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A student’s guide to job hunting on social media

Two women looking at a job website on a tablet

Love connecting with your friends online? How about improving your career prospects?

The average student in the UK spends 11.4 hours per week logged on to social networking sites. Now imagine if you used some of that time to boost your profile on LinkedIn, or looking out for internships and job opportunities on Twitter…

Whether you’ve just started your studies or you’re about to graduate, these simple tips could give you the edge when it comes to job hunting.

Step 1: Analyse your online presence

Google yourself! This is likely to be the first thing employers do, too.

Google has a handy feature which allows you to keep up-to-date with what is published on the internet about you, called Me on the Web.

The next thing you should check is Facebook. Make sure you keep your privacy settings high and that your profile and cover picture are appropriate in a professional context. It can also be good to add information to your ‘About me’ section – this is a chance to show off how many languages you speak, the subject you study and what your interests are.

Step 2: Create an account on LinkedIn

To get noticed on LinkedIn, follow these five steps:

     1. Create a profile, with a professional-looking photo
     2. Build a solid network of contacts
     3. Join relevant groups
     4. Gather recommendations and endorsements
     5. Keep your profile up-to-date – add any new skills you’ve learned and work experience you’ve gained.

This is an example LinkedIn profile. Tip: Check the strength of your profile at the top right!

For more advice – including tips from LinkedIn's own experts – read our full article about LinkedIn here.

Step 3: Get tweeting

If you’re not familiar with Twitter, it’s a good idea to keep your profile simple.

Start with the basics: you might want to put your job pitch in your bio (for example: ‘Highly-skilled engineering graduate looking for new opportunities’), and you should have a good, clear photo. You can also include a link to an online CV or your LinkedIn profile.

Some people like to have several separate profiles on Twitter: for example, a more serious ‘professional’ account as well as a personal account with a pseudonym (a pen name) which you use to chat with friends. This can be a good way of controlling your image online.

Once your profile looks good, start following others: companies you might be interested in working for, people in those companies, recruitment agencies, job websites and people who inspire you. Twitter is about conversations, so don’t be afraid to engage people and share your thoughts about trends and developments in your industry.

You can even tweet about your job search by asking, ‘any graduate openings coming up?’ or ‘any internships on offer at the moment?’. The idea of ‘following’ people and ‘being followed’ is to build a network which you can use to help you locate opportunities.

Twitter pages that advertise jobs often make it clear in the name – for example, '@companynamejobs'

Step 4: Have a passion? Blog about it!

Blogs can be a fantastic way to show off your personality, interests and skills. If you post regularly, employers will see that you’re dedicated and that you have good communication skills. Just make sure the content on your blog is polished and coherent – always proofread, or ask a trusted friend to proofread, to check your spelling and grammar.

Blogs can be used to talk about pretty much any subject and can also be a good way of showing employers that you keep up-to-date with innovations and changes in your fields of interest – for example, if you write about technology, the media, economics, the environment or the arts.

Step 5: The web is your oyster

If you don’t enjoy writing but you’re good at design, photography, art, crafts or filmmaking, there are dozens of websites you can use to demonstrate your skills: Pinterest, Instagram, Flickr, YouTube or Vimeo are some of the better-known sites. But be selective! Don’t clutter your account with anything and everything you find interesting – always think about what message or impression you want to give to people landing on your profile.

Even if you’re not ‘artsy’, it’s still a good idea to document what you do. Having photographs of group projects, your student life, travels or extracurricular activities online will show employers that you’re active, sociable and hard-working. You know what they say… a picture is worth a thousand words!

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