Ruth Hoggett, associate director at Beach Baker Property Recruitment, offers her views on how to hone your use of social media.
According to regulatory body Ofcom, two-thirds online adults have a social networking site profile and six in ten UK adults now use a smartphone. With figures like these, which are set to rise, have you thought about how your social media profiles could affect your planning career prospects?
Social media is a strong tool commonly used by organisations to increase their market exposure and a great way to interact with and update their ‘followers’. This can be clearly seen in the planning industry with many firms and government organisations having their own Twitter profiles, LinkedIn groups/pages and RSS feeds.
Social media is also an incredibly useful tool for job seekers looking for their next move in planning who can follow the firms they are interested in working for. Sites such as Twitter and LinkedIn can be used to create links with potential employers, see live opportunities and even engage in conversation with planning employees.
However, it is important to consider the footprint left behind, especially when a vast amount of employers are increasingly checking social media profiles of interviewees. Planners should think ahead with these Ofcom statistics in mind and choose carefully how they manage any social media profiles they own.
Facebook, for example, has excellent privacy settings and is more commonly used as a tool between friends. Would you want a potential employer to see what you’re posting on Facebook? If not, ensure your profile is 100 per cent private. LinkedIn is more commonly used as a professional networking site and can be a very powerful tool in attracting potential employers to an almost ‘online CV’.
Make sure you are making the most of this tool, ask respected friends for advice on your profile. Does it reflect your planning experience as well as it could do? Are there any recommendations from planning professionals you could seek to enhance your credibility?
With high rankings on Google, Twitter is a great way to interact with planning organisations and build your own profile as someone who is up on market trends and knowledge. It is also a way of exposing any controversial opinions or comments you have or posting photos of wild nights out for everyone, including employers, to see using simple searches.
If you want to use a Twitter profile for personal use and know that you might not want potential employers to see some of the things you are posting, you should think about making your profile private. After all, creating a positive online presence with well thought out and managed profiles (with high privacy settings on those not suitable for employer’s eyes), is more likely to help you use social media to your advantage.