Next time you find yourself sitting at home looking at your friends' profile updates or Tweets, you might notice companies being mentioned, job achievements talked about and the excitement of attending an interview highlighted. Those who talk about their professional life via social media are taking advantage of the current trend of using the internet to promote themselves, and companies - including graduate recruiters - are following suit. So if you enjoy using sites such as Twitter and Facebook, you should consider adapting your profiles and activity to help with your job hunt.
LinkedIn has become the professional networking site of choice, though you may not be familiar with it. It's a free service where you have an interactive CV, network with recruiters, follow companies and explore career opportunities. Recruiters often search Google for particular candidates, so a carefully-considered LinkedIn profile can be a real benefit - particularly as it can be the first result that comes up when someone searches for your name. Optimise your profile by creating a unique but professional url (e.g. uk.linkedin.com/in/yourname), write a skills summary, add relevant university and work experience, attach a photo and seek out recommendations from former colleagues. There's nothing better than having a referral! Plus, you can use LinkedIn for networking by joining groups, asking questions in the Q&As, and following companies to keep an eye on their opportunities.
When it comes to job hunting, adjusting your privacy settings on Facebook is vital. Facebook often changes its layout and privacy conditions, so make sure you regularly check your privacy settings and that potential employers can only see certain information. It's also good to have a presentable profile picture - not one from a heavy night out!
Twitter is an arena many don't feel they should spend time on, so it might surprise you to learn that most companies now have a Twitter account. Sometimes you can chat to recent graduates, recruiters and find out about jobs, all via Twitter. The advantage of you being on the micro-blogging site is that you can start a conversation with a potential employer. Not only can you show a piece of your personality, but you can also share your opinions around subjects that interest you. After applying for a job, you should start to follow the company and its employees to make your name memorable.
Creative social networks
Though a blog can be time-consuming, it's ideal as a portfolio for creative students and prospective writers and journalists. A blog requires dedication and maintenance to remain relevant and topical so be sure to have a clear focus from the start. Building up a following can take a long time, though promotion in the right places can build an audience quickly - Twitter is a useful tool for doing so. Other creative social outlets include the slideshow site Slideshare and design site Behance where you can build up portfolios of work.
The job hunt has evolved with technology and now employers can find out a lot about their potential employees online. Everything you post on the internet is increasingly connected, so be sure to perform a clean-up when you start a job hunt and then utilise social media channels to help get your career off to a great start.