Can't find a job? It's time for a social media check up!

You have worked on your CV and cover letter for hours and you’ve been networking like crazy. That’s fantastic! What about your online presence? What happens when recruiters Google your name and look at your Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Foursquare? Have you ever thought about it?

In the era where everyone you meet is constantly looking at the screen, and face-to-face interactions are becoming less common, wouldn’t you want to be top-of-mind for recruiters when they have a job vacancy? While your resume sits silently in your computer and on recruiters’ desks, social media can work for you while you sleep and go on with your daily activities.

This week I sat with Patricia, a placement consultant at Monash Professional Pathways. She gave me insights to what recruiters do when looking to hire an employee. Here are some hot topics you should know when building your online profile.

LinkedIn

Don’t be lazy with your LinkedIn profile! If you have just met a person through an event, you can't tell your entire story by talking to someone for 5 minutes on a networking event. This is where LinkedIn can come handy. LinkedIn gives them the chance to know about you through reading your profile and vice versa. It also allows you to connect with them without asking for email address or phone number. According to Patricia,

“LinkedIn is a tool where everyone is equal. It’s a platform for everybody to shine based on what you put into it. You follow a ready-made template and fill each section accordingly.”

LinkedIn provides ample student resources on how to build your profile as a student. You need at least a 90% complete profile for people to find you. As a student, it is never too early to start building your profile on LinkedIn. If you realise that your profile is looking a bit empty, it’s an indicator that you need to be involved with more activities. A few tips on building your LinkedIn profile,

  1. When writing your profile, remember to write keywords of the type of work you are looking for on the Summary section of your profile. Spell out terms like Marketing, Audit, Tax Accounting, Java, XML, CSS, HTML to help you be found.
  2. Follow groups, influencers and companies that are of interest to you, so that you get updates if they have vacancies, projects and company news.
  3. Once your profile is complete, begin connecting. Start with the people you know, high school friends, uni friends, family, university lecturers, friends you meet at volunteering, speakers of the event you just attended. Every time you meet someone new at a networking event, have their full name and always connect with the person straight away the next day. Often you do not have someone's mobile number or email address. By connecting with someone on LinkedIn, you can  message them the way you message someone on Facebook.
  4. Lastly, request for recommendations and endorsements for your skills. List enough skills for people to endorse, you can't be endorsed unless you list your skills. Ask friends and people you have worked with (even group assignment team members) to write how it was to work with you. You are basically trying to create credibility by getting others to say good things about you.
  5. Keep it regular. Post things, share, comment and publish articles so people would keep seeing your name appear on their newsfeed. As I said, don’t be lazy with LinkedIn! It's the Facebook for professionals.

Privacy settings

Are you aware of your privacy settings on Facebook and other channels?

Your old posts and your friends tagging you on social media could make or break your online reputation. It’s good to check how you allow others to tag you on Facebook. Be conscious as well of how you comment on others’ posts, what pages you like and what groups you are part of. Recruiters do check your social media without telling you. Just because it has not hurt you in the past, doesn’t mean it won’t in the future. Make sure to check your privacy settings and be really careful of the things that gets uploaded online, you may not be able to delete them completely.

Spring cleaning

Your inappropriate photos, rude posts and spelling errors on Facebook posts will reflect poorly on you. So go check ALL your social media, start taking down things that will not help in building your career across all the platforms.

The same applies to your Twitter, YouTube channel, Instagram, Path, FourSquare, Tumblr, Pinterest and whatever platform you are on. Make sure you screen all social media channels for everything you have posted in the past and remove anything that does not add value to your profile.

Be conscious of where you check in on FourSquare. If you are at the Grand Hyatt hotel for a professional development event, perhaps you do want to post it out there for recruiters to see! If you are clubbing on the weekends, keep that to yourself, a photo of you getting wasted or smoking will reflect poorly on you.

Also moving forward, only post things that will add value to your profile.

Likes and groups

Be part of groups that will help you network with the right people (alumni groups and special interest groups could be your starting point). This applies to Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Tweeting about the relevant articles you read about your field indicates that you are willing to stay up-to-date with what is going in the market. Actively search for like-minded people, companies, networking events and webinars that interest you. Remember that jobs are usually not advertised initially, so meet people, even offline. Arranging face-to-face meeting with someone you find online is also a possibility.

Google search

Once you have swiped clean all your social media accounts and you have started posting relevant things to enhance your online profile, do a google search of yourself. You only want great things to be at the top when you search for your name on google. Try searching through mobile as well and see what appears. Borrow your friends' Facebook and LinkedIn. See what others can see when they go to your profile.

Have you also been using strange aliases or usernames for your accounts? Perhaps it's time to get it all uniform. It helps people in finding your profile and validating your professionalism.

Having a social media account could work to your advantage. If you have a blog with a lot of followers, it shows that you can write and that you understand technology. The followers you have on Instagram could indicate how social you are and how good you are at taking photos. Recruiters want to hire people who are connected, so keep meeting people then go to LinkedIn and connect with them. It's important to have a coherent image of yourself offline and online.

Take control of your social media account. It can be your spokesperson, even while you are not actively searching for a job!

By Jesslyn Lan, Marketing Officer at Monash College.

Contact: Preeti Tandon

Phone: 9903-8788

Email: