Social media has taken 21st century life by storm. Not only can you share photos with people on the other side of the world with just a click of a button, but you can also organise events and keep in touch with friends and family. Employers however, are also using social networking sites to reach out to potential graduate employees and vet candidates. Studies show that 80% of HR teams use Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter for sourcing new staff. It is therefore very important that they are not put off by what they see.

Your social networking sites are an online advertisement of yourself, and you should only post and share things that you want to be associated with. Here are some simple steps to ensure that employers like what they see, and tips on maximising your use of social media accounts to secure yourself a graduate job.

  1. Get everything squeaky clean. According to a study undertaken by Career Builder, 55% of employers who researched job applicants on social media claim that they found something which caused them not to hire that applicant. Although all employers were young once and can appreciate that university often involves a lot of partying and maybe one or two off-the-cuff fancy dress costumes, it is extremely important to present yourself in a professional manner. That includes no inappropriate photos of yourself being uploaded or tagged, no bad language, and no sharing or affiliation with controversial or derogatory posts. A good idea might be to create professional and private accounts, separating what you think is best kept for people you already know. Also, have a quick Google search of yourself, any YouTube video or old blog post you have made public years ago might still easily be accessible by employers. Remember, your social networking page represents you and your values – make the right impression.
  2. Get LinkedIn. LinkedIn has been the phenomenon over the last few years and every employer has an account these days, making it an essential tool in the recruitment process. It is a professional platform where you can communicate your knowledge, suitability, and passion for a position. As well as allowing you to post your experience and qualifications, you can connect with professionals from around the world. LinkedIn is effectively an online CV, making it is crucial to highlight your key skills and experience which you think are most relevant to the grad job you want to obtain.
  3. Follow and share. The great thing about social networking sites is that you have access to so many people and articles. Use these to your advantage! Whichever industry you want to work in, you need to show potential employers you’re passionate. Scope out the market, find market leaders and company’s which interest you within your area, and follow their page. When they post an article which interests you or is relevant to the grad job you wish to pursue, like and share it. This will help you to develop a strong understanding of the industry you wish to become an employee in and also give you a stronger understanding of the companies within the sector. In turn this will help you to decide where you want to work. Additionally this will give you first hand access to great vacancies when they become available. It is also a good idea to follow relevant recruitment companies on social media sites as this is often the first place new jobs will be posted.
  4. Ask…Ask…Ask… Graduates are extremely lucky to have all these online tools at their fingertips – USE THEM! Being able to connect with potential employers is a very valuable tool, therefore make the most of it. Nine times out of ten, people are always happy to give you advice, or even to meet you for a coffee to share their wisdom and experiences. However, there is a way to go about it. Make it personal, finding common ground with those people you’re approaching. On LinkedIn you can see what schools and university people have attended and what posts they have shared. This will help give you conversation starters and people will be far more likely to help if they can see that you have made an effort and are genuinely interested in their profession and advice. There is no harm in asking.
  5. Don’t neglect traditional norms. Whilst social media is integral to your job hunt, it is important not to solely rely on it. Many employers won’t see the benefits of it and will rely much more on face to face meetings and interview techniques. Therefore, take advantage of social media and all its amazing tools, however make sure you brush up on your handshake and interview skills too. Social media is an asset rather than a fast-track to a graduate job.