Using Social Media to boost your career

Social Media - Dos and Don'ts

How can social media affect my career prospects?

Your presence on social media can help or reduce your chances of gaining employment and making progress within your current role. There is a lot of advice and guidance available on the internet about the dos and don'ts of how you promote yourself and behave on sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat.

A recent study found that when asked if they use social media to screen potential employees, 91% of employers said that they did.

Whether you are looking for a new career in racing, or wishing to progress within your role, advice about social media can be divided into two sections:

Social Media dos to boost career opportunities

1.  Make sure that your profile is relevant by including your work history, your strengths and what you have accomplished. It should give potential employers an idea of what you can bring to their organisation, such as skills and personal attributes. LinkedIn is a good place for this, but you can also include this information on other social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

2. Get networking by connecting with people in your line of work and link with people who do what you want to do. You can search for groups in LinkedIn, where you can introduce yourself, share content and contribute your own thoughts and ideas. You can also follow organisations and groups on Facebook and Twitter where you can share and comment on others' contributions and create your own. Learn how to use hashtags and share images to boost interest and grow your network.

3. Engaging with companies by following them on social media sites will also mean that you are automatically notified of job opportunities. Join in with their conversations about horseracing news and trends to demonstrate your knowledge and expertise. 

4.Make yourself known as a 'resource' by helping others out. Keep sharing relevant content, answer questions and offer support in a professional manner. 

5.Plan your activities to prevent getting too bogged down. For example, you might work on your profile one day, look for groups to join on another, and follow racing organisations on another day.

6.Search for jobs using social media, in addition to online jobs boards. Careers in Racing regularly tweet job vacancies, and individual yards and racing organisations will also advertise jobs through social media.

7. Show positive interests and hobbies outside of your career to help recruiters to see a little of your personality and values. Are you an animal lover? Do you enjoy sports? Do you volunteer in your community?

Things to avoid when using social media

According to one study, 69% of employers said that they have turned down candidates because of what they saw about them on social media. Examples of why candidates were rejected include:

  • The candidate had posted inappropriate images
  • The candidate had posted inappropriate comments
  • The candidate had posted comments or images of them using drink or drugs
  • The candidate's comments showed 'poor communication skills'

Social Media Don'ts

Although it might seem obvious to avoid the above behaviours, it's easy to forget how posting on personal profiles can have far reaching consequences. We often have a large network and forget that our audience is not necessarily just made up of friends and family, or people who share our views and values. 

Tip: If you want to keep your Facebook profile personal, only accept friend requests from those who you know, and who you don't mind seeing personal photos and posts. Make sure that your privacy settings only allow non-friends to see what you are happy for them to see. If your profile picture is visible to anyone outside of your friends list, think about the impression that it might give to potential employers who might use social media to screen their applicants.

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