With everyone from your colleagues to a prospective employer on social media these days, it’s crucial that you present yourself in a way that will earn you respect in your industry as well as open up doors if you are on the market for a new job. Content pro, Tracy Branfield, interviewed our very own Zani Prinsloo and managing director, Alex Martin, for their top tips for effective social media self-marketing.
First things first: pick a professional network or two and create a profile. ‘If you are hoping to find a job, and especially get headhunted, I would say that LinkedIn is your best bet,’ advises Zani. But simply being on LinkedIn with ‘employed’ as your title isn’t going to cut it. Upload a photo that makes you look approachable and provide details on your current job.
‘It may sound obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t put their contact details on their profile or check their emails or LinkedIn for messages,’ says Zani. To be approached, make sure it is easy for recruiters and other professionals to reach you, and make sure you always respond in a timely manner.
‘To be discovered, let alone be approached, it is vitally important to ensure your online profile is kept updated and relevant. You want recruiters to know exactly what you are capable of and what position they can approach you for,’ explains Zani. List all your previous job titles, responsibilities and companies you’ve worked for, but leave out any irrelevant details, such as being head girl in high school.
Keep It Classy
Ensure your online presence is always professional. ‘Take it from me, recruiters are excellent stalkers and an inappropriate selfie or a Facebook status about your irritating boss will definitely not count in your favour,’ cautions Alex. Look through all your social media accounts and remove anything that could cost you your current job or one in the future. If your privacy is sacred, change your settings so only certain individuals can view your profiles.
You can employ basic search engine optimisation (SEO) by adding relevant keywords to your social networks, making it easier for search engines and recruiters to find you. ‘Include industry-related terms and adjectives in your LinkedIn profile, so you’ll pop up when recruiters look up those words,’ suggests Zani. It’s also beneficial to add links on your page to external sources, such as an interesting article you read.
Boost Your Credibility
‘The era of hard-copy reference letters is diminishing by the day,’ explains Zani. ‘One of the best features of LinkedIn is that people can endorse you for certain skills, which will show a recruiter that you’ve proved yourself in those areas.’ Ask your past managers and colleagues to vouch for the skills you have listed or write up a short recommendation. Be sure to return the favour on their profiles.
Start following companies that you are interested in, or look like they are a good fit for your skill set, reach out to both local and international recruiters that deal in your field, and connect with the key movers and shakers in your industry. ‘The stronger and more relevant your network is, the better your chances of getting noticed,’ explains Alex. So go ahead and share, like and comment on posts to build relationships online.
Show Off Your Skills
If you are a writer, it’s natural that you’ll have a blog. A web designer? Then you should have a website. Put a link to these platforms on your profile to give recruiters a well-rounded idea of who you are. Just remember to keep these professional if you are going to share them with anyone viewing your profile.
Have a Voice
If you’re engaged in a hot topic of conversation online and feel you have something valuable and valid to add, then go ahead and say it. ‘Sharing your constructive opinion will not only make you more visible on social media, but also a lot more approachable,’ explains Alex. Research industry related news, join online conversations, get active on Twitter, post relevant articles on LinkedIn or even write a few yourself. The sky really is the limit here.
Apart from these ‘visibility’ tricks, you still need to stand out from everyone else who has read this advice and updated their social media profiles. ‘Whether it’s an additional course you’re taking, a recent award you have won or a special side-line project you’re working on, you can show off a little without being arrogant about it,’ says Zani. Getting noticed by a headhunter is great, but you’ll need that extra edge to convince them to call you.