Last week Katerina Hejralova from Citigate Dewe Rogerson came to our Communications and Technology lecture to give us some tips on how to use social media to improve our employability.
Katerina definitely knows what she is talking about.
She managed to land herself a job at Citigate’s digital department by engaging with social media and building her personal brand online.
This was while studying at London Metropolitan University two years ago.
I personally found her tips very helpful and I though I’d share some of the key points I learned from her talk with you:
1. Google yourself
It is now a standard part of an agency’s recruitment process to Google new applicants, so make sure you give yourself a fresh start by knowing exactly what future employers will see when they run a Google search on your name. Try to remove any inappropriate content that comes up.
Personally, I have also set up a Google alert on my name. It is free and it instantly informs me about new content connected to my name. This makes it a lot easier for me to control and remove any content which will put me in a bad light professionally (not that there is anything of course, since I’m a good girl.)
2. Brand yourself on Twitter
Twitter is a great tool for building your personal brand. The key rules are to listen, share and engage in conversations and topics that interest you. If used correctly it can be very valuable as you can get in touch with people from agencies you want to work for in the future, find out about networking events, internship opportunities etc.
But remember – no one cares what you had for breakfast.
When Kataerina was a student she included key words such as #PR and #student in her bio, that she was a soon-to-be graduate, and that she was looking for internships. She also engaged in conversations with PR professionals and a great way to do this is by creating lists of PROs you want to follow, listen to what they are interested in, what they are working on etc. and engage when appropriate.
3. Have an updated profile on LinkedIn
LinkedIn is your online CV and the most important thing is to make sure your profile is up-to-date at all times. LinkedIn is also a great platform to integrate all your social media platforms. Include links to your online portfolio, Twitter and blog on your profile to make it easy for people to look through your online profile.
Also keep in mind that employers like to hire based on referrals, as it reduces their risk, so always get recommendations from people you have worked with in the past.
4. Keep Facebook private
Facebook is best used for personal networks, so make sure you change your privacy settings so that only your friends can see your photos and comments. This may seem like “social media for dummies”, but you would be surprised what employers can find.
Katerina showed us some examples of what Citigate had found when researching a guy that applied for a job there, but I don’t think that picture would be appropriate here – let’s just say there was a lot of nudity.
Katerina encouraged all students to start a blog, as it really helped her getting her first job when she graduated. Her top tip was to keep it simple. It does not have to be too heavy – even if you prefer to blog about something completely unrelated to PR it shows future employers that you are passionate, that you can write and most importantly it demonstrates that you know how to use basic HTML coding, how to add different media and how to use tags do drive traffic to your blog.
6. Follow and read other relevant blogs
By following other people’s blogs you can find information about subjects that interest you, vacancies and networking events. By following other blogs you can also engage in conversation with people who have similar interests by commenting on what they are writing about, which again can lead to more traffic to your own blog.
7. Be creative
As today’s job market is extremely competitive, graduates must be creative in order to stand out from the crowd. A good example of this was “The Google Job Experiment” by Alec Brownstein. As agency bosses Google themselves (they all do) the top result was a message from Alec saying “Googling yourself is a lot of fun. Hiring me can be fun, too”. He created six ads, and managed to get himself four interviews and two job offers. The total cost was $6.
For other examples of creative CVs see the links below
Graeme Anthony: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9EzNll1U2N8
Rachael Lewis http://vimeo.com/26543458