This post was written by an external contributor. Michele Theil advises how to use one of the biggest social media platform to make you more employable.
When I was a kid, I was told that I had to be careful on the internet. Especially when it came to what I posted. How we portray ourselves to others on social media could end up having a significant impact on future opportunities.
Many students in the U.S.A for instance scrub up their social media or change their names online when they apply to colleges. This is because social media is now a big part of admissions – if you have said rude or offensive things online, many colleges will deem you as not befitting for that particular institution.
In the UK, whilst universities don’t look at your social media, employers often do. As a result, many people switch their accounts to private or keep their social media very tame and carefully curated, in order to make sure that nothing on their Twitter profiles for instance will be used against them.
However, while you do have to be careful about what you post, there are ways of infusing your personal views into your Twitter profile and using the platform to your advantage.
When I say everyone, I don’t mean literally everybody who’s ever created a Twitter account. I mean follow those that are in the field you want to go into. If you want to be a journalist, follow some famous reporters and media outlets and keep up-to-date with the industry.
You should also follow accounts that reflect your interests. This way, you can create a discussion about the content of these accounts in future interviews, or when you’re pitching something that relates to that field specifically.
Many people will also tweet new opportunities in the industry, like jobs, work experience and calls for pitches too. It’s a great way to find out about something you otherwise wouldn’t have known about!
Retweet, retweet, retweet
A social media expert once told me that whilst retweeting was good, retweeting with your own comment was even better. This mantra was based off of the idea that people are more inclined to notice you if you’re expressing your own opinions and thoughts rather than merely reposting someone else’s.
To use Twitter to your advantage, you must engage with it by retweeting articles, ideas and images and adding your own ‘twist’. This will make you more noticeable in the wider twittersphere and demonstrate that you are engaged with the online conversation.
Thread it along
Twitter threads are extremely popular nowadays. With so much going on in the world, threads are useful in creating long-form content while keeping your ideas succinct. When a topical issue pops up, think carefully about what you want to put out there.
When you’re writing a tweet or creating a thread, don’t forget to add relevant hashtags to make them easier to find and generate more attention to them – you might even end up on the trending page!
If you find success with a thread or a tweet, it may be a good idea to pin them to your profile. When someone clicks on your profile, seeing an interesting tweet at the top may make them more inclined to follow you for future tweets.
Showcase your personality
I am careful with what I post on Twitter but that doesn’t mean I don’t let my personality bleed through once in a while. If a future employer or someone you may work with at a later date is looking at your profile and can’t see who you are through your tweets, they might not be confident about your fit for a company.
In an interview, you’d be on your best behaviour (as you should be). However on Twitter – and social media in general – you can express yourself as you please. Just remember, don’t go overboard, but don’t be afraid to show who you are either.
Create a brand
Social Media is just another way of branding yourself and what you say in your bio as well as the images you use are a big part of that.
Profile photos shouldn’t be too serious, but you should feel comfortable sending that photo in with your CV if you had to. If you’re lacking a photo that fits these parameters, put on your best ‘interview’ outfit and stage a photoshoot with a friend or a housemate – it will only take 10 minutes!
When it comes to your bio, be straightforward. List who you are, what your job role is and maybe throw in an“all views my own”, just to be safe. If you have a portfolio, link to it! if employers are searching out your Twitter profile, then having your work ready and available to find is a productive way of showcasing your work.
Twitter can be a scary thing sometimes but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use it to your advantage. So get tweeting!