Managing your online presence

twitter-292994_960_720At our recent ‘What Employers Want’ event, run on campus by Accenture, we heard about the importance of managing your online presence (sometimes called digital footprint).

Some employers will search for candidates online to find out more information about them, before deciding who to take to interview. There are plenty of places an employer could look:

  • Profiles on Facebook,Twitter or LinkedIn.
  • Discussion boards, blogs, or articles you may have contributed to or featured in.
  • Photographs that you, your friends or family have posted online.

Once information is out there, it’s there for good, so it’s important to think carefully about what you’re sharing. A simple way to find out what’s out there already is to search for yourself on Google. Put simply, if you can find information about you online, then so can an employer!

What should you avoid?

  • Unprofessional profile pictures.
  • Inappropriate posts or comments, including anything racist, sexist or homophobic, bad language, or anything negative about an employer or colleague (there are plenty of stories of people being fired for this, even before they’ve started the job!).
  • Photos from drunken nights out.
  • Complaining about university work or negative comments about lecturers and classmates.
  • Inappropriate Twitter handles – think what your name says about you.

Of course, if an employer searches for you online and there is no record of you whatsoever, this also may seem a bit odd! Whilst there are things to avoid, there is much to gain from having an online presence:

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Using LinkedIn to network

LinkedIn is a professional networking site, and more and more employers are now using it to search for suitable candidates. It’s an effective way to keep in touch with recruiters or people you meet at networking events, and allows you to quickly build up your network of contacts. You can:

  • Showcase your CV, in the form of your online profile, which is searchable by employers
  • Connect with individuals working in your chosen field
  • Research people’s career paths
  • Search for jobs

Our suggestions for getting started:

  • Don’t be tempted to use LinkedIn as a professional Facebook page. Only write appropriate updates and comments.
  • Complete your profile. Make it easier for people to find you by including your name, location, education, skills and experience.
  • Have a profile image. A professional headshot is recommended.
  • Add connections. Begin by searching for people you already know. Invite past and current co-workers and, where relevant, classmates, friends and family to connect with you. More connections gives you greater access to other users, by expanding your network.
  • Get recommendations and endorsements. Ask people who have worked with you to give you a recommendation or endorsement, which is visible to anyone who views your profile.
  • Become an active member of groups, share content and engage in discussions. They’re a good place to get advice and find industry professionals.
  • Update your information regularly – you never know when recruiters might be looking at your page!

Top tips for using LinkedIn to network

  • Find the right people: Search for companies and job titles that you’re interested in.
  • Ask for help and be clear: Ask something specific like, ‘I’d like to know how you started out in your chosen career?’
  • Personalise: Why are you reaching out to this person? Do you have a shared connection or admire their career path?
  • Be considerate: Understand that time is very important and explain that you’d really appreciate as little as 10 minutes.
  • Follow up: You might not hear back straight away, but do politely follow up about two weeks later.

Guest blog – A career in digital marketing

Specialist Roles Available Within Digital Marketing

Samantha Condliffe – Digital Marketing Exec at Infinities Designer Menswear

online-marketing-1246457_1280The digital marketing landscape is changing rapidly due to developments in technology and the increased usage of the internet through mobile phones and tablets. Naturally these changes have created demand for digital marketing executives, including some very specialist roles. As these changes are still considerably fresh, they are yet to fully filter through to the education system, meaning that many students are not fully aware of every avenue their marketing degree opens up. The specialist nature of these roles means that they are highly sought after and carry with them great progression and salary opportunities.

Here I will run through the main specialist roles within digital marketing:

Email

An email marketer carefully constructs emails which are sent out to a database of subscribers in order to achieve a specific end goal such as increasing sales, donations, the number of people reading their content and so on. There is definitely a clever science to

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How social media can help you get that job!

Are you getting the most out of social media when it comes to looking for jobs? Whether you want to find out about new companies, explore different job roles, or market yourself to future employers, see our overview of how to make the most of the following online tools:

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a professional networking site, with over 100 million users. It is free to join and relatively easy to set up a profile. Unlike Facebook, it is a business orientated site, where companies and individuals build connections and network.  You do not have to already be in employment to join LinkedIn, in fact, there is a dedicated area relating to students.

You can use LinkedIn to:

  • Market yourself. Put together a professional online ‘CV’ that demonstrates your skills and motivations. Ask past employers or tutors to endorse your work through recommendations. Employers look for potential candidates on LinkedIn and some recruiters search out candidates on the site so it is a good way of marketing your skills and experience.
  • Find vacancies and get recruited. Employers are increasingly advertising jobs on LinkedIn so use it to find vacancies. There is an easy to use job search tool whereby you can get job alerts sent to you. Add as many of your skills as possible to your profile to ensure that you come up when recruiters search for candidates.
  • Build up your network. Start by connecting with friends, family, other students on your course and people you have worked with or interned with in the past. Join your school and university alumni groups as this will contact you to hundreds more people. You can also invite people to join LinkedIn and connect with them.
  • Use your network. Find out information about jobs, sectors and organisations by asking relevant people in your network. Use the connections you have to open up new connections, which may in turn lead to opportunities. Use LinkedIn networks to information interview, pose questions on group discussion pages and look at other people’s profiles to get a sense of how their careers have developed in particular industries.
  • Engage with companies. Find organisations you are interested in and follow them, thereby getting up to date information on what the organisation is doing, its profile and whether it is hiring at the moment. Ask organisation contacts about culture of the organisation, what it’s like to work there and how they got their job.
  • Join groups that are in the field you are interested in and link up to like-minded people, post questions and demonstrate to employers that you have an active interest in the field.

social media icons

Twitter

Companies and organisations use Twitter to provide information about what they are doing as well as posting job vacancies. You don’t have to tweet yourself but doing so can demonstrate to employers that you are engaged and interested in the industry.

You can use Twitter to:

  • Follow companies, people, organisations of interest and brands to get industry insight and keep up to date. Tweet questions and ask for information or advice, which can contribute to your online networking activities.
  • Use # (hashtags) for a quick way of searching for particular roles. For example, search for #internship to bring up each tweet that has been tagged with that term. Ensure that your tweets are positive and informed so as to give potential employers a good impression.
  • Follow jobsites to get the latest vacancies and follow QM Careers to keep up to date with career events and news.

Facebook

Whilst Facebook is not a business website, you may wish to use it for the following:

  • Follow organisations that use Facebook for marketing, recruitment and updating information on their activities.
  • There may be people in your Facebook network that work for organisations that you are interested in.  You could send them an email through Facebook asking them quick, informal questions to get a bit more information.
  • QM Careers has a facebook page where we will post information on current jobs, information on careers events and careers related articles and links.

Blogs

Large organisations often have blogs written by their graduate trainees or interns which give insight into the company. Be aware that these are likely to have been vetted by the company themselves so may not present the most balanced information. Unofficial blogs can give more insight but keep an open mind when reading them.

You may wish to show future employers your writing skills, your interest in a subject area and your engagement with an industry through writing your own blog. This is especially useful for careers which require you to demonstrate strong writing skills e.g. journalism.

YouTube

YouTube is the second largest search engine and as such, is a good way to find out more information about companies and what it is like to work for them.  Larger companies often post information and advice on interviewing and assessment centres.  You can also use YouTube to get information from careers professionals on different aspects of job hunting and find ‘how to’ videos on setting up profiles, writing CV’s etc.  We have produced some short videos interviews of QM Graduates talking about their jobs, which are posted on our YouTube channel.

Employers turning to social media to advertise vacancies

We recently attended a conference in Birmingham called Facilitating students and graduates in presenting themselves for the 21st century. Catchy title, we know. But the event was full of useful information about graduate job hunting, including how employers are starting to use social media to advertise their vacancies.

