The recruiters are there. The employers are there. So why aren't the students? We share how students can make the most of social media to impress employers.
It’s a tough time to be a graduate. A tightened economic envelope and more competition for jobs among a wider pool of candidates means that students need to do everything they can to edge ahead. Digital technology offers one such opportunity. This spring, the University of Manchester launched a new service to connect its graduates to local SMEs (small and medium enterprises) in an attempt to stem the brain drain from the region. A similar co-operative effort in Scotland is also set to improve the job prospects of graduates from Scottish universities.
These university initiatives are evidence that in the professional world, you’re as likely to find a job online as in real life. Business development manager, Jill Corbey promotes new opportunities from recruiters to students through the online community StudentBoard. She says:
“In the last few years, social media has changed how things work on every level in the business world – but in terms of how students use social media to find a job, not much has changed at all.”
Although students may use social media to look for extra background on a recruiter, it’s clear that they aren’t interacting with them online.
StudentBoard account director Anouska Curzon says:
“I do think the way recruiters advertise to students has changed. Now social media is being used by graduate recruiters to advertise and target students.”
But there’s still a gap between the recruiter and the student. She explains,
“Students don’t necessarily get how to apply for jobs properly. They know how best to dress, how to do interviews, but not how to use social media.”
Anouska explains that students prefer to use social platforms for personal use.
“When it comes to Facebook we see the peacock effect,” she says. “People use it to show off where they are going and what they're doing. But while professionals prefer to use Twitter and LinkedIn for business interaction, students don’t use them at all.”
Top tips to help your web-savvy students looking for work
1. Make sure you have a suitable photo
This is what’s going to draw someone into your profile. You’re looking for a nice headshot, not a picture of you on holiday.
2. Use good business English
Mirroring the language of the industry you want to be in will help you make a positive first impression.
3. Think outside the box
If you haven’t got much experience of working, it’s especially important that anything that is relevant from your personal life is on there, for example groups or societies from university.
4. Pay attention to the details
Remember that this is your CV online. Grammar and spelling are still really important because recruiters will look at your profile.
5. Be yourself
Ensure that your personality still comes across to a future employer. Use Instagram and Pinterest to collect what you like. What you choose to tag may depend on your industry; artists may find these image-based sites useful, while a tech employee might prefer Google+.
6. Be sensitive to how other people use social media
Sometimes students aren’t aware of how professionals use LinkedIn. Asking a recruiter you haven’t met to be a contact on LinkedIn may not be appropriate. Instead, ask politely if that person would like to connect with you, before sending the invitation.
7. Consider separating out your business and personal accounts
If you have a particularly personal stream of information online, you may like to segment your profiles. LinkedIn and Twitter are the main business channels, so you could deflect attention from a busy personal Facebook account with a professional profile on one of those platforms.
8. Talk to recruiters
Concerned students should talk to recruiters about what they’d like showcased online – for example, send a link to your LinkedIn profile as part of your CV. Jill says:
“This whole area is a balance of responsibility. It’s for the recruiter or company to be honest about what they’re looking at, and for the student to be clued up on where their digital footprint is.”
This article originally featured in issue 37 of Jisc Inform.