How to use social media to differentiate yourself from your competition

Competition in today’s job market is fierce and it’s getting tougher for candidates to differentiate themselves and stand out above their competition. Nothing can beat good experience with a solid track record but when you’re up against another candidate with equal experience and as solid a track record, you may need to start thinking outside the box to offer something a little bit different to the competition.

So, how can you differentiate yourself from everyone else?

One area that opens up some potential unforeseen risks for candidates as well as some potential missed opportunities to stand out revolves around developing your online professional profile through social media. Businesses are often looking to social media to gain extra insight into a candidate’s personality and their background. They are also looking for that extra level of engagement that a candidate may have with their industry. So, we’ve set out 3 practical steps you can take to increase your online professional profile and stand out above your competition.

Use LinkedIn to demonstrate your knowledge and expertise and engage with your industry

LinkedIn is a hub of industry related content produced by like-minded business professionals around the world. There are millions of professional groups and individual / company articles being posted every second. Something as simple as liking or commenting on an industry related article shows to your network that you’re keeping up to date with your industry so engage as much as possible.

You should also identify any professional groups related to your industry - join them and participate in the groups. There may be hiring managers, headhunters, and other relevant professionals in those groups and if you contribute and come across informed and professional then you have a good chance of creating a good impression. You never know what one good impression can lead to so try your best to identify the relevant groups and engage as much as possible.

Although slightly more time consuming, you could write content (nothing more than 500 words is necessary) on an interesting industry related topic which you can publish from your personal LinkedIn profile. This is a great way of getting your knowledge in front of the decision makers in your network and really shows an extra level of investment in your own personal online profile. You can also use that content to your advantage and post it in some of the relevant industry groups that you’re a member of. This type of action will really start to build up a portfolio of your knowledge which any person on LinkedIn can view. If you’re up against another strong candidate and you have an online portfolio of articles and engagement with your industry then you’re definitely offering something different that your competition may lack.

Complete your social media profiles and make sure you clean out anything that can harm your professional image

It’s quite an obvious tip but something a lot of professionals overlook. With headhunters and businesses using social media to both search for candidates and check up on current applicants you have got to make sure that your profiles are up-to-date, complete, and clear of anything incriminating.

LinkedIn is a fantastic platform because not only is it a great place to keep up-to-date on your industry and connect with colleagues but it’s your online CV that anyone can view. You’ve got to use that to your advantage and make sure that you accurately reflect all the achievements you have accomplished. We often come across potentially strong candidates on LinkedIn only to notice that they have outdated and incomplete profiles. Ensuring that your profiles are both complete and up to date is not a difficult or a time consuming task. Making that extra effort to stay up-to-date shows your LinkedIn community that you care about your online professional profile and that you take it seriously. Combine that with a decent level of industry and content engagement and you’ve got a much stronger presence.

It almost goes without saying that if you want to find a new position (and because we know that businesses will potentially look at your social media profiles) you’ve got to make sure that you review your profiles and clean out anything inappropriate. There’s no need to go into detail here, you’ll know straight away what should be removed and what shouldn’t. Just remember that while LinkedIn may be an illustration of your work experience and professional nature, your other social media platforms are an illustration of your personality and character and that’s almost as important, especially if there is something negative online.

In today’s modern world everything has moved or is moving online and social media is at the centre of most of it. So, if you’re interested in your professional development you’ve got to use your online professional profile to your advantage. Take on our advice and next time you head into the new job market you’re going to have that little bit extra in your corner to help those decision makers choose you over your competition.

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