The power of your profile: Using social media to advance your career

Smiling woman taking selfie, using social media to advance career

If you’re searching for ways to advance your career and grow your networking circle, look no further than social media.

Now, more than ever, industry leaders and companies are posting daily activity on channels like LinkedIn, Instagram and TikTok. As a professional, there are endless opportunities to join industry communities and attract potential employers if you know how.

Here, I’ll share some tips on how you can use social media to climb the career ladder, network internationally and even become an industry influencer.

A wider net for job hunting

Nowadays, more and more businesses are promoting their new job roles on social media channels. With this, you have direct access to hiring managers’ profiles, allowing you to connect and showcase your skills at the early stages of job applications. You can also get a sense of other employees’ experience of a company through their social posts and can discover the team members you could potentially be working with.

On LinkedIn, you can even apply to jobs directly with your profile, rather than creating a separate CV. There are also many dedicated social media pages that highlight new roles in specific industries, so be sure to find and follow those accounts to stay up to date with the latest opportunities that are relevant to your career.

Keep it professional or private

A good thing to keep in mind when you’re building out your social media profiles is that if they aren’t all going to be as professional as your LinkedIn (and they don’t all need to be), then you may want to consider keeping those accounts private. According to a report by Career Builder, 70% of employers use social media to screen candidates during the hiring process. It might be worth considering how much of your personal life you’re willing to share with the world, and how much is reserved for friends and family, as potential employers are highly likely to be searching your name.

It’s also best practice to protect your social media profiles from potential cyber hacks, especially if you start to become more vocal online and attract larger audiences. Having different encrypted passwords for each account, saved in a secure password vault, is a good way to help safeguard yourself.

Embrace the new networking 

Since the increasing shift to remote working, there have been a lot of discussions around networking and the idea that remote staff are missing out on career development opportunities because they aren’t in the office or linking up after work. Social media can be a great way to combat this issue by evolving the way we network. Connecting with colleagues and industry peers can go way beyond who you’ll meet in the office corridor – you can expand your network nationally and even internationally to find new opportunities.

Remote networking is also a much more inclusive way to connect with industry peers and develop your career. It can offer people with disabilities and neurodivergent individuals the space to work and network in ways that align with their needs and support those with child or elder care commitments who cannot be in an office five days a week or after office hours. In these instances, social media networking can significantly enhance your career in a way that suits you and your lifestyle.

Become an influencer in your industry

There’s an excellent opportunity to become an industry influencer on social media, no matter what stage you are at in your career. If you have topics you’re passionate about like equality and diversity or wellbeing, you can use social media as a platform to become an advocate for these subjects in your sector. The key is to let your authenticity shine through and share your unique insights and opinions.

If you lead interesting and important discussions, like-minded people will begin to interact with your posts and your network will grow. Be warned – you may also start to attract people with combative views in your comments, so do bear this in mind and be prepared to be professional in dealing with any controversy in a public arena. It helps with social media algorithms to post regularly and consistently, so make sure you’re popping up on your followers’ timelines frequently, with various post types such as photos, polls, videos and carousels.

When used to its full potential, social media can be a great tool to build your professional network and advance your career – particularly for young entrepreneurs and professionals looking to make their mark in their industry without relying solely on traditional long-term career progression.

About the author

Heather McCutcheonHeather McCutcheon is Digital Marketing Manager at Progeny.

Skilled in both the creative and technical sides of marketing, Heather has over six years of experience in a range of industries including further education, hospitality, music and finance – from small start-ups to larger corporate organisations.

In her personal life, Heather is an established fine art photographer with work exhibited in galleries across the world including Rome, Paris and New York.

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