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#CareerRefresh: Check your social media footprint and use LinkedIn effectively

16 January 2015


Do you want to change your career in 2015 or are you struggling to get your dream job? Increasingly recruiters are using social media to find candidates so January is the ideal time to check your social media footprint, and ensure you are using it effectively.

A survey by a social recruiting platform revealed that LinkedIn is recruiters’ top resource for vetting candidates with 94% saying that they use it regularly to this end. They also used other social media sites to help companies recruit, with 65% using Facebook and 47% using Twitter. Most of the companies surveyed planned to increase their investment in candidate recruitment using social media compared to the amount they spent in the previous year. The benefits they cited from using social media as a tool to find candidates included: it took less time to hire someone, the candidate quality was better, the quantity of candidates was greater and there were more candidate referrals due to the viral nature of social media, which makes it very easy to share a post or tweet with a friend or colleague.

As recruiters admit to using social media to vet candidates in order to make more informed hiring decisions, it makes sense to take time to look at your own social media footprint on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter and ensure it is not going to count against you in your efforts to appeal to recruiters.

Here are some tips on how to give your social media profile a boost to help you with your job hunting:

1. Google yourself and check there is nothing you would prefer recruiters and potential employers not to see.

2. Check that any posts/photos/tweets and updates you may have ever made on LinkedIn/Twitter or Facebook do not fall into any of the following categories:

  • Illegal drug use
  • Are of a sexual nature
  • Profanity
  • Spelling/grammar errors
  • Pictures of alcohol consumption
  • Overtly religious posts
  • Overtly political posts.

3. LinkedIn

  • On LinkedIn complete a clear description of your professional status and decide what your top 5 key skills are and use them in your profile and do not be afraid to repeat elsewhere. These should be the skills you would like to be known for and will make it easier for your profile to be found in search results.
  • If you are open about people knowing you are job hunting, say so in your LinkedIn headline.
  • Customise your LinkedIn profile URL. To do this visit ‘Edit profile’ at the top of your profile page and then click the URL link under your profile photo. It will be an address like www.linkedin.com/in/yourname. To the right of this address click on the edit icon, then type the last part of your new custom UTL in the text box and click Save.
  • Add a photo to your profile, no larger than 80 x 80 pixels.
  • In your contact settings let your connections (and recruiters) know what you are available for, including career opportunities, job enquiries, reference requests and seeking new ventures.
  • Endorse others and do not be afraid to ask them to endorse you in return. However, ask them to endorse you for your top five key skills and only approve those that contain those keywords.
  • Join groups on LinkedIn (up to 50 available on a free account) to gain credibility. By all means join up to 50, but select 5-10 Groups to spend your time on in order to get most benefit out of your participation.
  • If you have specific companies on your target list, follow their company pages so that you hear about news of new offices opening, for example. You can mention company news in any covering letter you may send or at a future interview.
  • Use the advanced search function in LinkedIn to find the name of the hiring manager at the company you are targeting. Go to ‘Advanced’ next to the search bar at the top of the LinkedIn page and fill in the name of your target company and then the most obvious title for the hiring manager there. Once you know the name you can see what they are interested in by the groups they are a member of and address your application to them.
  • Try to connect with LinkedIn members who work in the sector or company you are interested in. The more connections you have, the better your chances of having a connection who can help with your job search.
  • Use the job search function. You can search by keyword, country, postal code and the advanced search option to refine your search. This feature allows you to search by location, miles from a location, experience level, company, job title, job function, salary, industry, and date posted.

It is well worth taking time to enhance your profile, by using the advanced search function effectively and joining relevant groups. Regularly check your profile and look at group discussions, commenting where you can add value. Take these simple steps and you should start to gain more profile views, invitations to connect and hopefully get the job you want!



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