How to establish a presence in the digital age

If you want a job, you need to establish your professional identity online. Here’s how to go about it

By Sophie Cole

Your lack of online presence might be hindering your job prospects. Yes, you read that right. While 68 per cent of adults have a Facebook profile, just 29 per cent of 18 to 29 year olds are present on networking site LinkedIn.

    ...although you may feel as if you spend most of your life online, you probably need to be a lot smarter about using that time...  

The implications are clear: although you may feel as if you spend most of your life online, you probably need to be a lot smarter about using that time to boost your professional prospects.

So, how can you create and curate an online presence that shows you in the best possible light? We picked the brains of Just Recruitment’s experts to find out.

Post wisely, post regularly

Abigail Webb, business manager at Just Recruitment Group Ltd, says that posting in the right places is crucial to boosting your digital profile.

Facebook may be the first place you think of posting your thoughts, but it’s not the best place to share professional ideas,” she says. “Networking sites like LinkedIn help you connect with people in your field. You should use this platform to share intelligent commentary on topics that are relevant to your area of professional expertise.”

Ms Webb also advises posting regularly to your professional social media pages. “Even if you don’t feel confident creating content, share the things you’re reading. It could be an interesting piece of journalism, a blog post that says something unique, amusing or relatable about your industry or even just an inspiring quote. If people see your name popping up regularly on their feeds next to interesting reads, you’re more likely to forge new connections.”

Add well-judged BTL comments

Jody Collings, a senior consultant at Just Recruitment, advises that below the line (BTL) comments can get you involved in productive conversations – provided you engage carefully and sensibly.

“Share your thoughts on what people in your network are posting,” she says. “Even if it’s just to say you’ve really enjoyed someone’s work, below the line comments are a highly effective tool for getting yourself noticed.

“The people posting will also be pleased, as the more BTL comments they receive, the higher their profile on the platform will be.”

Engage with people, don’t just connect

It isn’t enough just to connect with people on LinkedIn, says Peter Foy, a director at Just Recruitment.

“Use personal messages judiciously,” he advises. “When you connect with someone, follow up with a message and try to strike up a conversation. Likewise, if you’re notified that someone has checked out your profile [LinkedIn has a tool that shares such information via your profile page, giving even more information to Premium subscribers], drop them a note to thank them for their interest and ask if they’d like to connect.

“You should treat these conversations as you would face-to-face networking,” he continues, “Try to find common ground, which could be that you work in the same industry or are at a similar stage in your career, or could be a shared hobby or volunteering experience. If you haven’t got anything in common, find something that they’ve shared or created and use that as a talking point.”

Always be interested in making connections

It can sometimes seem as if the people wanting to connect with you online are rather random, and you should definitely be cautious about linking in with people who don’t seem bona fide.

    “It’s a maxim of the recruitment industry that no contact is ever wasted,”...  

That said, Just Recruitment director Emma Kershaw says you should always keep an open mind.

“It’s a maxim of the recruitment industry that no contact is ever wasted,” she says. “If someone wants to connect with you online, don’t refuse simply on the grounds that they’re not useful to you now. You never know when they’ll be in a position to advance your career. So unless someone seems dodgy, in which case you should absolutely ignore their request, I’d say it’s worth accepting their invitation, just in case.”

Abigail Webb agrees. “The power of LinkedIn is that each connection plugs you into an ever wider network,” she concludes. “The way to capitalise on your involvement with the platform is to engage, connect, and demonstrate your quality.

“That way, people will notice you, which is why they’ll bear you in mind when they’re looking for their next hire.”

Published: 10 July 2019

© 2019 Just Recruitment Group Ltd

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