5 reasons why you need to be teaching social media know-how

Will Potterton

Will Potterton is owner of Leavers Hoodies Company, a company which provides hoodies to the teachers and parents of school leavers, as well as directly to the students themselves. Leavers Hoodies Company was founded in 2005, and today the company supplies hoodies for students at hundreds of educational establishments up and down the UK.

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Website: www.leavershoodiescompany.co.uk Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Image credit: Pexels // Tracy Le Blanc. Image credit: Pexels // Tracy Le Blanc.

Let’s go back a decade. If you found yourself in the midst of a job search after finishing school in the mid-2000s, CVs were sent by post, trips to nearest job boards and job centres were a weekly tradition, and newspaper cuttings of possible jobs were kept on the sideboard as a reminder.

Fast forward to 2018. School leavers are able to access countless job listings online, connect with people they wouldn’t have met offline, and research local employers - all without moving an inch.

Current school leavers have a lot to be grateful for, and few will relate to the days where face-to-face networking was necessary in the “A Google search can bring up problematic social posts.”job search. Social media, in particular, has been a momentous gamechanger. Walls have been broken down; school leavers now have access to every job and opportunity, even if it’s on the other side of the world.

But what’s the use in having the tools if they don’t know how to use them? There is simply so much information to access, and not enough know what to do with it. When discussing future opportunities with those soon to leave school, here are some social media-centric tips to share with them:

1. Follow companies you’re interested in

Do you know what most companies’ port of action is when they open up a new job opportunity? They post it on social media. An article by The Undercover Recruiter states that globally, in 2016, 84% of companies were recruiting via social media. This means that they’re advertising their vacancies to specific markets using platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.

To ensure you are one of the first to see the job listing, follow companies that you’re interested in working for. If you want to work in advertising or marketing, follow local agencies and industry magazines. The Twitter lists tool makes it easy to follow specific industry updates. This method ensures that only tweets from these accounts will feature. This way, there is no need to sift through Piers Morgan and Harry Styles tweets every time you’re looking for job updates....

2. Social media vetting

With the enormous opportunities social media brings to a job search, the power of the beast can also easily turn employers away from applicants. Before anyone is invited to an interview, recruiters are likely to do some searching online to find out more about the applicant’s background. A simple Google search can bring up a whirlwind of problematic social posts and pictures from the past that could impact a job application.

According to a 2017 survey by CareerBuilder, 70 per cent of employers use social media to screen candidates before making “LinkedIn is a must.”a hiring decision. Perhaps even more importantly, over 50 per cent of hiring managers are less likely to interview someone that they can't find online.

Especially when actively looking for work, cleaning up social accounts is vital. School leavers should run through their last twenty posts on each of their social accounts to see if there is anything untoward on there. Nothing should be found online that would horrify an employer.

3. Use social accounts to attract

Whilst personal posts on social profiles can be of detriment, using accounts that show off the school leaver’s skills and give employers a taste of their creativity and personality can be paramount in landing a job. Instead of leaving it to the recruiters to find them online, it’s recommended for social handles to be included proudly at the top of the CV, making it easy to put a name to a profile.

4. Create a LinkedIn profile

If the school leaver aspires to be in a professional role, creating a LinkedIn profile is a must. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are great for sourcing opportunities, but LinkedIn is likely to be the platform where employers will come to them, and is the best way to interact and network with similar professionals.

It’s important to note how it reflects if a school leaver has an incomplete LinkedIn profile or no picture. Adding these personal touches will go a long way, as will creating a compelling headline, making recruiters aware of the type of job desired and sharing the jobseeker’s best personal qualities.

LinkedIn Groups can also be used to find job leads in the area, and school leaver can initiate conversations with individuals and companies on topics relating to the industry they’re interested in.

5. Don’t solely focus on social media

Having said all this, social media shouldn’t be the only means for landing a first job post-school. It’s never recommended to rely too heavily on one source, so register for recruitment agencies, browse job websites, and engage in face-to-face networking too. These methods are still so important in supporting the job search.

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