Guest Blog: Careers Advice with Lizzie

So, whilst I’m eating macarons in Paris with my hubby, I thought I’d hand you over to some guest bloggers for a few days. Today I’ve got professional journalist Lizzie Cernik and Baggage Girl blogger to share with you some of her tips for job hunting in the modern world, if you haven’t already thought about using social media to job hunt, why not? My first job in London was down to Twitter and my current career is completely because of my blog and social media.

If you have any further questions about your job hunt, feel free to get in touch with myself or Lizzie, always happy to help!

Over to Lizzie…

How to use social media to get a media job

Originally designed as a platform to irritate your friends with gap yah photographs and viral YouTube videos of kittens falling into puddles, social media has become all encompassing. These days every bank, donut shop and ex school friend has an active Facebook page. (Even the ones you didn’t know could actually switch on a computer.) But how can you turn this social savvy into career prospects?

Be yourself (within reason)

If it’s your ambition to be the next Kate Adie, tweets about eyeliner aren’t going to get you very far. Employers want to get to know the real you, so even if your account’s professional, throw in some personal anecdotes from time to time. Avoid emotional outbursts (yes I’m talking to you Lee Ryan) and keep bitchy comments to yourself. If in doubt work by the rule ‘if you wouldn’t say it to someone’s face, don’t say it on Twitter’.

Stay clear of controversy

Whether you’re using social media networks to rant about the coalition’s policies or discuss the latest Lancôme products, beware of legal pitfalls. Defamation and contempt of court (publicising your opinions on a court case in a way which could affect trial) are major issues facing the Twittersphere. You may think it’s your right to say what you like online, but I guarantee Lord McAlpine (and his succession of high profile lawyers) would beg to differ.

Be a stalker (but not in a scary ‘I cut people into little pieces and hide them in the freezer’ sort of way.)

If you’re in the camp of people who can’t afford to do an unpaid internship in London, social networking is a God send for contact building. Those dream magazines you want to write for? That social media company you’d love to get in with? Find out who works there and follow them. And then follow the people they chat to. It might seem a bit weird but it’s a much better use of your stalking skills than Googling your ex’s new girlfriend to see if she’s thinner/prettier/does a better sexy duck pout than you. Once you’re following try not to shower them with gushing compliments, beg for retweets or tweet incessantly. Just be yourself, be chatty and with any luck a relationship will form.

NB: It’s worth being realistic here. If you’re trying to attract the attention of an editor with 30,000 followers, don’t be surprised when you’re met with a wall of silence.

Check your spelling and grammar

Increasingly employers are checking your Facebook and Twitter accounts, regardless of whether you advertise them on your CV. Even if you’re just using your feeds to rant about the latest hopeless hopeful on X Factor, make sure your spelling and grammar is good. Watch your apostrophes and consider using spell check before you tweet.

Promote yourself (but don’t overdo it)

If you’re writing blogs, articles for magazines or promotional adverts for a company, you can use Twitter, LinkedIn and even Facebook to post samples of your work. Just be sure you mix up your promotional tweets with original thoughts and anecdotes, otherwise your feed will become a sales pitch. Retweeting personal compliments is the social networking equivalent of shouting out your own name during sex, so keep it to a minimum. It’s great when people appreciate your work/outfits/new hairdo/ability to balance a spoon on the end of your nose, but a simple thank you very much should suffice.

Comment, share or tweet me @JayneJRead or @BaggageGirl

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2 thoughts on “Guest Blog: Careers Advice with Lizzie

  1. This is a really nice summary of how to start using social media to find work. I totally agree with the sentiment about it being a godsend when it comes to networking and wouldn’t have got half the work experience I have without Twitter.

    I’ve got friends who still can’t get their heads around Twitter and who always seem bemused at how I can have a ‘productive’ afternoon spent on Twitter. But for me I can’t imagine not using Twitter as a career-building tool!

    1. Twitter has led to so many interesting and fun opportunities for me. It’s really underrated, everyone should give it a go! But you’ve got to be careful as it’s so easy to screw up too. So many people overshare or act inappropriately on social media, that it can easily backfire.

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