Having the right sort of profile, and upping your activity levels online, can reap rewards if you’re looking for a job, says Georgina Fuller.
As an HR practitioner, the chances are you’ve already got the basics covered when it comes to jobseeking. You’ll have a LinkedIn profile and have made it look suitably professional, and you may be active on the sorts of channels where suitable roles are likely to appear. You may even have added a phrase such as “actively seeking an HR role” to your Twitter or Google+ profile.
Unfortunately, that’s just the start. Whether you’re an active jobseeker or just keep a casual eye open, knowing how to market yourself effectively on social media is now pretty much essential. And that begins with the importance of online housekeeping, which is all too often overlooked.
Try Googling your name, for starters, advises Alison Battisby, social media consultant at Avocado Social. “If there is anything irrelevant or inappropriate remove it, or ask the website hosting it to take it down as soon as possible as this could be damaging to your online brand.”
Plenty of people are caught out by Facebook or Twitter when they begin looking for a role – surveys have shown a significant number of recruiters are prepared to peruse candidates’ social media feeds, and no matter how ethical you feel the practice is the chances are you won’t consider how such ‘secondary’ social media channels make you appear to a future employer.
Keeping it clean is the watchword. Checking the privacy settings on your Facebook posts and making sure there are no incriminating photos of you is a must and, if you have an open Twitter account, a professional tone and an absence of controversial opinions will go a long way.
Used properly, Twitter can also be an invaluable tool in building your online identity. By posting links and following people and topics that interest you, you can demonstrate your interests and improve your employability. And don’t forget it can be a source of unadvertised jobs. Jonathan Pollinger, social media consultant at Intranet Future, says: “Use TweetDeck or a tool like Twilert to monitor key words or phrases such as 'HR professional' or 'HR team vacancy'.”
CV-posting should extend beyond LinkedIn for the active jobseeker. Sites such as indeed.co.uk and Google+ will ensure your details are picked up by a range of different employers, and there are a range of job boards for specific sectors or professions (including, of course, PM Jobs for HR and L&D roles). To stand out further, you could consider creating your own content, says Pollinger. “Do something different, such as a video CV or a CV or job board on Pinterest where you tell the story of your career. You can make your board secret if you don't want your current employer to know you are looking to move on,” he says.
Ash Loughnane, PR and media executive at hospitality firm TISSL, advocates blogging as a way to get noticed: “You can create a free professional blog through a site such as WordPress. This can be used to share experiences of previous employment or education, or to discuss brands, businesses, news and just about anything else that interests you.”
Above all, make sure you have a basic knowledge and presence on social media, says Jay Perkins, owner of Sprout Media agency. “Social Media is the new telephone,” he says. “It is how people communicate today so if you, as a jobseeker, can forge an online network – which you should be doing before, during and after any job search – and have an understanding of how social media works, you are already a step ahead of the rest.”