Discuss the ways in which an online professional profile can be developed.
According to Smith(2013), ‘social media is a key player in the job search process today’; it is crucial to maintain an online professional presence, as it is essential in increasing an individual’s employability.
As the job market is becoming increasingly competitive (Couch, 2013); getting noticed is becoming more and more difficult. Therefore, it is important to attract prospective employers on as many different platforms as possible, for example LinkedIn, Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, Instagram and Blogspots.
LinkedIn allows users to advertise and update their CV online for prospective employers to view experiences, recommendations, skills, projects, connections and endorsements. A profile with endorsements from other users may significantly improve authenticity (Doyle, 2013).
Users can follow a company to receive updates on their developments and internships or job postings and similarly, companies can used LinkedIn to contact prospective employees; in my personal experience I have had various local companies connect and communicate with me in regards to prospective internships and student jobs.
I have found an interesting article (http://www.theguardian.com/higher-education-network/blog/2012/jun/18/social-media-to-boost-student-employability ) that describes how the University of Central Lancashire encouraged students to engage with potential employees through Twitter. By tweeting sketches of their work using the hashtags #twittercritter and #practicereviews, students could connect with industry experts who gave students feedback and advice on their final year degree show.
Twitter is essential to increase employability as users can follow employers for the latest news, read articles related to their chosen industry, interact with executives and attract potential employers through interesting and concise tweets.
Companies are using Twitter to post job openings in hopes that their potential applicants will be following their company (Russo, 2013). I myself have used the search bar to find relevant key words relating to my placement year such as ‘Undergraduate’, ‘Marketing’ and ‘Internship’ as I understand that more and more companies are using Twitter to attract candidates.
Websites or blogs can also increase employability; by maintaining a personal online space shows how passionate and interested in a particular industry an individual is. Additionally, employers can get to understand the blogger as a person and as a ‘brand’; writing, knowledge, experience, interests and achievements. By encouraging discussions with others, reading their work and connecting with those who share similar career interests can form a set of useful contacts.
It is important to acknowledge that over 40% per cent of employers use social media tools to screen candidates so it is important to regularly update online profiles in order to promote themselves. Similarly, it is important for candidates not to disclose too much information about themselves; for example it may be advisable for Facebook settings to be altered to ‘private’ so personal images and posts cannot be accessed.
Whilst creating and maintaining online professional profiles is time consuming and require effort, they are vital in establishing a digital presence and therefore affect job prospects. I have found an interesting article in the ways students can increase their exposure online ; (http://technologyenhancedlearning.net/blog/social-media-for-employability/ )
Holmes, R. 2013. How social media is making job hunting better – for candidates and companies. Hootsuite [online] http://blog.hootsuite.com/social-media-job-hunting/
Doyle, A 2013. Don’t waste your time on LinkedIn
Smith, J., 2013, How Social Media can Help (or Hurt) you in your job search