Social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and especially LinkedIn are increasingly becoming a part of every day life. More and more companies and individuals are using these avenues to recruit or find work. From growing your network and keeping in touch with professional contacts to finding out about vacancies that interest you and the culture of companies you'd like to work for, there are many ways you can make the most of social media to further your career and help to find your dream job.
The Careers Services page on Networking and Social Media is full of useful tips and advice.
See yourself as an editor of your own suite of life magazines. You've got your personal magazine, Facebook, where you share all the latest gossip and pics - it's like Heat, but for you. Then you've got LinkedIn. This is your FT, where you are putting your best foot forward to show your professional side. Twitter can be as fun or professional as you like, but if you want to use it for business, make it like Wired: interesting, informative, cool.
Charlie Duff, specialist and community manager for BraveNewTalent.
LinkedIn is a powerful resource for career and network development. Unlike Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn is primarily a platform for professional use and so is probably the best place to develop your online presence and really stand out to potential employers.
Your profile should include a clear head and shoulders photograph on a neutral background. According to Scott R. Kline on LinkedIn's official blog, a profile with a photograph is 14 times more likely to be viewed than one without.Your profile summary should be short, to the point and give clear reasons why an employer might like to read your profile. Use the education section to give clear details of your qualifications and key grades and to highlight any important areas of your degree which would be particularly relevant to potential employers. In your employment history section, using keywords relevant to the career you hope to have will make your profile more easily searchable. A good way to establish useful skills to include is to look at job descriptions for positions you'd like to apply to and identify how you've established and developed these in your own work history.
Keeping your profile active by following businesses and individuals, joining groups and posting interesting articles will help you stand out. You can learn a lot about an organization's products, services, news and culture just by following them on LinkedIn and the more you know about a company, the better prepared you will be if a position does come up which you wish to apply for. Fellow students, professors, family, friends and others can be valuable connections for the future and if you meet someone at a networking event or careers fair, connect with them afterwards on LinkedIn with a personal message thanking them for their time or advice.
LinkedIn's video on How To Optimize Your Profile for Job Search Success includes some great tips on what to include in your profile and how to impress potential employers.
Twitter is a great way to keep up to date with organisations that interest you. Many companies and professionals tweet about job vacancies and current issues within their field so following them is a great way to keep up to date with industry news and events. It can also help you to develop good business knowledge and commercial awareness, which will always be tested in interviews.
If you do want to use Twitter to engage with prospective employers, make sure you keep your profile picture and your tweets professional. You may wish to highlight your career goals and experience in your bio or even include a link to an online CV. Be aware that potential employers can see what and who you are tweeting, retweeting or following, so maintaining a good balance of personal and professional use is vital. Even if you don't use Twitter professionally you should still bear in mind that potential employers may check your online presence before considering you for a job.
Be selective with your tweets, if you have approached several different employers with the same pitch, it doesn't look like you are particularly interested in any one company or role. Approaching individuals, having built up a sense of what they are doing and how they are doing it, will put you in a stronger position to make contact and leave a positive lasting impression.
You will find some of the larger graduate recruiters in the Twitter feed on the right of this page.
Most people choose to use their Facebook account to keep in touch with friends and family, rather than as a networking tool for their career. Some of the content on your Facebook account might not be what you want potential employers to see or read, if this is the case make sure you select the appropriate settings to keep your account private.
If you don't mind your Facebook being a channel for employers to find you on, Phil Ryan, head of digital for 3 Monkeys Communications, suggests putting key career-related words in your 'interests' (as this is how the search works). So depending on your personal interests these could be finance, management, social media, recruitment, HR, accountancy, writing, blogging etc.