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“77% of recruiters suggest that they would run an online search for the candidate”

“Only 29% students use social networking sites to promote themselves”

The UK economy is set to go into a double dip recession (BBC, 2012), as the market shrinks by 0.2%. Although this is set to be revised at least twice, this still demonstrates that graduate job opportunities are going to continue to be few and far between. So how do new graduates gain an extra advantage when capturing the dream role they have studied so hard to achieve?

Bringing Good To The Table

Graduates need to consider what they can bring to the table for their new organisation. Dan Hawes suggests using what you know best to get connected and create the cutting edge to get ahead. Most businesses who are not Internet savvy generally use newspaper ads, radio and television spots to reach out to customers and increase demand. However the generation for today use the internet for almost everything. Organisations are noticing the need to reach out to these customers and potential candidates to fill vacancies.

Positive Social Networking

Social networking has been blamed for removing the importance placed upon education and placing this importance upon social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter. However, future graduates can use their social media savvy to discover graduate vacancies before they are advertised to the wider market. The way of advertising jobs through social media is becoming ever more popular due to the accessibility the candidates have to it and cost of doing such advertising.

SME’s are feeling the need to digitalise and reach out and benefit online where a substantial growth of £0.8million in 2000 to £58.8billion in 2010. In today’s economy, an employer wants to know that, if required, you are able to complete a wide range of jobs. Having transferrable skills, a can do attitude and a willingness to learn and be involved in all aspects of the business is key to nailing the job interview. Although organisations prefer graduates with IT degrees, there is a need for graduates to understand social media in order to gain exposures. With this is mind, organisations are increasingly becoming broader in who they recruit when requiring a certain task to be completed with each executive incorporating social media into their professional branding strategy.

Working In The Lime Light

It is not only in the corporate world where you can use your social media savvy to get ahead of the game or to enjoy your role. Last year we learnt that Charlie Sheen was searching for an intern to manage his online presence. Charlie Sheen noticed the need to reach out to his supporters however did not have the time to do so. These types of jobs are becoming more apparent and available to recent graduates, so long as these graduates are able tom exploit their knowledge of using social media.

You And The World Wide Web

Although an online presence offers a positive for graduates, it is necessary to consider how it can reflect negatively upon yourself from your presence on the World Wide Web. 77% of recruiters suggest that they would run an online search for the candidate to generate additional information that can be of help. With this in mind it is important for graduates to promote themselves and paint a professional picture; however a survey showed that only 29% stated that they use social networking sites to promote themselves. The internet presents equal opportunities to enhance or damage your career prospects. It is essential that people are aware of the potential effects their online personal can have on their real lives.

Graduates need to promote themselves through social media such as Facebook and LinkedIn to stay one step ahead of the rest. Can you really afford to not be promoting yourself through social media networking sites?

Follow these five simple action points to use your social media savvy when gaining an advantage within the work place:

1. Ensure you have the following: Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and Facebook

Although there are many additional sites you can be registered with, these are the main ones recruiters are going to look at. However having additional profiles on the likes of marketplace can be a good addition. Although Facebook may not be deemed as a professional networking site, it offers vast opportunities to connect with various professionals on a personal level.

2. Stay active online and develop your professional digital footprint

It is no good simply opening accounts with the mentioned sites. You will need to remain online commenting on relevant and professional topics. Have an interview but you are nervous? Look for your interviewer on LinkedIn and discover their interests to help create some common ground when you meet. The use of being able to see who has viewed your profile on LinkedIn means your interviewer knows you have gone the extra mile to understand the interviewer, which can only help demonstrate your determination to succeed.

3. Keep your social life separate from your working life

Employees have been dismissed from their role within a firm due to their excessive use on social networking sites. Either they have been suing such sites whilst at work or have slated their colleagues or their firm on these sites. Ensure you remain professional with your wording and comments and use out of working hours.

4. Ensure your profiles remain up to date

Stating something on your CV but it isn’t on your LinkedIn profile? This cast’s instant doubt into your interviewer about the credibility of either what your CV suggests or what your LinkedIn profile suggests. Check they link up and both are up to date.

5. Tweet regularly and follow the correct people

There is no need to tweet every hour or every day, however making a quick tweet here and there about a recent story or a recent activity that either interests yourself (i.e. football) or reflects upon the type of roles you want to enter within the future (i.e. recent economic downturn with finance roles). Start following specific people, such as CIPFA, to demonstrate your interests and intent to remain up to date with the relevant news and information.

Related: How To Apply for Your First Graduate Job.

This Guest Post has been written by Laurence Chandler on behalf of The Graduate Recruitment Bureau

photo by: Will Folsom

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