the last 10 years have seen a huge spike in both users of social media and reasons for using it.  

In 2019, there were 3.486 billion active users on social media, equating to nearly half of the entire population having a social media presence. This was up by nine per cent since January 2018. As lockdown circumstances effect a lot of people around the world due to the Covid-19 outbreak, the time we spend on social media has soared in recent months, with Facebook apps being logged in by 3 billion users in April 2020 alone. 

This could be a great opportunity to use social media to enhance your career prospects — especially when 91 per cent of employers use social media for recruitment. Here, we take a look at some of the most popular platforms and how they can help you progress in your working life. 

LinkedIn 

This platform was launched on 5th May 2003, making it older than both Facebook and Twitter. Its primary purpose is to provide networking on a professional level. It even has different areas of the site, such as LinkedIn Premium accounts for business, career, sales, and hiring, to help you connect with people who can help you on your work journey. Last year, there were 20 million companies on the platform and 14 million open jobs. 

LinkedIn also enables you to get ‘headhunted’ by recruiters. Many recruitment agencies use the platform as a means to identify people who would be a good ‘fit’ for an opportunity they may have. You can increase your chances of being noticed by seeking endorsements from colleagues or clients in the same way that you would put a reference on your CV. You can also set your status to reflect if you are actively looking for work, while its jobs section provides alerts, search, and salary checker facilities.  

So, how can all of these features help you become more employable? To begin with, by creating a LinkedIn account when entering the working world, it immediately gives you a platform to be noticed by other employers in the industry. The idea of this is to build up connections with others who also work in the same industry as you and ultimately expand the presence you have online. As for the endorsements fellow colleagues can leave on your profile, this is another effective way to strengthen the presence you have on LinkedIn. Not only do good reviews present you in a positive light, but they also prove to employers that you are an asset to your current business — a trait that all employers desire. This way, when recruitment agencies seek new employment, your account stands out among a crowd.   

LinkedIn not only benefits those looking for a job, but those looking to recruit too. For business owners, this platform makes looking for new recruits that will benefit your business easier than traditional forms of recruitment. Unlike CVs or website recruitment sites, the reviews that other employees leave on LinkedIn help you grasp an accurate and honest understanding of the type of person you are looking to recruit, helping to determine whether they would be a good fit for the job.   

Be sure to keep posting insightful comments and correctly using hashtags to get your posts trending in front of more potential recruiters or clients. By doing this, it highlights the interest you have in your job and how much you value your online presence when it comes to your career.  

Instagram 

A popular Instagram account is a must-have for influencers. The image sharing app was launched in 2010 and has over 500 million daily users. From beauty gurus to ski instructors, building a portfolio on Instagram can significantly boost career prospects in a range of industries.  

For personal trainers and ski instructors, having a great portfolio of images and client reviews can help people build confidence in your work and ability, which will increase your chances of getting chosen as an instructor. Of course, it’s not enough to just have a great visual portfolio, it goes without saying that ski instructor courses or specific industry qualifications are a must.  

Other than creating a portfolio of images on your Instagram, the app has developed a tool that allows you to temporarily post images that are removed after 24 hours — this feature is referred to as an ‘Instagram story’. The idea of this feature is in the name, to allow users to publish short anecdotes or snapshots of what they are up to. Although this tool was originally used for entertainment purposes, individuals can also use it for career purposes too. For those that use Instagram for promotional purposes such as to advertise your latest company updates, or to market a particular product or service you provide, showing snapshot images or videos helps those that view your story gain a quick understanding and summary of what it actually is. Since marketers commonly reiterate the fact that users don’t like to read a large chunk of text, Instagram stories help to cut the waffle, and get straight to the point of your business.  

Make sure you only post appropriate content on your account and mix it up between leisure and work focused images. Your future employers often look at every social account you have, so leaving them with the impression that you’re approachable as well as knowledgeable is important.  

Twitter  

Set up in March 2006, Twitter soon become a huge hit with the public. There are currently over 330 million active monthly users, with almost a third of these being between the ages of 35 and 65.    

If you’re a freelancer across any field, showcasing your skillset can put you in front of a huge audience. Think of your name as a brand. Make sure you’re engaging with your target audience and use hashtags correctly — and not too much! Images are also a great way to bring attention to your work. Since Twitter is an increasingly popular choice of social media platform, creating a presence for yourself on this app is another effective way to build an online presence, helping to promote your business, or yourself for those wanting to excel in their career, to yet another audience of online users. 

While Twitter doesn’t have a built-in jobs board, there are many accounts which share relevant jobs. Be sure to follow them and keep an eye on their posts. Also, include your Twitter handle on your CV to let companies get to know your personality. If you’re doing this, make sure you have been creative and used your Twitter bio wisely. 

Facebook 

Since Mark Zuckerberg unleashed his creation onto the wider world in 2004, it’s become the most popular across the globe. With its ‘Jobs on Facebook’ feature, there is now a chance not just to interact with your peers, but to search for your ideal role while doing so.  

However, be aware of what you post — and this includes your profile picture. Studies have shown that this image can affect your job prospects when potential employees conduct a background check. For those that use Facebook for personal use as well as professional, make sure there is a clear distinction between the content that is posted in these to avoid damaging your career reputation. Make sure you fill out the ‘work and education’ section of your profile fully as this can work as a mini CV. Your life events timeline is another factor in which to ensure you spend the appropriate time completing. 

In recent years, several sports stars have found themselves in hot water because of their social posts. Israel Folau was sacked from the Australian rugby union team in May 2019 following a homophobic post on Instagram. However, away from the limelight, social media posts are deterring many companies from potential candidates, with derogatory comments deemed potentially harmful to the brand as well as the individual in question.  

Away from your own social media presence, these platforms are also a great way for you to research a company. Companies will often post any accolades, events, or upcoming events on their pages in the hope that it gains valuable user interaction. If you have an interview for a job, simply putting time aside to scroll their social accounts could land you the vital information you need to impress during your discussion, helping you stand out among other candidates.  

As for business owners or entrepreneurs at the beginning stages of their career, Facebook is a great platform to use for promotional use. Through its ‘like and share’ feature, the app allows for individuals to share your post on their timeline, exposing the content to significantly more people. However, one thing to consider before using this platform to do so, is the demographics of Facebook. The age demographic that Facebook is most popular with for example is the 25-30 year-old category, with 84 per cent of people this age having a Facebook account. In addition, 79 per cent of people in the 30-49 year-old category also use Facebook. If your businesses target audience is focused on a teen/youth demographic, or alternatively an elderly audience, perhaps Facebook won’t be the most beneficial channel to use in terms of gaining new customers. With this said, it is up to you to determine if you use Facebook and how you use it when it comes to excelling in your career.  

 

So, it’s evident that social media is here and here to stay. Use it wisely and it can be a great tool in enhancing your career. 

 

Sources 

https://www.linkedin-makeover.com/2014/05/06/linkedin-start-date/ 

https://kinsta.com/blog/linkedin-statistics/ 

https://www.topresume.com/career-advice/7-tips-on-effectively-using-twitter-for-your-career 

 

 

 

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