Social media has been a world-changing phenomenon. Before Facebook’s founding in 2004 there was the likes of Bebo, Faceparty, and MySpace. However, the last 10 years have seen a huge spike in both users of social media and reasons for using it. In 2019, there were 3.486 billion active users on social media, equating to nearly half of the entire population having a social media presence. This was up by nine per cent since January 2018. But, with a lot of the world currently on lockdown due to the Covid-19 outbreak, the time we spend on social media is likely to soar in the coming months.

This could be a great opportunity to use social media to enhance your career prospects — especially when 91 per cent of employers use social media for recruitment. Here, we take a look at some of the most popular platforms and how they can help you progress in your working life.

LinkedIn

This platform was launched on 5th May 2003, making it older than both Facebook and Twitter. Its primary purpose is to provide networking on a professional level. It even has different areas of the site, such as LinkedIn Premium accounts for business, career, sales, and hiring, to help you connect with people who can help you on your work journey. Last year, there were 20 million companies on the platform and 14 million open jobs.

LinkedIn also enables you to get ‘headhunted’ by recruiters. Many recruitment agencies use the platform as a means to identify people who would be a good ‘fit’ for an opportunity they may have. You can increase your chances of being noticed by seeking endorsements from colleagues or clients in the same way that you would put a reference on your CV. You can also set your status to ‘actively looking for work’, while its ‘Jobs’ section provides job alerts, job search, and salary checker facilities.

Be sure to keep posting insightful comments and correctly using hashtags to get your posts trending in front of more potential suitors.

Instragram

A popular Instagram account is a must-have for influencers. The image sharing app was launched in 2010 and has over 500 million daily users. Influencers and even the likes of ski instructors could find that building a portfolio can significantly boost their career prospects.

For personal trainers and ski instructors, having a great portfolio of images and client reviews can help people build confidence in your work and ability, which will increase your chances of getting chosen as an instructor. Of course, it’s not enough to just have a great visual portfolio, it goes without saying that ski instructor courses or specific industry qualifications are a must.  

Make sure you only post appropriate content on your account and mix it up between leisure and work focused images. Your future employers often look at every social account you have, so leaving them with the impression that you’re approachable as well as knowledgeable is important.

Twitter

Set up in March 2006, Twitter soon become a huge hit with the public. There are currently over 330 million active monthly users, with almost a third of these being between the ages of 35 and 65.

If you’re a freelancer across any field, showcasing your skillset can put you in front of a huge audience. Think of your name as a brand. Make sure you’re engaging with your target audience and use hashtags correctly - and not too much! Images are also a great way to bring attention to your work.

While Twitter doesn’t have a built-in jobs board, there are many accounts which share relevant jobs. Be sure to follow them and keep an eye on their posts. Also, include your Twitter handle on your CV to let companies get to know your personality. If you’re doing this, make sure you have been creative and used your Twitter bio wisely.

Facebook

Since Mark Zuckerberg unleashed his creation onto the wider world in 2004, it’s become the most popular across the globe. With its ‘jobs on Facebook’ feature, there is now a chance not just to interact with your peers, but to search for your ideal role while doing so.

However, be aware of what you post – and this includes your profile picture. Studies have shown that this image can affect your job prospects when potential employees conduct a background check. Make sure you fill out the ‘work and education’ section of your profile fully as this can work as a mini CV. Your life events timeline is another factor in which to ensure you spend the appropriate time completing.

It’s crucial that you use all your accounts in a professional manner. Not doing so can make your employers, or future employers view you in a negative light. In recent years, several sports stars have found themselves in hot water because of the social posts. Israel Folau was sacked from the Australian rugby union team in May 2019 following a homophobic post on Instagram. However, away from the limelight, social media posts are deterring many companies from potential suitors, with derogatory comments deemed potentially harmful to the brand as well as the individual in question.

Away from your own social media presence, these platforms are also a great way for you to research a company. Companies will often post any accolades, events or upcoming events on their pages in the hope that it gains valuable user interaction. If you have an interview for a job, simply putting time aside to scroll their social accounts could land you the vital information you need to impress during your discussion.

So, it’s evident that social media is here and here to stay. Use it wisely and it can be a great tool in enhancing your career.

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The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

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Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

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