What do Facebook and Twitter have to do with your dream job? Whether you know it or not, you could already be connected to the person who can and will you give you your big break.
And it’s not just about candidates searching for jobs or high-level contacts – it’s a reciprocal situation. Social networking has also become increasingly important as a way for companies and recruiters to find talent. John Campagnino, then head of global recruiting at Accenture, went as far as saying he’d use social media to make as many as 40% of his hires in the next few years.
Nicholas Kirk, senior managing director at Page Personnel Finance, says: ‘Social media can be useful for networking within finance; there are a number of professional finance networks affiliated with ACCA. It would be useful to connect to these groups and get your name out there commenting on any relevant status updates.
‘Use social media to boost your job search – many businesses now embrace social media as part of their talent attraction strategy. A potential employer can discover a sense of your personality before an interview that they don’t necessarily get from your CV and cover letter.’
The power of LinkedIn
Special mention needs to be given to LinkedIn. LinkedIn can be a noisy and chaotic place – more than 400 million people all trying to network. But do you really need it?
Quite simply, yes! ‘LinkedIn is changing recruitment,’ according to Heather Townsend, Author of The FT Guide To Business Networking and co-author of How to make partner and still have a life. ‘It’s one of the first places recruiters or employers look for candidates.
‘If you’re trying to market yourself as young, fresh, forward-thinking, innovative, you need a LinkedIn profile, because if you don’t you’re not encapsulating those brand values, and guess who’s getting employed – those willing to take on new things, to move with the times and embrace technology.’
It’s not just about LinkedIn though
Ellis King, manager at Morgan McKinley, says: ‘It’s worth considering starting a blog and posting regularly on trends within the accounting field and personal insights and then share these on your other social media channels – could you tweet about it or seed it into a relevant accounting group on LinkedIn, for example? And be sure to also comment on other industry blogs to raise your online visibility.’
James Smith, associate director at Morgan McKinley, believes social media can be used to follow potential employers in a light-hearted way to find out what job opportunities they might have and as a means to start engaging with them.
‘Take a look at what channels they [potential employers] are using – LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook, for example, and connect with them so you can start engaging. If you view a potential hiring manager’s LinkedIn profile, for instance, they will be notified that you have done so and you will be on their radar,’ he says.
‘Likewise, if you start following them on Twitter, why not send them a message asking for more information about careers. Secondly, identify “touch points” – could you like their latest LinkedIn post and comment on it? Could you share their latest blog? This not only gets you on their radar, but it’s also good etiquette.’
Manage your profiles well
‘It’s imperative that your social media profiles are up to date and that you keep your professional and personal ones separate,’ says Ellis King.
‘Many employers and recruiters will do an online search of your name upon receiving a CV and you want to guarantee the results make you stand out for the right reasons. For example, make sure your personal Facebook account has the privacy setting switched on so your personal life stays this way and doesn’t impact your career aspirations.’
While it’s good to extend your network through social media by connecting with fellow professionals and potential employers, it’s important that you consider quality over quantity. It’s easy to waste time on social media without gaining much success. It’s a much better idea to identify the people and businesses that are realistically going to help you in your job search rather than connecting with just anyone.
It’s also worth remembering that no matter how strong your CV is, if an employer finds your online presence inappropriate or offensive in any way, you could be jeopardising your chances of landing the role or even getting an interview. If there are several good quality candidates all vying for the same position, an employer will be actively seeking ways to filter down their selection.
Kirk adds: ‘Don’t bad-mouth fellow colleagues, your boss or the company you currently or previously worked for on social networking sites. You can never be completely sure of who will access this information and their subsequent affiliations.
‘This is not to suggest that you’re overly fearful of social media or that you should feel inhibited – it’s just advisable to be aware of your online image.’
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