Net­work­ing to get ahead

Lead­ing ex­perts give tips on how to get no­ticed by em­ploy­ers on so­cial me­dia — and what not to do. Ruth O’Con­nor re­ports

Irish Examiner - Feelgood - - Feature -

WITH em­ploy­ers de­mand­ing more from po­ten­tial em­ploy­ees it’s valu­able to con­sider the power of so­cial me­dia to stake your place in the job mar­ket. An en­gag­ing pres­ence on­line can help you build con­tacts, show­case your pas­sion, or mark you out as a great po­ten­tial em­ployee.

Per­sonal brand­ing ex­pert Maeve Ah­ern O’Neill be­lieves that LinkedIn is vi­tal when look­ing to en­hance ca­reer prospects. “Although it is viewed as a padded ver­sion of a CV, it is a way to show­case more than a CV can,” she says.

“Up­load projects from col­lege or group work to show how you worked in a team en­vi­ron­ment, com­ment on what you learned from work ex­pe­ri­ence, show how you pro­gressed from col­lege to work, and post ar­ti­cles of in­ter­est.”

Michelle Mur­phy, di­rec­tor of Collins McNi­cholas Re­cruit­ment & HR Ser­vices Group says that em­ploy­ers are look­ing more closely at can­di­dates’ on­line pres­ence be­fore mak­ing a de­ci­sion about whether to pro­ceed with them. “Whether you are a grad­u­ate look­ing for your first job or look­ing to move into a se­nior role, you must con­sider how a prospec­tive em­ployer may view your ap­pli­ca­tion once they search through your so­cial me­dia foot­print,” she says.

Mur­phy ad­vises any­one in the job­search process to keep all pub­lic on­line in­ter­ac­tion pro­fes­sional. “Never post any­thing you wouldn’t want a prospec­tive em­ployer or cur­rent man­ager to see and al­ways as­sume that, no mat­ter how strict your pri­vacy set­tings are, your post may still be seen,” she says. “Job­seek­ers should be­ware that sub­tle so­cial me­dia mis­takes can dam­age their op­por­tu­nity in the long term.”

EX­PERT OPIN­IONS: Zahid As­lam, lec­turer in dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing at Cork In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy

Make your­self into a bet­ter can­di­date:

Fol­low peo­ple in your in­dus­try and see what they are say­ing. Don’t just fill up your stream with peo­ple — you’ll end up turn­ing your Twit­ter feed into the most bor­ing place ever. Take time to look back at some­one’s tweets be­fore you fol­low them. If you are any­where that shows you up in a pro­fes­sional light, make sure it gets pub­lished. Con­fer­ences, work­ing in a char­ity, help­ing a friend out with busi­ness, etc. Get no­ticed: Find out who the se­nior peo­ple are in an or­gan­i­sa­tion of in­ter­est to you. Fol­low them, post about stuff they are in­ter­ested in us­ing the hash­tags that that are us­ing. If you are at the same event make sure you let them know — your tweet might read: “I won­der if @... will be at the @… con­fer­ence to­day?” Pass the cur­sory checks: Twit­ter isn’t Face­book or Snapchat and most peo­ple don’t use it for the “Here’s a video of me at 3am with a traf­fic cone on my head” type stuff, but sound­ing off on­line can also look bad. There’s noth­ing wrong with tweet­ing about sport or other in­ter­ests, but any­thing vit­ri­olic or nasty

won’t make you look good.

Show en­gage­ment with your in­dus­try:

If you work in cus­tomer ser­vice or in any dig­i­tal role you need to be on so­cial me­dia. Em­ploy­ers will use so­cial me­dia to find out whether you have a gen­uine pas­sion for some­thing. For ex­am­ple, if you are go­ing to work in the cos­met­ics in­dus­try and you have a his­tory of fea­tur­ing cos­met­ics on your blog or In­sta­gram feed it is a real plus point. Find out what works: If a HR per­son or re­cruiter con­tacts you di­rectly, make sure you ask how they found you.

Aoife Porter, dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing spe­cial­ist and founder of Bua Mar­ket­ing.

Es­tab­lish your rep­u­ta­tion:

Your name is your brand and your so­cial me­dia chan­nels are your shopfront. Google your­self and see what pro­files are show­ing up for your name. Delete or de­ac­ti­vate old pro­files. Mon­i­tor your brand: Google Alerts is a free tool that mon­i­tors all sites that Google can in­dex. Set alerts up for your name and the em­ploy­ers you’re con­sid­er­ing work­ing for. Find out what is be­ing said about you on­line by get­ting alerts when you’re men­tioned.