So there’s nothing new with this concept as such – companies have been using sites like Twitter and Facebook to promote their vacancies for years now. The crucial part is that organisations are finding the quality of applicants is higher when they have found a vacancy via social media. And it’s cheaper for companies (in case you didn’t know, companies have to pay to advertise their positions on jobs boards, generally a few hundred pound for each advertisement, depending on the site). So free job advertising and a better quality of applicant – social media is a win-win for employers. Which might mean an increase in vacancies only being advertised via social media sites.

playing with phone

What does this mean for you?

Well we’ve said it many a time but as a student/graduate today you HAVE to be on social media and we mean proactively using it to promote yourself, to find out about companies and to network. If you don’t have a LinkedIn account make one now! We mean it. Stop what you’re doing and sign up right now. Even reading this blog. Just open another tab in your browser and get going and then come back to us in a few minutes. We’ll still be here.

……………..

Ok have you done it? It’s pretty quick and easy to get started isn’t it? Don’t worry if your profile looks a bit basic at the moment. You can come and have a chat with us to see how to improve it. You can also take a look at some of our other posts about using LinkedIn. The main thing for now is that you are on there and can start to build connections and play around with it.

Next point, if you only use Twitter or Facebook to find out what your friends are up to then you’re missing out on potentially great opportunities to find jobs and let employers find you. Again, we’ve written about this before and you can check out previous posts here. It’s simple stuff – follow companies you’re interested in, read what they or their current employees are up to, comment on things when you have something intelligent and appropriate to say and generally be a nice, friendly person.

And in terms of keeping your social media accounts clean it’s quite simple…if you wouldn’t want a relative to see your Twitter or Facebook accounts than they’re not suitable for employers to view. And they will find you. So keep that inappropriateness to WhatsApp (or WhatsUp as my Dad likes to call it).

How to get a job using social media

This is a guest post by Nationwide Jobs

In this day and age social media is not just part of our personal lives; it is now a huge part of the recruitment process. To find a business that isn’t on social media is rare now. This can be a great thing, with candidates searching for a job having more access to the inner workings of a prospective company than they have ever had before. However, it also means those same businesses have much more of an insight into who you are, long before you’ve even had the chance to present yourself at interview stage.

So, along with your CV, your cover letter and your interview skills, more than ever your social presence needs to be up to scratch and saying all the right things. Here’s a few tips to start you off.

Get your profile picture right

This is quite possibly the hardest thing to get right on social media. Your profile picture is the first chance to make an impression on a new employer and, as we all know, first impressions count. It takes just seven seconds for someone to form an opinion of you so this first visual counts. So show who you are and your personality but imagine you are showing the picture to your boss. Rein in the partying and racy images.

Check your handle

Remember the day you had to change your email address from “sxc_m8@hotmail.com” or crazi-beastxx@gmail.com” to something more professional? This might have been to apply for your first job or to send an application off to a prospective university. Whatever the reason, the same principles apply to your Twitter handle. You may have created it years ago and don’t really think about it anymore, but a new employer will. Along with your profile picture your handle is the first thing they’ll see and associate with you. So keep it appropriate.

Get your tone of voice right

The right tone of voice can present you in a great light or a terrible one. Alongside the content you’re putting out into the world, whether it’s interesting, thought provoking and most importantly, spelt correctly, your tone of voice needs to be friendly, approachable but professional. Employers will be looking for someone with the skills and intelligence to hit the ground running in their company, but also someone interesting and friendly to work well with the current team.

Professional presentation

You’ve heard it before, time and time again, don’t post your drunken pictures on social media. Present yourself well. This doesn’t mean you can’t be social on social media or be yourself, just be careful. Don’t talk about how drunk you were, how hungover you are and definitely don’t post about being angry with your current employer. Anything that could get you in trouble if you talked or acted that way in work probably shouldn’t be on your social media pages.

Don’t brag

Claiming to be something you’re not could be your downfall. Just as lying on your CV can lead to embarrassing moments down the line, lying about yourself on social media can lead to awkward questions during interviews. Remember that anything you say will be scrutinised by a new employer and without the context of meeting you in person; your social presence can be damaging and leave you looking foolish. If there’s one last thing to remember it is that you are not a guru and you’re probably not an expert, not in a world where technology and science is constantly changing, so don’t brag.