Careers Service

Using social media for networking and job hunting

A large number of graduate recruiters now have Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn profiles. They use these to share information and communicate with students, and some organisations use social media for headhunting, proactively looking for talented potential recruits. Many internships and jobs are advertised via social media, particularly Twitter and LinkedIn, so if you’re not using these sites for careers purposes, you could miss opportunities. Recruiters use social media because it's generally free or cheap, their messages can reach a wide audience quickly, and it’s often possible to research candidates online.

For more details of how you can use Twitter and LinkedIn for careers networking and job hunting, see:

Showing that you are “social media savvy” is essential in some sectors. Eg if you want a career in the media, marketing or PR employers will expect you to have a strong, professional online presence and have experience using social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, blogs, YouTube and LinkedIn effectively, since social media has become a central communication channel for them.

Managing your digital footprint

Many employers check candidates’ online profiles (Google searches, checking Facebook and Twitter profiles etc) at some point during the selection process. Your digital footprint will form part of the overall impression that the recruiter has of you. You have every opportunity to impress recruiters with a professional-looking profile, but you can damage your chances of getting a job with an ill-judged photo or comment that makes you look unprofessional.

What won’t impress potential employers:

  • Poor grammar and spelling (think of your public social media profiles as an extension of your CV)
  • Inappropriate photos
  • Information about drinking and drug use
  • Lying about qualifications or experience
  • Unprofessional screen names (e.g. sexyvicky)
  • Racist, sexist or offensive comments.

What will impress potential employers:

  • Excellent communication skills
  • Professional image portrayed
  • Good fit for company’s culture
  • Wide range of interests
  • Positive recommendations, achievements, qualifications, experience, awards etc.

To ensure you maintain a professional online profile:

  • Keep your personal and professional social networking profiles separate, and make sure you set your privacy settings to the maximum on any profiles you want to maintain for purely social purposes (e.g. Facebook).
  • Do a regular Google search on your name (while logged out of your social networking accounts) and look at the search results through the eyes of a potential recruiter. Clean up any “digital dirt” that you find. Remember that other people can sometimes add you to groups or post photos of you on social networking sites (particularly Facebook) without your consent or even knowledge.