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How to use social media to kick start your career

4 minute read

Now that you’re ready to get on the career ladder after leaving university, you may be interested in how you can use social media for more than just posting pictures or sharing memes.

While social media can be great for sharing more casual updates with your networks, you could be missing out on some of the potential they have for helping you land a job after graduation.

Here are four social media tips that could help you to kick start your career, why not try them out for yourself?

1. Set up a LinkedIn profile

If you’re not already on LinkedIn, now is the right time to join the other 575 million users on the social platform that exists to “connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful”.

When you create an account on LinkedIn, you’ll be encouraged to complete certain sections to populate your profile, which is effectively an online CV. Compared to a more traditional CV though, you’ll have more flexibility than a couple of sides of paper, and you can include other forms of media including SlideShare presentations, images, videos and links to other relevant areas online, perhaps a guest blog on a relevant website or a university project.

Make sure you take the time to craft your summary, make it unique and take the opportunity to showcase what you’re passionate about, your experience (including work experience, jobs and volunteering) and present your skills to anyone looking at your profile, including potential employers. Think of it as your online elevator pitch – make sure you take advantage of the opportunity to present the best version of yourself straight away.

Don’t just list your experience, make sure you expand where you can into the responsibilities you had and what you learnt from each of your experiences – again making the most of the opportunity to outline your skillset.

2. Use LinkedIn for networking

Making the most of LinkedIn doesn’t stop once you’ve created your profile, you can now move on to other aspects of the network.

Network being the key word here, as LinkedIn is designed and built around the concept of being a network for professionals. Start by using the “Interests” menu found in the top navigation bar to search for companies, groups and online courses that are relevant to you. Connect with these companies, people and resources to start building connections and contacts in the industry you want to go into.

You can also set preferences in the “Jobs” area so jobs relevant to your interests and needs will be highlighted to you, including location and experience level. More and more recruiters are posting jobs on LinkedIn so it’s worth keeping an eye on the platform as much as you do with more traditional online jobsites.

Expand your network by using the “My Network” feature to find alumni from your university, school, college or sixth form and people you may have connections with, based on other people you have connected with before.

3. Get on Twitter…

You may already have a Twitter profile, but if you don’t it’s worth setting one up – it won’t take more than a couple of minutes to register. It may take a little longer to get the hang of all the features of the social platform, but you’ll probably be familiar with quite a few already.

When you’re creating an account on Twitter, you’ll need to choose a username (which dictates the URL users will use to access your profile) and it needs to be available. If you have a popular name which is already registered by another user you may want to think about incorporating initials or an industry term. For example, some people use initials for their middle name or add their area of expertise or industry such as SEO or even Barista after their name!

Remember to choose wisely and think about how you want to come across to professionals in your chosen industry and potential new employers, and make sure your username will continue to represent you correctly as you grow into your career.

4. …And, make sure you’re active on there

Once you have set up your profile, or perhaps tweaked your existing one slightly to make it more appropriate in a professional sense, you can start to discover what Twitter really has to offer. Use the search functionality to explore topics and keywords relevant to the industry you’re wishing to get into; this way you could discover conversations with a particular hashtag, or users who frequently tweet about a certain topic and are influential in your chosen field.

Start to follow the right people, both people who are influential in the industry and companies, and you’ll start to see more and more relevant content appearing on your home feed. Make sure you’re interacting with this relevant content and showing your passion for the industry while keeping an eye out for job openings shared by those you follow, as well as promoted posts which could possibly open up some more opportunities for you.

What’s next?

Keep updating your social media profiles with relevant achievements, news and information, and keep connecting with people and companies relevant to your field of interest. Who knows, you may even get contacted directly for a job opportunity thanks to your building list of achievements on LinkedIn.

You could even go a step further after establishing yourself on these social networks and create a personal website where you can link to all your professional social networks. You could also research and identify forums and industry publications and start to engage with other users and content being published there.

Bianca Miller-Cole is a brand ambassador for the .uk domain names, and managing director and founder of The Be Group and Bianca Miller London. Passionate about helping others improve their personal brand, she frequently shares her expertise with students at events and forums around the country.

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