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The University of Southampton
Careers, Employability and Student Enterprise

Social Media

Social media is a powerful tool for keeping in touch with friends, sharing photos and status updates but how can it help you in sourcing work experience, securing employment and enhancing your professional brand?

Social media

Everything that goes online will stay online. This is known as your digital footprint and can comprise of data put on social media, blogs, and information from your search engine history and cookies. It's a very good idea to know what your digital footprint says about you as it can be found by potential employers. Considering this you should be mindful of the content you are putting on your social media as it could come back to haunt you later!

Below are some tips for using social media in your job search and how to avoid some of the pitfalls.  

Your digital footprint is your digital identity and could be seen if you were searched online. Around half of employers state they use social media to screen potential candidates and many employers check-up on their employees to ensure they have not brought the organisation into disrepute. Therefore it is important to keep a positive footprint where possible.

Remember everything which goes online stays online so try to control what information is available about you and who has access to it. Can you restrict the visibility of those photos from a night out or remove that inappropriate Tweet?

Student searching internet on phone

 The Family Online Safety Institute give the following tips to clean up your digital footprint:

  •  Search yourself online: Enter your name in a search engine like Google and see what comes up. Can you find yourself? What photos, videos, web material and links exist? Are you happy with the results, and more importantly would a potential (or current) employer be happy with what they find?
  • Check your privacy settings: Even if you have checked before, make sure to do this regularly in case these have changed
  • Strengthen your passwords: Have different passwords for different sites and use a combination of letters, numbers and symbols
  • Update software: Schedule automatic updates to make sure you have the most up to date security on your device
  • Think before you post: Will what you are posting reflect negatively on you if an employer was to see it? If so, consider not posting it
  • Understand your privacy settings on your phone and delete any apps you don’t use
  • Build a positive reputation: Support causes you believe in and avoid badmouthing previous employers

LinkedIn ( is one of the world’s largest professional networking sites and it's easy to use to highlight your CV, talk in detail about your experiences, provide evidence of your work and establish key contacts. Use it as a self-promotion tool but also as a way to explore career options through the profiles of others to see what skills they highlight, the language they use and how they got to their current position in life.

You can also follow companies and join discussion groups to learn about opportunities and demonstrate your passion and interest in a certain field. There is also a way to search for and apply to jobs at the click of a button!

Find out more:

  • Learning LinkedIn is a useful beginner's video course that guides you on how to use the platform and make the most of your account
  • LinkedIn Higher Education also gives specific advice for students on their page: Your Future Starts Here
  • LinkedIn The Student Guides also give further advice on job hunting, building a professional brand, networking and more

Twitter is an online social networking service that enables users to send and read short 280-character messages called "tweets". The platform is a great way to share short status updates and can have a very powerful impact on your job hunt.

By following the right people/companies you can gain commercial insights and find job vacancies. Use the search engine to narrow your criteria e.g. #JobHunt, #GradJob, #Hiring and start following organisations like us @UoS_Careers and employers of interest to you.

TARGETjobs give the following tips when using Twitter for job searching:

  • Connect and interact with an employer. If you meet them this will give you something to refer to
  • Keep your bio, handle and picture professional
  • Link to your LinkedIn and any relevant content you have created such as a blog or website
  • Follow people of interest within your sector
  • Contribute to relevant discussions and topics (keep it professional!)

While LinkedIn and Twitter are more widely used by job seekers, Facebook can also benefit you in your search if used in the right way.

Facebook logo

The Jobs on Facebook feature allows you to search for jobs and filter by job type and category. For some roles you can apply via the app.

To use Facebook in this way make sure you have your work experience and education up to date and that the content of your profile is something you would be happy for your employer to view. Show yourself as a rounded individual while keeping it professional; you may want to leave off pictures of drinks at the union bar!

If you still want to use Facebook for personal content you can categorise your friends e.g. professional contacts, friends, family and for each post you create, adapt who you send it to. This may be slightly more time consuming but could be useful in the long run.

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