How can we use social media to our advantage?

“Social media is a new way of communicating for people… there has been a lot of development over the years which has allowed us to be better educated and prepared for certain situations.” - Simone Schuurer

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Dear Readers,

Happy Friday all! And yet another weekend is just upon us… hang in there! This week our Content team sat down with Simone Schuurer, International Content Marketing / Social Media Manager for Bing Ads and talked about how we as students can leverage social media to increase our chances of having a great start to our careers. You can find the whole discussion below:

Hey Simone! Thank you so much for giving us the opportunity to do this. To kick off our discussion we would like to know why social media has become so influential in the past couple of years?

My pleasure, thank you for having me! Well, I think social media is just a new way of communicating for people… there have been a lot of communication channels that have been developed over the years which have allowed us to be better educated and prepared for certain situations. For example, in the past all you can do is research the company before doing an interview but now social media is giving the opportunity to network and build connections with people from the company beforehand.

Is social media important when it comes to recruitment and careers?

It's very important. I used to sit next to HR in the office and they check LinkedIn all the time. It gives an up to date view of who you are and people can look at the things you have done. LinkedIn is more dynamic than a CV, you can attach a portfolio or media files of your work. For recruitment it's really useful to see what kind of person you are, what your interests are, what you like to be involved in, to have a look at your work and of course it allows them to read recommendations etc. It also allows them to proactively approach you.

Is social media important to companies?

It's super important because nowadays a lot of our customers are online and by not staying in touch with them you are not taking interest in who your customers are and what they say, no interaction is taking place. This is just a different communication channel that companies need to get right. It's also faster than updating a website because it can have an immediate impact. Every day we spend time to understand what our customers say about us, if they have any complaints, feedback and by responding, we build relations.

Can you give our audience any tips or tricks on how to make their social media profiles stand out?

Certainly! The first thing everyone should do when it comes to optimising social media channels is which channels you would employers to see/ not see. If Facebook is full of party pictures - make sure your profile picture is decent and your privacy settings set to 'friends only' (go to 'privacy check-up - who can see my profile?')

Are you on Twitter? Tweet like a grown-up which means stay polite even if you differ in opinion with other people - they are entitled to have a view. Bad behaviour is visible to employers who may see this as 'the real you'. From a more constructive perspective: think about what you are truly interested in - businesses, certain fields, hobbies and follow a few people that have interesting things to say. Follow brands you may like to work for - join in conversations sometimes, share news you have found yourself on these topics, using # used much by others in these areas

Now onto the tips! I will break them down in two categories:

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Twitter Profile:

Make a quick and interesting bio: in this case it can be really worth underlining the interests relevant to the fields you work in.

Good photo.

Mention in which town you live as people may like to connect - and employers can see if you are in the same country at least.

LinkedIn profile:

Have a good picture. This means a professional picture - if need be ask a friend to take a headshot of you wearing a smart shirt, jacket. No sunglasses, food items, pets, babies, glasses of beer, teeny summer dresses - it's not Facebook / dating site and yes they have all been seen before in LinkedIn profile :-)

Create a full profile - LinkedIn will make suggestions but here are some things highlighted:

Add your CV :-) yes you are not even graduated maybe but you have achieved stuff and a lot of employers are interested in skills, enthusiasm, your potential. Maybe you haven't worked in a place for years but you may have been given a project to plan, run and evaluate. Those are great things to add.

Ask for recommendations - it can feel awkward and don't spam the whole company you did an internship at but ask a few selected people that can really judge your work and that you had a good working relationship with. Most people are happy to do it.

Add your skills and be specific - Think of the skills that matter don't add 'management' if you consider management to be managing to get yourself through your working day add specific skills like 'copy writing' or programs you can work with that not everybody knows (so not 'Outlook'). People you are connected to will recommend you over time for these skills which is a signal to employers, mini-recommendations.

Connect with people you met through work.

Follow relevant LinkedIn influencers.

Read your feed, interact with some pieces and share news yourself which you give an interesting introduction - your profile will show up more often if you are active.

We hope you found this interview to be as insightful and interesting as we did. Soon, the blog will be launching a series called "Be Your Best" in which we will have articles filled with tips on how to develop core interpersonal skills such as teamwork, networking, presenting in front of others and many more so stay tune.

A huge thank you to Simone for these great tips that will help you land your dream job !

Eager to read more?