There are a wide range of different social media types, and these vary in importance in relation to job searching and raising your profile.

Apart from some niche areas, I would say that LinkedIn is the most important in terms of business. I would recommend that everyone has a profile. It’s free (though there are paid plans too, and I have one, but not everyone needs one). Your profile is essentially an online CV. Many employers and recruiters (myself included) actively look for people on LinkedIn for jobs they have available. There are some things to bear in mind:

  • Add a profile picture, something professional with you looking at the camera- not a cropped photo of you on holiday or in the pub.
  • Make sure the employment section is filled in, including temporary or voluntary roles- and check the dates are the same as on your CV (some employers cross reference this).
  • Add a headline that is relevant to what people may look for, for example ‘2021 Marketing graduate looking for Digital role in Manchester’ – and make sure to update it when you get a job.
  • Add connections. These can be course-mates, people from the university, friends, work-colleagues. The more connections you have, the more 2nd degree connections you have, and without going too much into it this is hugely important in developing your presence. Though do try to keep them relevant, and don’t just look at the numbers; for example, adding too many people in other countries, if you won’t be doing business or looking for a job there- this can be counter-productive as LinkedIn uses an algorithm that affects what content you see, and who sees yours.
  • Try and get written recommendations, for example from managers at work or lecturers. These are hugely effective.
  • As with all social media there are occasionally fake profiles, and I would advise against connecting with them. These are often easy to spot (mainly as they have few connections, and little content on the profile, with a model type photo).
  • Make sure you mark yourself as being available for work. This can be done by adding a ‘looking for work’ banner. Or more discreetly by selecting the ‘finding new job’ option from the drop down menu in the ‘Open to’ section below your photo; this won’t be seen by your current employer, but can be seen by recruiters who have access to the premium LinkedIn package. Remember to take this off when you do get a job, or you will still come up in recruiters searches.
  • If you get a message from a recruiter on LinkedIn, reply asap if you are interested. If you are not interested then it is good practice to click the ‘not interested’ reply option, then they will know not to follow up to see if you are interested. Or even better, reply to say you are not interested and let them know what you are ideally looking for-  then they may contact you if something more suitable comes in.
  • If you connect with someone it is polite to reply when they send you a message- especially if it was you who sent the initial connection request. If someone requests that I connect with them I always send a thank-you note after I accept, and ask them to let me know if I can be of help. You may be surprised how many do not reply. This is not just bad manners it is poor business etiquette.
  • Make sure you log on regularly to see who has contacted you, so you don’t miss out on anything. Check your inbox on LinkedIn,
  • Add sections like skills etc, follow businesses, and join groups.

It shouldn’t take more than an hour to get a good, solid profile. I would say that if you don’t want to invest this time then it would be better to delete your profile. It doesn’t look good when a profile comes up with just a name, degree type, one connection and nothing else- it can be interpreted as not following through with actions, or give an impression of inactivity, and it can do more harm than good.

The one thing I would say that all social media channels have in common, is that you need to consider what you put on them. Consider how happy you would be for your boss to see your photos and content- and if the answer is ‘not at all’ then make sure that settings are private. Many employers do search online to check out potential and current employees, including on social media profiles,  and I have even heard of offers being withdrawn, or people losing their jobs,  in extreme cases.

I also use Twitter and Instagram to advertise jobs, and post content, and if you use them it is also worth looking to see if there are any accounts that would be useful to follow. My account details are below.

Instagram: sme_graduate_employment

Twitter: @SMEgraduates

Matthew Parry,
Director. SME Graduate Employment

SME Graduate employment is a specialist graduate recruitment agency. Covering permanent roles, fixed-term contracts, student / undergraduate and graduate internships, and sandwich placements. All areas of the UK, and most industries and job types.

You can see student and graduate jobs advertised here and read more blogs and advice to help develop your employability skills here