On a daily basis I am in contact with hopeful candidates applying for jobs across the British Engines Group and believe me, first impressions are crucial! Working in resourcing, I know only too well how important it is to stand out and be recognised for the right reasons both inside and outside of work.

You might be thinking how would a potential employer know what I am getting up to outside of work? Well… do you have a Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn account? If yes, then this is your answer! Social media could be something that stands in the way of you and your dream job depending on how you use it. It is vital you think carefully about the information you’re sharing to the outside world and how you will be perceived.

Remember, 93% of hiring managers review social profiles before making a decision!

Here are some helpful hints and tips if you want to use social media to help your career:

1. Your profile picture – even though we don’t encourage the use of photos on CVs, all social media sites have an area for your photo. If you want to use a profile picture think carefully about which one you choose. It’s a given that using a photo from a drunken night out or with a drink in your hand is bad practice right?

2. Sell yourself – social profiles are a great way to show off your skills, experience and qualifications. Make sure you use this section wisely to promote what you have to offer potential employers and keep it up to date! Social networks such as LinkedIn are great for this.

3. Keeping things private – be careful about what information you share. If you like to tweet and update your Facebook status regularly, think about what you’re saying and how it could be perceived in the public eye. No professional employer would be attracted to bad language or negativity, so set privacy settings so that personal information you don’t wish to be shared cannot be seen.

Of course you’re free to have your own opinion, at the end of the day it is your social network. However, if your intentions are to impress potential employers you need to withdraw yourself from social conflict and to be aware of how you filter certain grey areas such as alcohol use, inappropriate content, use of language and discriminating comments or groups.

4. Following groups/organisations – be proactive and join groups that may be of interest to you and beneficial to your career! There is always room for improvement and space to develop so join groups and follow successful organisations! Enthusiasm is a key quality employer’s look for so make sure it can be seen in your profile.

5. Hobbies and interests – why not add information to your profile about what you like to do outside of work? This will help build a picture of your character and what your hobbies and interests are e.g. voluntary work, work experience, social activities.

6. Google – have you ever Googled yourself? Make sure your ‘online brand’ is what you think it is. Pay attention to your image privacy settings, they will show up in a Google search if you share your images publicly.

7. Endorsements – ask your colleagues to write a testimonial or endorsement onto your LinkedIn profile. This will give some weight behind the skills you have listed you have experience in. Try to show at least one testimonial from your employer and another from when you were in education e.g. a university tutor or lecturer if you have recently qualified.

8. Separate accounts – keep your social and business life separate. Consider using a separate account for your personal posts to your professional work related posts. Maybe use a nickname or different username.

9. Keep your account up to date – just like your CV, make sure you have your most recent job listed along with your responsibilities, skills and qualifications, especially on your Linked In profile.

10. Network, network, network! Use social media as a network. Share your expertise and knowledge with others to show that you are actively interested in the career/industry you want to be involved in.

Social media accounts are your own and can be used however you like, but remember, if you’re using social media to enhance your job search, use it to your advantage; highlight the positives to attract employers and set privacy settings for personal information.