We are certainly in the era of social networking and by the looks of things it is only going to get bigger. Unfortunately even our parents are jumping on the bandwagon. The majority of people nowadays will log on to a social network site daily, so isn't it time you made it work for you? According to recent reports a huge amount of jobs are now being offered due to social media and potential employers are getting savvy.
What you should be doing
Get tweeting. Twitter is now the main way of communicating with individuals, so why not narrow your tweets to recruiters or companies that you want to work for?
• Follow influential people in your field – more and more companies are using Twitter to get their messages out there in addition to new roles they are recruiting for. If you are connecting with employers on Twitter it will make you stand out from the crowd.
• Get to know what's going on in your industry –conducting searches and following the right people will help you know what's going on. It is extremely important you know all the updates and news when trying to get into a career (especially if you have had a career break).
Get on Linkedin. Linkedin is the largest professional network in the world with over 2 million companies already signed up. Linkedin is perfect for getting your career experience out there and lets you build contacts that were previously unattainable. Recruiters are now using Linkedin as a major headhunting technique so make sure you are not missing out.
• Treat it as an online CV – remember to add your skills in addition to explaining responsibilities in previous roles. If possible try and get a previous employer or colleague to post a reference.
• Join groups related to your work field – don't be afraid to join conversations and post interesting content. Influential people in those groups will see your activity and want to know more.
• Contact ex colleagues and class mates – you will be amazed at how persuasive a personal reference is. Perhaps you can utilise their contacts for your networking needs.
What you shouldn't be doing
We are all getting more knowledgeable that social media is a great way to track down that perfect job; however it could also hinder us too. It may seem obvious but you need to clean up your networking practices as recruiters are using social media to pre-screen applicants.
• Protect your privacy online – many people are already avoiding an access all areas approach when using social media. Make sure what you can see is not sending the wrong messages. Try logging out of your account and looking at what others will see e.g. photos, groups, 'likes' etc. Is there anything that would put off a potential employer? Search for yourself online and clean it up.
• Look at your posts – some posts are meant just for our close friends but doesn't mean it is only them that will see them. Check your tweeting language and what you are reblogging on Tumblr.
• Don't tweet in work time if you are employed – sending tweets about being bored and skiving off work will not make you the most enticing employee.
Social media can be used to show your knowledge and experience and communicate it to relevant people and industries. It is a great platform to create useful connections and learn about the business. Use social media to show off your expertise, you never know who might be reading your posts.
Charlotte Critchley is a keen social media enthusiast currently posting on behalf of Sentiment Metrics, specialists in social media monitoring.