Using Social Media Professionally

Social media isn’t just used for fun – it can have a real impact on your career too. More and more employers are now using social media to identify potential employees and even to screen potential recruits before deciding if they should offer them a job. Being smart about how you present yourself through social media can have a big impact on your career prospects.

Social media isn’t just used for fun – it can have a real impact on your career too. More and more employers are now using social media to identify potential employees and even to screen potential recruits before deciding if they should offer them a job. Being smart about how you present yourself through social media can have a big impact on your career prospects.

As well as making sure that your digital profile is clean and professional, here are some suggestions on how you can use social media to positively enhance your appeal to prospective employers.

Top Tips

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a professional social media site which allows you to create an online CV, connect with employers and highlight your career aspirations.

  • Upload a professional looking profile photo
  • Write an impact-making professional headline which includes information about your skills, experience qualifications and attributes such as “Information Management student, staff-student committee member, seeking web developer role, fluent Chinese speaker”
  • Include an summary statement that outlines your past achievements, highlights your relevant skills and states what your career aspirations and ambitions are
  • Give all the details you can about your past employment and education experience and try to highlight any transferrable skills
  • Keep your profile up-to-date with any new achievements, skills or activities
  • Search for and join relevant professional and student groups and connect with key thinkers in your discipline. Find people doing jobs that you would like to do and join the same groups
  • LinkedIn also has some great videos aimed at students

Twitter

This hugely popular microblogging social media channel can be a great tool for developing a professional online presence and demonstrating that you have excellent communication and networking skills. If you already tweet in a personal capacity and want to keep this separate, why not consider creating an additional professional twitter persona.

  • Be wary of over sharing personal information
  • Be aware that tweets stay around for a long time. Don’t post anything that could potentially embarrass you and create a poor impression with a future employer
  • Tweet about issues from your studies and personal activities that interest you to demonstrate knowledge of your chosen field
  • Follow professionals in your field and organisations you’d like to work for
  • If you re-tweet, demonstrate that you can add something to the content. You could include an evaluation, or a pointer for how the message is relevant to you, your followers or other professional groups
  • Remember to be polite, courteous and respectful when responding to others
  • Twitter can be a useful job searching tool and hints and tips on using it are available online

The Careers Service provides information and guidance on effective use of social media for your career on their website.

Social Media Skills for Students is another very useful website which gives hints and tips on using social media more effectively.

The Information School also runs seminars for students on social networking for your career. Contact Pam McKinney for further details by emailing p.mckinney@sheffield.ac.uk or on 0114 222 2650.