Developing Your Professional Online Presence

Social media is one of the fastest growing aspects of the modern world, with the amount of people using social media websites increasing by the day. It has been stated that social media sites such as Twitter and LinkedIn have hundreds of millions of users, with Facebook having a whopping one billion. It may surprise you to know that using these websites can be very beneficial to graduates who are looking for jobs, as you can easily be noticed by potential employers and can therefore gain employment through presenting yourself well. Being a student myself I can see why someone would struggle to present themselves properly online – there’s too much temptation to spend all your time posting statuses about partying instead of creating content that will impress employers. But with 80% of companies using social media in recruitment, it is vital that we all start to develop our online professional presence.
Here are some ways to help you improve your professional presence online and also the reasons behind them:

Be Careful!
Imagine you’re on a night out, back in the days before Facebook existed and you get incredibly drunk and do something incredibly stupid. You may regret it, but after a few days or weeks it’ll be forgotten, and it’ll all be over. Your future employers would never have any idea what stupid mistake you made, so you’re fine to get that job you’ve been after. Now imagine that exact same situation, but complete with a Facebook status update and loads of embarrassing pictures. Nobody who could see your Facebook would dream of employing you.
After all the university antics it’s very important to make sure your Facebook account and your dignity are still intact. Have your friends posted any embarrassing pictures of you that you wouldn’t want potential employers to see? Have you posted any angry statuses about the flatmate who stole your bagel? Companies don’t want to be represented by the shameless drunk who swears more than Gordon Ramsay so keep the Facebook activity professional or increase your privacy settings. Don’t forget the photo settings – Facebook privacy can catch you out!

Make them Aware
According to ExecuNet, 77% of employers search candidates online before employing them and it can be your social media profile that will sway the decision between you and another candidate. So, what if you don’t have a suitable one? The majority of people wouldn’t want a potential employer seeing their Facebook, which is where LinkedIn comes in handy. Linked in is the professional equivalent of Facebook – it is a business network where professionals go to connect. You can make employers aware that you’re searching for a job, upload your CV and share your skills. Why not give it a go?

Blog About It
Blogs are really beneficial to have, with companies hiring people based on the knowledge and skills illustrated in their blog. Women’s magazine ‘Company’ have hired people because of their blogs, so you never know who might be watching. If you blog on topics related to the sector you want to work in, it is possible for employers to find you from this and if they like what they see then chances are you’ll be hired. You can also blog about what you’re learning in your lectures – it will prove your interest. Showing off your knowledge can give much needed evidence for the skills you listed on your CV, which can really improve your employability.

Join in the Discussion
Social media is a great way for graduates to show off their skills to potential employers, which is important when you have limited work experience. Showing you are capable of involving yourself in discussions on websites such as Twitter and LinkedIn illustrates both your knowledge and interest to employers, and will really assist with getting a graduate job. So join in! Search for a #hashtag that relates to your field on Twitter, or join a group on LinkedIn to discuss something. You never know who might be watching.

It’s important to develop you professional online presence so get going with it – it could help you get your foot in the door at that company you’ve always wanted to work for.