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How to optimise social media to improve your job search

03/04/2019
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It’s estimated that 70% of employers check candidates’ social media profiles before making a hire.

Having a strong LinkedIn profile helps employers see how you present yourself professionally
(Image via LinkedIn)

For many people, this causes concern - most social media posts reflect what we do outside work, rather than showcase professional development. 

LinkedIn, however, is different. This is your opportunity to express the professional side of yourself, and show off your career achievements. So when you’re looking for a new job it’s important to actually utilise it. 

These are the top things you need to do to present a professional LinkedIn profile that will attract employers.

Your LinkedIn photo should be smart, relaxed and current
(Image via LinkedIn)

1. Upload a professional photo

This is the first thing that’s going to be noticed on your profile, so it’s important that your photo is current and professional.

First thing’s first - you need to actually upload a picture. It seems obvious, but some people will overlook it and, in a world where people are wary of spambots and fake profiles, nothing raises suspicion like a blank photo space. 

Secondly, make sure your photo is of you and nothing else. This isn’t the chance to show off the Thai beach you visited last summer, it isn’t a place to feature a group shot of your best friends and it definitely is not a suitable opportunity to post a picture of your cat - no matter how adorable she is. 

Just keep it simple. Professionalism doesn’t have to mean wearing a full business suit and standing underneath your company’s logo. Just a basic head and shoulders shot with no-one else in the frame and a non-distracting background is fine. Relax and smile - you want to look approachable.

Finally, don’t let your photo go out of date. You don’t need to upload a new one too regularly, but you want to do it every so often so that you’re easily recognisable to someone who may have only met you once or twice. So if you’ve changed your appearance - say, got a completely different haircut, grown a beard, started wearing glasses - it’s time to update your photo.

Reinforce your claims by reaching out to former or current colleagues for recommendations
(Image via Pixabay)

2. Reach out for recommendations

Probably the most overlooked aspect of most peoples’ LinkedIn profiles is the recommendations feature - yet it’s a helpful and visible aspect that can boost your credibility.

You don’t need a lot of recommendations, but it certainly helps to have a few strong ones that hiring managers can see on your profile. They can show off some of your biggest accomplishments or best features, without making you appear braggy. 

So reach out to colleagues or past bosses and just ask them to write a quick couple of sentences on a project you’ve worked together on. Offer to write one for them at the same time, so you’ll both benefit. 

Asking can be uncomfortable, but often people are more than willing to help you out - particularly if you’re returning the favour. 

You can even push them to focus on a specific aspect of a problem - eg. “could you please write a recommendation for me about the time I came up with a new solution for improving efficiency on project X?”, “would you mind mentioning that I led a team of 5 people?”. That way you can make sure you’re getting the most effective and relevant comments that you want future employers to see.

Refresh the content on your page to ensure it's relevant, up to date and reflects what's on your CV

3. Update your headline and descriptions

The meat of your profile comes from the story of your career so far. So you want to make sure that it’s relevant to the roles you’re looking for. 

Before you begin your job search, refresh all the content in your profile to make it snappy, relevant and informative. Lead with a short, detailed overview of your experience so far - between 100-300 words - that includes the sort of role you’re seeking next.

Within the experience section include details of the key achievements you’ve had in past roles, emphasising the sort of thing that’s relevant to the job you’re seeking. 

Aside from relevancy, the next most important thing is standing out. So include any achievements that are specific to your roles, and above all avoid buzzwords like “customer-centric”, “overseeing a spectrum of activity”, “delivering solutions”.

Most importantly - make sure your experiences match up to what's on your CV. 

It’s also worth reviewing your headline. LinkedIn sets it to your current position as standard, but if you’re looking to stand out it helps to change it highlight your main goals, or top achievements.

Don't leave your profile unattended. Interact with others to build up your network and demonstrate your engagement with the industry. It could even help you connect with people offering potential opportunities.

4. Post, comment and share

Unlike other social media platforms, many users of LinkedIn will simply set up their own page and then leave it alone. 

But, as with all networking, you get out what you put in, and if your profile shows that you haven’t posted in months then future employers are less likely to view you as an engaged, interested part of their industry community. You don’t need to be an expert to post about a recent successful project or news story from the industry, and you can engage further by sharing and commenting on other peoples posts.

Aside from just making you appear more engaged with your marketplace, you may find that it leads to new opportunities. Sharing relevant, informative and engaging posts opens your network up to other people within your industry - including those who may be seeking professionals in your field. 

Don't reserve social media for "out of work" activities. Set up a professional-looking LinkedIn page to reinforce your career goals and boost your job prospects

Make the most out of social media in your job search by optimising your LinkedIn profile to present yourself to potential employers as an engaged, knowledgeable and experienced professional.

Now you know how to improve your job prospects, secure your next role with Fircroft

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Recent Comments
Thanks for clearly and usefull advice, but a Ihave a question... In the first advice about professional foto, as example you show the foto Laura Beritzhoff, but do you know that insert foto in profile possible only in circle format and foto have to size no more than 8 Mb? Due this fact your advice about professional foto is not actual, sory)))
Mikhail, 05 April 2019
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