Eden Recruitment’s Declan McGrath recently addressed jobseekers at the Agri Careers exhibition in the RDS on the subject of social media. This is a summary of his presentation.

We call it “social” media for a reason – it amuses, it entertains, it informs, and we normally associate it with downtime. But used correctly, social media can be much more than a plaything – it can serve as a serious channel to assist you on the job hunt. Here’s how.

Choose your platform

As a way of actually getting a job, LinkedIn is an excellent resource for creating your online CV and career profile and it’s a great way to showcases your experience and skills.

  • Complete your profile as fully as possible. Update your profile regularly with examples of activities that could enhance your employability. Look at people in similar jobs or in jobs you’d like to do, for ideas on how best to present yourself.
  • Follow target companies so you keep up to date with company news and job postings
  • Join relevant Groups on LinkedIn as Industry peers network within the Groups and job opportunities are posted with these Groups

Facebook can present certain challenges but it should not be a problem if you check your privacy settings regularly. If you’re using Facebook to interact with potential employers, ensure they only see things that fit your professional image or create a dedicated professional Facebook profile. Hiring and HR Managers are on Facebook: you may be able to connect through a mutual friend. It’s fine to mention your achievements and your professional activities on Facebook, but make sure that you keep it relevant to the message you want potential employers to see.

  • Follow and Like company pages for companies you would like to work for or are of interest. Comment and share their posts, blogs, videos/adverts as this will make you more interactive with potential employers

Make your Twitter bio as specific as possible – this will help people decide whether to follow you. Include a website address such as your blog or LinkedIn profile. Add a professional-looking photograph, preferably the same as you use for LinkedIn. Follow industry or sector leaders/companies: seek out interesting and thought provoking industry related articles and share/retweet. Create a value proposition for potential followers and also to potential employers. Remember this is part of your personal brand awareness campaign. State that you are looking for a job. Be human!!

Blogs are a great way to showcase your expertise. Food industry bloggers have become more prevalent and the blogger/vlogger is a content rich avenue to create interest, define expertise and grow your relevance within your chosen sector.  Post regularly; manage comments and respond appropriately. Spellcheck before you post!

Manage your online profile – Protect your Brand

  • Networking for career progression takes time. It’s about creating your public, and professional, image – what some career experts call your ‘personal brand’.
  • Your ‘digital footprint’ is likely to be spread across several different places on the web (try Googling yourself and see what you find). You need to ensure that your social presence matches the professional image you want employers to see. Be clear about who you are, what you can offer and what you want, then make sure that message gets across in the different social media that you use.
  • In social media, the boundaries between personal and professional can be blurred, so you need to decide how much you will reveal. If necessary, have separate accounts for professional and personal use. And don’t forget it works the other way, so don’t let your digital footprint work against you. It’s not just about unflattering personal photos on Facebook: there are numerous stories of people who were a too candid on social media about their current job or going for interviews.

Seek out opportunities

  • Follow organisations and individuals in the industry you want to work in, to keep up with the latest trends.
  • LinkedIn is a great tool for researching employers. Following an employer on LinkedIn will give you useful updates on recruitment activity within the company.
  • Companies and organisations are utilising Facebook for promotion, branding and to reach a wider audience and featuring career opportunities and graduate recruitment programmes. By being well connected and proactive, you will be able to track the opportunities you are interested in.
  • A Twitter search can help you identify new opportunities, give you access to Hiring Manager, Business Owners or Recruiters. Be careful not to stalk, beg or spam potential employers. You can also look for people working in careers (or companies) that you are interested in and follow them. This may give you an insight into the company culture, as well as potential job leads. Use LinkedIn and Twitter in tandem to identify potential contacts. BE PROFESSIONAL and APPROPRIATE.

Network

  • The great thing about social media is that it lets you communicate with people you might not meet in real life. Create your own networks by making contact with people who work at companies you’re interested in.
  • Building networks is a long-term process but it is worth investing the time. Interact with people: learn from them, and show what you can contribute. Join LinkedIn groups or specialist forums and share knowledge. Have conversations with like-minded people and build virtual relationships – in fact, this is often easier online than in person. Make sure people know you are looking for work, but don’t push it. Develop relationships before you ask for help.
  • Twitter is great for networking as, unlike Facebook, you are more likely to come into contact with people outside your immediate circle.

Dos and donts

  • Do create a professional online profile
  • Do know your brand and focus
  • Do be consistent with your Profile and Information across Social Media Platforms
  • Do follow companies, Individuals and organisations that are within your target career sector.
  • Do Like, Share and Retweet- Interact with their social media activity. Make yourself visible and relevant
  • Do make contact – Identify Hiring Managers/Recruiters online and make them aware you are interested in working within their organisations.
  • Don’t set up a Social Media Profile and then never update it
  • Don’t be inconsistent, make sure you continue to be proactive
  • Don’t mix your personal and professional profiles. Be careful what is in the Public Domain. Employers and Recruiters check online profiles.
  • Don’t contact a company and then not follow up. Always pursue a pro-active approach. The Recruiter/Hiring Manager will remember you.
  • Don’t post unfavourable pieces about your current work on social media.

Declan McGrath is Food, Pharmaceutical and Engineering Manager with Eden Recruitment.