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TIPS FOR SERVICE LEAVERS 2: SOCIAL MEDIA

  • General News
  • 28th August 2016

Now you know the best way to receive financial assistance while you make your transition, it’s time to move on.  We’ve touched on our next topic of successfully marketing yourself, but it requires greater detail. If you are unable to highlight your skills they may as well not exist. There isn’t a one size fits all approach to effectively expressing your skills as different audiences will be relevant to different platforms. Social Media is the first of these platforms and can be further divided into Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Each has different audiences and way of doing things, but the intent should always be the same – present an appropriately professional personality directed at the industry you wish to enter. I know, it all sounds convoluted and it is, at least at first, but like anything else, the more you practice the easier it gets. In essence, Social Media is important as it gives you the opportunity to present skills, get more information and connect with the people who can give you a job, or at least point you in the right direction. Social Media is an important communications tool for most companies, therefore it’s essential you know how to use it to its greatest potential.

What is Facebook? Many may already know this, but it’s the most social of social networks

Why should I join? Facebook is much more informal than LinkedIn and allows more room for expression than Twitter. It’s where you can promote a developed online version of your personality. Think of it as the hobbies and interests section of your CV, it shows you are not a robot. Of course, there are limits, so use your judgement as to what is appropriate. Facebook groups can also be a handy resource, for example, Facebook/exforcesjobs contains job vacancies posted by members of the group. Many service leavers have successfully gained employment through this page and others like it.

How can I use it effectively Create a profile which is in line with your personality, think of it as a personal space that others can see, it should reflect you… Mostly your best features. Like any Social Media, Facebook is a community. Engage with things that interest you and contribute to your job hunt with likes and insightful comments, strike up conversations and demonstrate your expertise. In short, don’t be afraid to engage companies and connect with complete strangers, there’s the barrier of the internet between you and a social context designed around conversation. But as ever, use your judgement as to what is appropriate.

What is LinkedIn? The most professional Social Media, think of it as a social CV.

Why should I join? Most organisations use LinkedIn as a recruitment tool. Often you will find that when you apply for a job, your profile will be viewed by an anonymous user, the employer inspecting your site. Employers will search the LinkedIn database for the skills, experience and qualifications they’re looking for. LinkedIn is your gateway to the professional world; here it is imperative to keep all communications business focused. If Facebook is the expression of your personality, LinkedIn is the expression of professional aptitude. LinkedIn allows you to join groups that can be more useful than their Facebook equivalent. They give you access to industry and company-specific jobs, news and information. Before applying for a role I highly recommend researching the company both on their website and their LinkedIn content, you may find something more current on their LinkedIn, which you can talk about in your cover letter and interview. In short, an active and fleshed out LinkedIn profile will greatly aid in any job application.

How do I use it effectively? LinkedIn allows you to engage professionals in a professional environment. Seek out industry news and post your thoughts on their ideas, start a conversation of your own and get noticed, or better yet, write articles around your interest of whichever industry you want to work in. All this sounds quite overwhelming and taxing, but it’s easy once you start. People will take notice when you weigh in with your ideas and may actively seek you out for a role. Don’t think ‘why should they listen to me?’ Your content will speak for itself, it’ll allow you to connect and strike up conversations with a diverse and useful set of contacts. It’s also important to keep the basics in mind, fill in your profile as much as you are able.  Don’t have the ‘bear minimum’ of content; it shows that you can’t be bothered! You wouldn’t submit a partially completed CV for a job vacancy.  LinkedIn does a great job of walking you through the various steps you need to take to make your page as attractive as possible, fill in as many fields as you are able and keep it updated. Also, keep your photo professional…   LinkedIn is all about finding and utilising professional contacts. If used correctly, it can be a powerful tool.

What is Twitter? A Social Media channel that allows for short posts of 140 characters, tweets a short and succinct. They contain the highly misunderstood hashtag.

What is a hashtag? Think of it as the core of a conversation, a prompt to get people talking about a specific thing. Once enough people include a hashtag it trends and becomes available to see to those who are outside the posters ‘twitter range’. For example, if people were to tweet about this article and include our own hashtag #forcesintosupplychain they would be in a conversation with all those who have used that hashtag. This would give them access to the sort of person who use that hashtag i.e. service leavers. This could lead to people who may be interested in #forcesintosupplychain to connect to those who post about it or even read the article that inspired it all. In a nutshell, they are a way to reach people who would not have been able to see the original post, and start and enter a conversation.

Why should I join? Convoluted explanations aside, Twitter is used by most companies, by being active you show them you are plugged into and engaging with the professional sphere. They see you are willing to give up your time and genuinely care about the industry: this is something every company looks for.

How do I use it effectively? Twitter can be an incredibly useful tool. It allows you to engage with companies by addressing your tweet directly to them through the ‘@’ feature, e.g. @IoSCM would send your tweet directly to us. You can ask them questions or start conversations, often companies will reply as they really do want to hear things from their followers. You can also post insightful ideas on industry news through a link, using an existing or created hashtag, or utilising the ‘@’ feature. You can also share content posted by others, which interests you, through the’ re-tweet’ feature. Twitter allows for a different sort of engagement, you are able to express your opinions on things more readily than LinkedIn and Facebook – but be sure to watch the character limit! That’s tip 3 done! Apologies for the longer post, there’s a lot of ground to cover when it comes to Social Media. Experimentation is usually the best way to get started, be sure to have a look around and get acquainted with each site before you fully use them. You may find that some of them aren’t for you, but I insist you give them all a try; they will help your transition immensely. Next time I’ll be talking about which organisations you should join to help your career transition. Follow us on your fully operational Social Media accounts, FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn to keep track of all future tips in the series.

Again, if you have any questions, feel free to ask on any of our social media channels and feel free to join in the #forcesintosupplychain with any thoughts you have.

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