Thursday 15 November 2018

Social media can help you land the job of your dreams

Social media, especially Twitter, is a powerful networking tool that could bag you the right position.

Holly Shortall's celebrity illustrations
Holly Shortall's celebrity illustrations

Aoife Stuart-Madge

Thanks to Twitter, headhunting has hit the mainstream, and everyone has the power to connect with key players in their industry. All you have to do is put yourself out there and showing potential employers what you're made of.

"Be pro-active about promoting your own personal 'brand' online," says Greg Canty, a partner from Fuzion Communications, a specialist in social-media strategy. "A lot of employers will automatically check the profile of a potential employee to really suss out what someone is about.

"If you are a perspective employee, you can grab that opportunity and shape your own personal brand. It's all about self-promotion. Social media is a great platform to showcase your skills."

It's a strategy that worked for Dublin-based fashion illustrator Holly Shortall. She got herself noticed by tweeting her illustrations to celebrities. Soon, commissions from glossy magazines and top fashion and beauty brands were rolling in. "I didn't have a website, so I used Twitter to get my work out there. I was sketching illustrations of Irish celebrities, like Imelda May and Saoirse Ronan, and tweeting them in the hope they would like and share my work, which thankfully, they did," says Holly.

A few months on, a retweet of a drawing of Kelly Osbourne from the late Joan Rivers put Holly on the international map. She went on to land a commission from Cosmopolitan magazine to draw a series of sketches of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West re-imagined as Disney characters for their website.

Fast forward a few months, and Holly is juggling a portfolio of huge fashion and beauty clients. "I'm now in a position that I can pick and choose what projects I take on."

Holly is not alone. In the ever-competitive job market, social media whizz kids are coming up with increasingly ingenious ways to get noticed by potential employers.

Earlier this year, Liverpool law graduate Aimee Pye posted a picture of herself beside a pigeon with the hashtag #findaimeeajob. In her impassioned plea, she wrote, "Here's a selfie of me with a pigeon that walked right up to me which shows I'm approachable."

The 22-year-old was inundated with 7,000 likes and 5,000 shares and landed a job with a legal firm as a result. But Greg warns that hashtags like #findmeajob and #employme should only be used in conjunction with a strategic courtship of follows, shares and likes.

"Personalise generic invitations to connect on LinkedIn with a brief introduction," says Greg. "Have a clear follower strategy on Twitter. The minute you start commenting and interacting with the employer online, you are hundred steps above everyone else."

"It is a good idea to set up a personal blog using WordPress about the career area you are interested in," says digital marketing expert Conor Lynch.

Another tool is the Video CV. It should include what Fiona Ashe, from Flasheforward Communications, calls your "elevator pitch" - the one line that sums up the biggest benefit you can bring to a potential employer. You can maximise your audience by uploading your video to YouTube or Vimeo and sharing a link via Twitter, or you can target only specific employers by emailing them a private link.

PR executive Graeme Anthony's smooth Video CV pitch went viral, and resulted in countless job offers - including one from his current employer, Frank PR. "I was blown away by the reaction. When I met with my current employer, he started the interview by telling me that he felt he knew me already.

"That was a real strength as we instantly had a rapport. He ended up carving out a position for me," says Graeme.

"It's all about getting on an employer's radar by having that spark of originality and showing them something different."

Top 5 tips to get #headhunted

1. Polish Your Profile

Your Linked In profile should be sparkling. As well as an up-to-date CV, it should contain work projects you're proud of and include logos from previous jobs. Ask for recommendations from previous employers and colleagues too.

2. Google yourself

Type your name into Google and remove anything you would not want a perspective employer to see. Remember a headhunter can read every Tweet you send. Consider keeping Facebook private. Employers do want to see who you are as a person, so do show your personal side, but be aware the world is watching.

3. Promote yourself

Don't be shy about publicising your professional achievements. A top ranking female banking executive got passed over for promotion because her 'brand' wasn't high profile enough. She began pushing her own expertise online, and later got a promotion as a result. It's not enough to do a job well any more, you have to self-promote your skills.

4. Get connected

Have a clear follower strategy on Twitter. Follow key players in your industry and companies you want to work for. Even the act of replying to a Tweet with something intelligent can get you on a company's radar. It's a good way to demonstrate your knowledge and expertise.

5. Get ready for your close-up

Your profile picture should look professional. If you use a Video CV, make sure that you show some charisma and personality.

Irish Independent

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