Careers Forum Webchat - Social media

CN Advisor: Hello, I'm Jess and I'm ready to answer any social media questions.

birmingham_moderator: Welcome to the Graduate Guide to using Social Media web chat! We will be here until 1pm to answer your questions and talk about how you can use Social Media as a tool in your job search

birmingham_moderator: And I'm Yasmin, another Careers Network Adviser

CN Advisor: Hello, I'm Amy and I'm here to chat and answer questions about how you can use Social Media in your job search and improve your employability.

birmingham_moderator: To kick off, do our advisers have any general advice?

CN Advisor: Hi, I'm Steph and I'm also here to chat!

CN Advisor: Steph: You can use Twitter to develop your knowledge of a sector (really useful for interview and researching companies) - find a few people to follow, and look to see who they follow, etc. This will lead you to more people tweeting in the same area.

birmingham_moderator: Yasmin. Maintain consistency between your social media profiles. If you use Twitter, Linkedin and blogging it is key to maintain a consistent voice across all 3. This helps enhance your online reputation and highlights your unique selling points/expertise that you share online.

CN Advisor: Jess: LinkedIn isn't just for people currently employed. Use it to build up your networks. Join groups in sectors that you are currently interested, it will give you an inside perspective of what is being talked about in that industry. When connecting with people, make sure you personalise your message and explain why you want to link with them. Also make sure you use an appropriate photograph, something that looks smart and professional - not a night out!

CN Advisor: Not sure what LinkedIn is, or where to start? Check out this video http://learn.linkedin.com/students/step-1/ and/or come along to one of the Careers Network sessions on how to get started with LinkedIn.

CN Advisor: Hi L***, It does depend on the industry. Most recruiters say they don't screen social profiles but there is nothing to stop them. The best rule I've heard is to make sure your public profile is something you wouldn't mind your family seeing. Just ensure that you have good privacy settings and that your profile picture isn't too risque. Jess

birmingham_moderator: Try googling yourself and see what comes up. Another useful resource is www.kgbpeople.com which is a search engine that finds social media profiles of any name you type in. This may be a good way to "clean up" any old profiles like social media.

CN Advisor: Yes, and try to make a really good personal profile that an an employer *can* identify as you - rather than keeping it all private and risk being mistake for some drunken person with the same as name as you!

L***: Hello I'm just wondering whether employers will really look at my Facebook page when I make an application to them?

CN Advisor: With that in mind, your LinkedIn profile will come of a google search so this can create a great first impression.

CN Advisor: Hi L***, some do and some don't, but they all could - and but there is nothing to stop an individual recruiter doing a quick check prior to an interview for example, so the best thing to do would be to 'clean up' your digital profile and make sure your privacy settings are updated on Facebook. Amy

birmingham_moderator: Another thing is not to panic and shut down your facebook or twitter page. Employers are just as suspicious of a non-existent social media presence as an inappropriate one. They may wonder what you have to hide! Simply be selective of what you put out there!

CN Advisor: Although it is important to have a 'clean' digital profile, and obviously don't tweet anything rude/ offensive/ derogatory, it is important to concentrate on the positives. Your social media presence is a great way to promote yourself and use your networks. Many people are anxious at the thought of networking but forget the fact that their Facebook / Twitter accounts already represent a network of hundreds! If you are interested in getting work experience in a sector, why not put a status out there and see if any of your friends have contacts that might be able to help? Anywhere between 60-70% of jobs are unadvertised and word of mouth can help you find opportunities that you might otherwise not find. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Jess

CN Advisor: Yes, if you let people know you are job hunting, they are more likely to point out suitable vacancies to you. Steph

birmingham_moderator: Think about people you already know. You would be amazed how many people will advertise roles within the company they work for on twitter/facebook/linked in.

birmingham_moderator: Remember to be proactive as well. Get talking to people, ask what it's like to work in their organisation. Join online forums or Linkedin groups dedicated to organisations and industry sectors. Start asking questions and sooner or later you may know about more opportunities than you would come across via other media

CN Advisor: It is important to know that your networks generally want to help you. If I see a job advertised that I think might suit someone I know, I forward it on. If people know your strengths and what you are looking for they are likely to do this for you but don't forget to return the favour! Like a friendship, you get out of networks what you put in.

birmingham_moderator: Any more questions for us out there? Don't be shy!

CN Advisor: You can also use Facebook in your job or work experience search. Posting status updates like "I had a great interview this morning... keep your fingers crossed!" or "I have a networking meeting later today with a company I'm really interested in!", will keep it 'top of mind' that you are looking for an opportunity. You may know all the people you are friends with on Facebook, but you won’t know what jobs they or their contacts do. You'll be surprised at the positive responses you get. Amy

CN Advisor: And don't forget to use it as a support network. If things go wrong and you're finding it hard to keep motivated, just speak to your friends. So many people will have been through similar experiences and will be happy to share them.

AwesomeFirstYear: I've joined LinkedIn but I don't really know what to do with it. I'm looking for work experience but no idea where to start

CN Advisor: Hi AwesomeFirstYear, LinkedIn is a great tool for networking and finding others who are in the line of work you might be interested in pursuing/exploring. Careers Network run sessions on getting started with LinkedIn at beginner and advanced level. If you have already set up a profile, then the next suitable session for you would be LinkedIn Advanced on 6th March. You can find the details here: LinkedIn Advanced workshop. Amy

birmingham_moderator: Do our advisers have any tips on effectively using blogging?

CN Advisor: LinkedIn can be used by students and graduates in a number of ways. Start to build your networks by adding people you already know and joining groups that relate to your area of interest. Start commenting on groups to raise your profile and if you get into discussions with people add them as a connection. Also, we have over 12,000 members on the University of Birmingham Alumni and Friends group, why not ask them if they know of any work experience opportunities.

CN Advisor: You could try starting your own blog to record thoughts about the profession, study progress, and to share ideas.

Blogs can also be used to reflect on your activities and learn from them.

You may also spark an interesting conversation in the blog comments. Steph

CN Advisor: Reading other people's blogs is also a great way to get an insight into the profession, keep up to date with new developments, and may provide professional role models / cases studies.

You could try looking for blogs from recent graduates in your chosen field/ or subject you are studying, and see what they have done in their career. Steph

CN Advisor: With blogging it is best to have a clear plan and purpose. Try to blog at least once a week and try to create an editorial calendar of what you plan to write. Take time to proof-read what you write and promote them. Make sure that you tweet people that would be interested in your blog and even get friends to guest blog. Make sure you present your blog is aesthetically pleasing and well written. Images are a great way to break up heavy text but make sure you don't use other people's pictures without permission. Follow other blogs that are similar to yours and comment on them, the more active you are in the blogging community the more you will get noticed.

CN Advisor: Blogging about events you've been to, or projects you are doing, will help you remember them more clearly in the future, and that's useful for job applications and when working towards qualifications. Steph

birmingham_moderator: Less than 30 mins left, keep those questions coming!

CN Advisor: If you want to get started blogging but not ready to keep a blog of your own, why not write for an Arts and Culture blog for University of Birmingham students.

birmingham_moderator: 10 mins left if there are any final questions?

birmingham_moderator: This concludes our chat, thank you for all your questions!

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