Five Ways To Impress Employers Online
Ah, the internet. What an absolute gem. The home to millions of memes, cat pictures and a wealth of information. Mind-boggling. For many, the internet serves as a diary or scrap book – where one can express themselves and share pictures.
However, I want to let you in on a, not-so-secret, secret.
Your employers may check your social media handles as a means of screening you for a job interview or opportunity…so be warned. If this suddenly fills you with fear at the thought of your potential employers and/or clients seeing your drunken pictures of last summer’s trip to Magaluf or that video of you and your mates lip-syncing to Rihanna’s ‘Umbrella’ in your pyjamas, fear not. For as well as a being a potentially career destroying database, if used correctly, the internet can be used (or ehem, manipulated) to increase your chances of employability.
1. Change Your Privacy Settings On Social Media
This may seem like a really obvious point, but it’s something that often gets forgotten. I was on Facebook for years before I even considered changing my privacy settings. Changing your settings is an easy way of controlling what employers can see and to what extent. You may just want to alter the settings for individual posts or your profile as a whole. Now, I’m not advising you to make yourself completely invisible on the internet because as well as being pretty unrealistic it’s also very… boring. Determine what it is that you’d feel comfortable sharing with strangers and change your settings accordingly. As a general rule of thumb, I would advise that you are not racist, homophobic, sexist, transphobic, ablest or a wasteman online (or offline for that matter), but if you struggle with that, ensure your privacy settings are in check.
Remember, there are different ways of searching for someone on social media, a lot of people have secure settings for searching for their name, but often forget that the same settings do not always apply when people are searching for you using your phone number or email address. Make sure these are up to date to avoid your employers stalking you online.
2. Create An Online Portfolio Of Your Work
I did my very first poetry gig when I was eighteen in London, and it happened by complete chance. I had only been writing poetry for a couple of months, and one day I decided to put a poem on my Youtube channel. I had very few subscribers and never seemed to get many views. A couple of weeks later, I got an email from someone looking to book me for a gig in London. Me, really? From that event, I got three more bookings and that’s how my poetry career began. It just took one video on youtube with 43 views.
If you didn’t know this already, the internet is THE place to showcase your work. Think back to a young Justin Bieber, Tori Kelly and Donald Glover. What do they all have in common? They were all founded from the internet. Create a blog for your writing or photography, or maybe a youtube channel for your videos or showreel? Use these to showcase the breadth of your work and your versatility. One of the best things you can do for your career is to shut your mouth and let your work speak for itself.
3. Create A LinkedIn Profile Or A Professional Social Media Profile
Some people find it useful to make a separate profile for their professional pursuits. This is a good way to document your achievements and track your professional progress. According to The Telegraph, in 2016, 87% of employers admitted to using LinkedIn as a means of screening participants – so it might be good idea to get one. (Provided you don’t spend most of your time sending everyone in your personal and professional networks LinkedIn invitations and requests – because it’s annoying. Like really annoying).
4. Use Social Media Strategically
Despite all the stories we hear of people getting fired because of social media, for some, social media management is a crucial factor in getting work. I know many people who have managed to gain part-time employment whilst studying or freelancing, as a social media manager for various companies based purely on their own social media profiles. More often than not, you don’t need any qualifications, but employers may look at your own social media profiles as testament to your ability to manage meaningful yet aesthetically-pleasing social media profiles. Being able to stay on top of and regularly upload onto profiles shows that you can balance your personal life and your social media responsibilities.
5. Get Involved With Positive Groups, Organisations or Causes
Affiliating yourself with positive groups and causes is a good way of making yourself look good online. Consider volunteering with a local charity with an online presence or maybe getting involved with youth organisations such as Rife (shameless plug), shows initiative and that you’re getting involved with your local community. Over-riding your past antics with positive activity is a good way of demonstrating maturity and work ethic.If you need some career advice, find out more information about Babbassa Youth Empowerment Projects via Rife Guide. They are an organisation that help young people develop their employment and enterprise aspirations. Do you have any tips to add to the list? Let us know on Twitter @Rifemag