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Employability Skills

Using Social Media for job hunting and networking

Have you ever Googled yourself? The prevalence of social media means it’s increasingly likely that your prospective employers will do so during the recruitment process.

Social media platforms such as Linkedin and Twitter allow you to build a professional network, search for jobs and showcase your knowledge, skills and achievements. Get instant access to job opportunities and industry news, develop global connections and establish your own, personal brand. More and more employers now check the social media accounts of applicants so ensure that you have a professional online profile that enhances your employability and attracts potential employers.


LinkedIn is a social networking site which allows you to connect with other professionals in your industry. You can showcase your work experience, skills and achievements and upload presentations. Think of it as your online CV. You can even recommend colleagues and endorse their skills and get recommendations and endorsements in return. Many employers now check LinkedIn for potential candidates, you can follow specific companies, participate in discussions and search for jobs.

Useful links


Twitter provides an excellent opportunity for networking and job hunting. Get instant access to industry news and developments. Follow companies and search for jobs. Many companies will have a Twitter profile specifically for advertising job vacancies. Share your own links and promote your website or blog and share examples of good practice with your followers.

Twitter allows you to get instant access to industry news and developments by following professionals and organisations in your industry. You can tell your followers about what you do, share links and good practice and follow companies and search for jobs.

  • Make sure you have a photo and a bio on your Twitter profile, people are more likely to check out your profile and more likely to follow you.
  • Be selective in who you follow – if you are using your twitter account as a professional networking tool then avoid following celebrities, don’t feel like you have to follow everyone!
  • It’s increasingly the norm for companies to use their Twitter accounts to update the public about what’s happening internally. Often they will have Twitter accounts specifically for advertising job vacancies. Start by following a company you’re interested in, then figure out whose radar within that company you need to be on. Following people at different levels means that you will be part of a network and your tweets will be seen by other members of that network. 
  • Follow industry recruitment specialists to see jobs as soon as they are advertised and if there is an overarching body or council for your industry follow them to keep your professional awareness high.
  • Don’t just follow, contribute. If you don’t put stuff out there you’re giving people no incentive to follow you, and you won’t make any impact. If you can share some insight or point someone in the right direction, you can present yourself as astute and a useful person to follow
  • Retweet. This is a good way to cultivate good will on Twitter, it adds validation to what someone else has said, and helps that person reach a wider audience. Do this selectively, people will value your retweets and people will be more inclined to repay the favour.
  • Ensure that your tweets are coherent, and cogent - if you fill other people’s feeds with inane commentary, expect to be unfollowed
  • Put your own stuff out there. If you have a blog, Twitter is one of the best ways to direct traffic there. This is where all the hard work of following the right people and cultivating followers yourself can pay off. You can express yourself more fully in a blog and show more of your expertise and flair and use your twitter connections to promote it. This works in the same way with other types of online content that can show you in a positive, employable light.

Social media for work not play: how to manage your digital identity

When engaging with people online it is crucial that you react appropriately to the media and the audience. For example, some people choose to have a personal Facebook account which they use to engage with their friends and a professional Linkedin account for engaging with their colleagues and other professionals in their industry. Be careful what you say online – don’t ever say anything you wouldn’t say in public or publish photos for example that you wouldn’t be happy for everyone in the world to see! Social media requires an ongoing commitment so ensure that you are able to manage your social media presence and have the time to update your profiles and participate in discussions.

Remember that…..“Social media is not a lesser form of communication, it is as worthy of a disciplinary hearing as anything said out loud” – this is a quote from a Guardian journalist in response to the issue of 17-year-old Paris Brown; whose £15,000-a-year post as "adviser on youth" ended in embarrassing resignation when the media discovered her inappropriate comments on social networking sites. *

There are ways of tidying up your online profiles. A survey found that more than half of adults in the UK would remove everything they had ever posted about themselves online if they could. However, it doesn’t have to come back to haunt you

Hide or delete unwanted posts and pictures, flood google with impressive results, not many people look beyond the first 2 pages of google search results so push down any less flattering material by having more current information and accounts that appeal to search engines such as Twitter and Linked In. Have a managed PR ready profile on these accounts that google ranks highly, if you use Facebook, manage your friends list to control who can mention and tag you in their posts and pictures and regularly check your privacy settings and finally; ensure that you delete any accounts that you no longer use.

In terms of employability, social media has created opportunities, both for employers as a tool to aid recruitment and prospective employees by providing an extra channel of communication. Take advantage of this user-centred platform to present the best possible version of yourself to enhance your employability.

Consider how to promote yourself on social media – when writing profiles and biographies select keywords to describe yourself that will develop your personal brand. Look at person specifications for jobs in your chosen industry, what skills and attributes do they value? Include these words in your bios to ensure that you are discoverable and, to show that you are the right person for the job.

So, Don’t forget to tidy up your online profile, check your privacy settings, delete any unwanted content and ensure you have a professional online profile to enhance your employability. Create your own personal brand using different social media platforms and finally, take advantage of social media – apply your research skills to build your networks, show case your abilities and find jobs.  

See guide - The Employable Digital Student