Lucian Tarnowski, founder of social recruitment site BraveNewTalent.com, provides essential advice on how to get a head start in the competitive graduate job market.
"Let’s face it: the job market is tough at the moment. There are not only fewer graduate jobs available, but there is more competition for the positions you may be interested in. In 2009 there were 44.3 applications for each graduate vacancy but this year the total is expected to be even higher as a backlog of unemployed graduates make further attempts to find jobs*. This may sound gloomy but the good news is that with a little extra thought and research, you will have a chance to really shine.
Think about the emergence of social media sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and, more recently, social recruitment sites such as BraveNewTalent. All of a sudden there is an abundance of potential talent – including potential employees – easily accessible to anyone. These sites offer more information and insight in a public arena than has ever been available before and, if you use them cleverly; they can be an essential resource in helping to find your perfect job. Used carelessly, however, they can be more of a hindrance than a help and could make the crucial difference between being selected and rejected.
Social media has radically changed the way many companies approach the recruitment process. Today’s employers base their decisions on more than just a CV, they examine the complete package. Your social media footprint provides an insight into your interests, views, lifestyle and all sorts of other valuable information – this is all very well in your personal life, but let’s look at how you can maximise your online potential when setting out on the path to a new career:
- Research where you need to be. Facebook and Twitter are all very well but you need to step up a notch and get more business-like. Investigate social business networks such as LinkedIn and social recruitment websites like BraveNewTalent.com. Social recruitment, spearheaded by BraveNewTalent is increasingly gaining credence as the best platform for talented individuals to build relationships and forge links with future employees, while increasing visibility within the job market.
- Build your own personal brand. You may not have thought of yourself as a brand, but now is the time to start. Aim to build an informative profile and promote your own identity. Think about who you are, what is special about the skills you have to offer, what you care about, where your true value lies. How do you want to be known? What sort of impact do you want to make online? Be fresh, current and exciting. To stand out, you need to be unique and memorable.
- Communicate intelligently. Showing that you can communicate with clarity and intelligence online demonstrates your potential value to a company and your ability to contribute towards its success. The online world is about sharing knowledge, and the more you share, the more you will increase your value to others, and be perceived as a valuable commodity. Demonstrating an in-depth understanding of an industry, for example, is going to make you stand out. Start now: do some research and get ahead of the game.
- Consider your online reputation. Finally, a word of caution. If a future employer entered your name into a search engine would they discover things that might impress them or is there any aspect of your online profile you would not want them to see? It is important that you create an appropriate, positive picture (and that applies to your photograph too!). It may have a big impact on your future.
The world of social recruitment offers exciting opportunities for those who work the system to their advantage and have a well thought-out, carefully planned online strategy. Manage your profile, ensure it is up to date, relevant and accurate. Be honest and portray yourself as a professional. Develop your opinions and interests, engage positively with organisations that inspire you – and your social media capital could be the route to the career of your dreams"
* From a survey, ‘Pay and Progression for Graduates’, by Incomes Data Services (IDS), March 2010. (www.incomesdata.co.uk/news/press-releases/graduates2010.pdf)