Think twice be­fore hit­ting that ‘post’ but­ton:

Ev­ery­thing you put on­line is on­line some­where for­ever. Even if your pri­vacy set­tings are strict, peo­ple can find ways to get a view of your pro­files. Your con­tent can be screen­grabbed be­fore you delete it. Even if you’re not job hunt­ing now, your per­sonal brand is al­ways at risk if you post in­ap­pro­pri­ate con­tent. Be bet­ter than beige: Cu­rate what you post on­line but be orig­i­nal, be cre­ative and where ap­pro­pri­ate have an opin­ion that’s your own. Th­ese are qual­i­ties that are so im­por­tant for al­most any pro­gres­sive or­gan­i­sa­tion. Spell-check ev­ery­thing: I can’t be­lieve how many times I’ve seen pro­fes­sional peo­ple make the sim­plest gram­mat­i­cal er­rors. It says that you’re not some­body who pays at­ten­tion to the de­tails. Link to your blog: If you have a web­site or blog, make sure to in­clude the link in your so­cial me­dia chan­nel pro­files. Hav­ing a web­site or blog in your pro­fes­sional area shows your ap­petite to be an ex­pert and also shows skills such as at­ten­tion to de­tail, writ­ing skills, vis­ual flair, and abil­ity to en­gage and be cre­ative.

Michelle Mur­phy, di­rec­tor at Collins McNi­cholas Re­cruit­ment & HR Ser­vices Group

Con­sider your au­di­ence: Even if a user isn’t post­ing of­fen­sive or in­ap­pro­pri­ate con­tent them­selves, other users (friends, fam­ily, and other con­nec­tions) can in­ad­ver­tently un­der­mine their pro­fes­sional rep­u­ta­tion on­line. You need to re­ally un­der­stand your au­di­ence. When that au­di­ence is mix­ing per­sonal and pro­fes­sional, it may cause mis­un­der­stand­ings. Be­ware of old con­tent: One of the most im­por­tant things to re­mem­ber about on­line con­tent is its per­ma­nence.

Don’t pester re­cruiters on­line:

Keep so­cial me­dia in­ter­ac­tions with hir­ing com­pa­nies to a min­i­mum. Re­frain from send­ing LinkedIn re­quests or bom­bard­ing the com­pany’s Face­book pro­file with com­ments. Bal­ance your con­tent: A prospec­tive em­ployer may be re­view­ing your per­sonal vs pro­fes­sional con­tent so en­sure there is not a higher ra­tio of non-work-re­lated posts on your feed. Watch your tim­ing: Be­cause most on­line con­tent is time-stamped a prospec­tive em­ployer can de­ter­mine if you have been reg­u­larly post­ing con­tent dur­ing work hours — so be­ware. Stay ac­tive: Par­tic­i­pate in group dis­cus­sions, share ex­per­tise, point some­one to an ar­ti­cle, and be a thought leader if you are se­ri­ous about mak­ing your so­cial me­dia foot­print work for you.

Maeve Ah­ern O’Neill, cre­ative di­rec­tor of The Brand­ing of Me.

Make rel­e­vant con­nec­tions:

Make con­nec­tions on LinkedIn that are rel­e­vant to your pro­fes­sion. Fol­low com­pany pages and see who oth­ers fol­low to ex­pand your net­work. Up­load ar­ti­cles to show­case your in­ter­est in your field. Join LinkedIn groups. Set up a blog: Set­ting up a blog al­lows your au­di­ence to re­ally get a feel for you — your ac­com­plish­ments, skills and ca­reer pro­gres­sion. Sched­ule con­tent: Each plat­form has its own unique post­ing sched­ule. Use sched­ul­ing tools like Buf­fer or Hoot­suite to sched­ule posts to keep it ac­tive. Use Twit­ter and In­sta­gram more fre­quently than other plat­forms as they are faster mov­ing. Im­ages: Pic­tures catch the eye of read­ers so stock­pile qual­ity im­ages and use them.

From left: Zahid As­lam, Aoife Porter, Michelle Mur­phy, and Maeve Ah­ern O’Neill.

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